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Engineering Management Performance Monitoring Methods Utilized By Manufacturers To Become More Competitive

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Frontiers in Engineering Management

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.494.1 - 15.494.17



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Paper Authors


William Loendorf Eastern Washington University

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William R. Loendorf is currently an Associate Professor of Engineering & Design at Eastern Washington University. He obtained his B.Sc. in Engineering Science at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside, M.S. in Electrical Engineering at Colorado State University, M.B.A. at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, and Ph.D. in Engineering Management at Walden University. He holds a Professional Engineer license and has 30 years of industrial experience as an Engineer or Engineering Manager at General Motors, Cadnetix, and Motorola. His interests include engineering management, technological literacy, and real-time embedded systems.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Engineering Management Performance Monitoring Methods Utilized by Manufacturers to Become More Competitive


To become more competitive, organizations have made changes in their operations, manufacturing techniques, and business practices. Innovative technologies are being used, machinery updated, and new strategies followed. Many have also implemented improvement programs to enhance quality, increase efficiency, and streamline operations. However, these actions all come with a cost in terms of capital, personnel, and time. For many small organizations classified as job shops, this may limit their choices to a few actions that must work. However, how is performance monitored and measured? To answer that question a study was conducted in 2008 into one basic type of job shop; the American tool and die shops that fabricate molds, dies, and tools fundamental to the production process. The intent was to understand issues crucial to their existence while they work to improve performance in terms of quality products, satisfied customers, and profits. These are criteria used to judge success for all organizations and as a result, practices from other small businesses may be applicable and transferable to the tooling industry with the reverse also being true. However, each tool shop operates under a unique set of business, cultural, and economic circumstances requiring perhaps a customized solution. Performance monitoring information derived from this study must be incorporated into the management courses associated with the engineering and engineering technology curriculum. The findings indicate that American tool shops are using a variety of methods including change in financial indicators, deliveries, and number of customers. Most tool shops used a monthly timeframe for review and, for the most part, were confident that their measurements were accurate. In order to prepare graduates for manufacturing related engineering and engineering management careers, the results from this study have been directly integrated into multiple engineering and engineering technology courses.


The tooling industry has been around for hundreds of years in one form or another. In fact, the industry has been in existence since before the industrial revolution when dies, molds, and other forms of tools were just beginning to be widely used. In those days, a competitor was also a neighbor or the fellow down the street. The competition was from local people and companies.

Due to vast improvements in communication and transportation, competitors are now more likely to be located anywhere in the world. Most likely, they are located in a far away country with little or no environmental regulations, few if any worker rights, lower standard of living, and pay wages that are a small fraction of those paid in America. The situation is even more problematical due to subsidies given by foreign governments to their tooling industries to grow and expand the business. Combining all of these aspects gives foreign tool manufacturers a unique advantage they can exploit against their American counterparts. Manufacturers must reorganize and retool for a global environment (Berg3, 1998) in order to be competitive.

Loendorf, W. (2010, June), Engineering Management Performance Monitoring Methods Utilized By Manufacturers To Become More Competitive Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16500

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