In a context where markets remain uncertain, where customers are volatile and where regulation becomes heavier, the industry has more than ever on the skills of its engineers. Today, need them to know about to do: anticipate, innovate, turnaround and reduce costs, drive projects and motivate teams, but also organize, form, negotiate… Moreover, their trades suffer accelerated mutations. Some functions in the company, the knowledge, and the know-how being attached take value, others lose. General practitioners need to specialize. Specialists should broaden their fields of intervention.
Moreover, everyone must become more adaptable, more flexible, to improve performance. ‘New plant’ has selected twelve trades of the engineer, evolving under the pressure of these new requirements. All are affected by the change in organizations and the new strategic directions of the industrial enterprises. All are actively contributing. These twelve occupations are also part of those who have taken the measure of the contribution of new technologies and the new regulations.
FOUR FACTORS OF CHANGE
Engineers are now living a disruption of their trades. Faced with new organizations set up in the industry, they take a place of weight in policy decisions. With, however, in the exercise of their missions, the permanent concern to take into account technological developments and regulatory constraints.
The engineer trades exist! While companies point out again that they do not worship.
The evidence? Surveys conducted annually by student engineers of the Cesi (Centre of Industrial graduate studies) and that list precisely “engineer trades” and their evolution. The expertise that the engineers themselves do not consider a simple achievement. Two-thirds (68%) recognize the need to diversify their skills. Therefore, the engineer trades are not a thing from the past! They move, adapt, transform according to criteria, today essential, organizational and strategic role, but also taking into account the contribution of new technologies and new regulations.
1. The change in organizations
Cited unanimously by the observers of all fields, it is the almost universal factor that would have triggered all mutations. For ten years, in fact, the company dressed its hierarchical levels, shears its vertical organizations, encourages the “commando spirit” of its project teams, mixes the statutes and disciplines, formalizes relationships between customers and suppliers in its workshops and subcontracts which is not exclusively his trades. However, under this apparent disorder, it promotes new organizations, whose engineers are becoming indispensable relays. The loser also in passing – except the project engineer – part of their powers. Therefore, the emergence of teams in plants encouraging versatility and TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) to operators, now able to troubleshoot failures, deeply transforms the engineer trades in workshops.
That these fall within maintenance – has an engineer in this function more time to reflect on the “maintainability” of the park of machines-, methods or industrial computing. In the service of comfort for operators in the workshops, these are engineers who often create the link with design offices. A concern that is not nor stranger to the logistics field, great masters of the flow and just-in-time managers. The subcontract purchase remains, however, an example of a business that has emerged thanks to a new organization, grafted around the refocusing of the company on its core businesses. Therefore, it was obliged to have a specialist to buy outside supplies or sub-assemblies necessary for its production, but too “sharp” or too little strategic so that they are manufactured in its workshops.
2. The key role of trade in the company‘s strategy
The emblematic figure of the revolution of the trades, the project engineer, occupies a place of choice, but at high risk, in the new flowcharts. Because of its decisions on the launch of products or industrial investment depends in large part the future of the entire company. It is not the only one to hold a key role. Many of his colleagues, with also strategic missions, are almost equally challenged by new cross-cutting and multidisciplinary organizations: the Shawn, marketing engineer, the purchaser of subcontracting or the sales engineer. They have one thing in common.
Their trades are part of a project approach, the source of responsibilities designed to accelerate innovation and collective in teams. Which requires a large force anticipation and reactivity as well as a large capacity to management teams. Trivial at first glance, one conclusion: engineers must come out of their expertise. Quality Engineer, including, more delegates to technicians and supervisors handling of quality measurement tools to devote himself to the proper conduct of the design process. A transformation that also affects the marketing engineer, formerly discreet, but who learned to speak up and strong in project meetings to raise the expectations of clients in workshops. The only environmental engineer keeps a place a little apart. However, he is well a function that is not less decisive since its choice affect the ‘green image’ business and therefore on its markets.
3. The contribution of new technologies
At the service of innovation, telecommunications engineers, electronics engineers in research and development or industrial computing specialists must master the meaning and evolution. Because new techniques of computer integration of production systems (CIM), the development of the information superhighway (ATM) and those of the network of mobile communication (GSM) remain at the heart of their function. For them, the technology watch becomes second nature. What encourages them to make a profession of architect or contractor for components standard to focus more on the development and further meet the expectations of consumers, always eager for new applications. However, new technologies also shake the engineer trades insofar as they must learn to work in a network, to use new tools and to share their knowledge. Whether it is for the creation and use of databases for buyers of outsourcing or handling of EDI (electronic data interchange) will become indispensable in the trade of logistics yet. Also, it takes now developmental intra muros in the Enterprise Intranet networks. How, for example, can a Renault engineer afford to ignore an internal network that is not less than 31 000 cable posts?
4. Compliance with the constraints of the regulations
Race for ISO9000 certification, mandatory compliance with Australian legislation on the safety of the machines since the end of 1997, mandatory recycling of waste water discharges industrial and guidelines Australian of December 1996 on recycling packaging or selective sorting of industrial waste…, the list of regulatory constraints imposed extends from month to month. It is more possible to overlook draconian standards.