Team Leader Toolbox Webinar. Thriving in your first leadership role

If you are interested in leading a team effectively or just want to be prepared for future leadership positions, sign up for this FREE IEEE WEBINAR now!

Team Leader Toolbox Webinar

Team Leader Toolbox Webinar

I’ll be running this webinar organised by the IEEE Victorian Technology & Engineering Management chapter to support young professionals in their transition to leadership positions, with practical tips and resources to effectively lead a team.

Thursday 15 Dec 2016 6:30pm (Melbourne time). More information, time conversion and registration at HERE

Decision making: dealing with other’s criticism

Decision makingSome time ago, I was advising a person in his first steps on a leadership role, and it came up one of the most difficult issues in management, especially for young professionals: you can’t make everyone happy with your decisions.

Decision making is one of the main entrusted responsibilities companies place on managers, confident that they will do what is best for their departments and the company. Continue reading

A Great Example of Engineering Thinking

I’m a big passionate about all engineering fields. Some time ago, while I was looking for something on Youtube, I came across a documentary trailer about an alternative project to send a tripulated mission to Mars. The documentary was called The Mars Underground and, after watching it, I was fascinated with some engineering aspects of the film and it moved me to write this post on engineering thinking. Continue reading

Energy Measurement: How much are you really achieving with your strategy?

Energy MeasurementThere are so many things to consider in energy management; from specific actions to improve energy efficiency, to Life Cycle Costing (LCC) and procurement strategies. Although all of them are important and should be taken into account, there is one element that is paramount for a successful energy management strategy: energy measurement.

We can take many actions to improve our energy efficiency, but without the capacity to measure the results, we would never be able to know if we are in the right path. Measurement should be one of the first steps before starting working with energy efficiency. By doing that, we will know where we are in terms of energy consumption and will be capable of tracking and monitoring its evolution. Continue reading

Do you know HOW your equipment fail?

The old maintenance approach was traditionally based on replacing the equipment’s components at the right time, just before they fail. This viewpoint was derived from the belief that all the components would progressively wear down until they finally fail. Six Failure PatternsNowadays, the modern maintenance approach is based on the fact that only a small percentage of equipment actually follow this behaviour. However, since the classic belief is somewhat intuitive, there are still many maintenance departments who base their maintenance strategy on it.
Let’s have a look at the different ways a component can fail during its operating life.

Continue reading

Energy Efficiency: Why should we care?

Energy Efficiency

During the last decade, taking care of the Energy Efficiency of facilities has become a normal practice for an increasing number of companies. Undoubtedly, minimizing our impact on the environment is paramount to preserve our planet. Notwithstanding, there is another aspect of energy efficiency that makes it even more attractive for companies. Continue reading

An alternative way to meet your staff’s training needs

Training method to face machine failuresHaving a training plan for your personnel is always a good practice. However, sometimes it’s not possible to find the adequate course because the topic is too specific, the course is not available at that moment or is too expensive.

Many years ago, while working at a maintenance department, I was looking for a training course for our personnel and couldn’t find one that fulfilled our requirements in terms of cost and availability. Still, I really needed to train our technicians so I found an alternative way to do it. Continue reading

How to Validate your Decisions Using Statistics (Analysis of Variance) – Part II

crossroadsIn the previous post I showed how to solve a simple problem by performing an Analysis of Variance (if you haven’t read it, please click here). The example was about three different methods to perform a task and we wanted to know if we are getting different results or the variations on the data are only due to the population dispersion.

Generally speaking, we compared the variances between the three samples and the variances within each sample and used the Variance Ratio Test to know, with a specific confidence interval, if the samples are coming from the same population, which in practical terms (referred to our example) means that the different methods are not changing the outcomes. In our example we rejected this hypothesis, so we can say that there is a significant difference between the methods. Continue reading

9 Points for Effective Brainstorming (Part II)

BrainstormingIn the first post I described the main key points for planning a successful brainstorming session. They were basically the tips related to the preparation of the workshop. Now let’s focus on some useful points to lead the session itself. Continue reading

How to Validate your Decisions Using Statistics (Analysis of Variance) – Part I

Are we producing the desired effects?In manufacturing environments, as well as in many other settings, we take actions and modify parameters, procedures and processes to obtain a specific result (usually to improve the situation). In these cases we need to know if the obtained result is a expected consequence of our changes or we’re just observing variations inherent to the population, that are not related to our actions.

One of the techniques we can use is the Analysis of Variance which is a powerful tool used in statistical design of experiments, Lean Manufacturing, Reliability Engineering and in situations involving many variables and/or samples from different populations.

It’s true that many software can perform this calculation automatically; however, it’s important to know how the method works – at least with a simple example like the one below – to be able to interpret and take advantage of the results the software we’ll give us when solving more complex problems. Continue reading