Poll – Biggest Obstacle to American Welding Excellence

Welding (or Materials Joining) Engineers, please vote on our latest poll, or view the results so far:

What do you think are the Top 2 biggest obstacles to welding excellence in American manufacturing, in the facilities you are personally familiar with?

(For Qualified Voters: Please, only vote if you are functionally experienced and/or titled and/or degreed as a welding or materials joining engineer, and have at least a Bachelor of Science degree in an Engineering discipline.  Everyone else, feel free to view the results.)

Remember to pick the Top Two obstacles!  [4/6/10 added two new choices to the bottom, by W.E. suggestion.]

See all of our Welding and Manufacturing Polls here.

5 Responses to Poll – Biggest Obstacle to American Welding Excellence

  1. Brian,
    Thank you for posting this pole. Our profession needs this visibility. The present economy and American corporate philosophy make it nearly impossible to succeed. In the eyes of managers, no matter what the problem, welding is the cause. The result is that in order to solve the problems that show up in welding, the Welding Engineer needs to take on the role of a Manufacturing Engineer, Mechanical Engineer and Production Supervisor and solve problems in other areas of the manufacturing process. This removes the Welding Engineer from the very job he/she is there for. The result, welding process is not perfected. It is getting worse, not better. Management needs to solve the underlying problems and let the Welding Engineer do what he/she is best at. Any comments?

    • Brian Dobben says:

      You’re welcome. Thank you for voting, and please pass along a link to all the W.E.’s you know. I think one thing you’ve touched on is the realistic need for the “big 3” schools to prepare W.E.’s/M.J.E.’s to assist throughout the manufacturing process. I haven’t written an article on this subject yet, but there’s a tricky balance there that is rarely explained and never covered well. Here’s the issue in a nutshell: because the welding process is the most complex, with the most variables, only the W.E. can effectively sort through the potential process improvements and assemble a planned combination to achieve stable quality in the welding assembly process in a cost-effective way. This means a couple of things: doing what can/should be done to better optimize & control the welding process, and pointing out what can/should reasonably be done in upstream processes to stabilize the welding (i.e., keep the weld joints from moving and stabilize/control fit-up gap variations). It doesn’t mean that the W.E. should do all things bending and stamping, but that he is the hub.

      You’re exactly right on the visibility – I think most of us have struggled as greatly with the invisibility of the critical roles we play, as with the invisibility of the welding process variables we work with. The blind ignorance we’re surrounded with can feel painful at times, and a big part of my desire with this blog is to help lessen this pain for other W.E.’s.
      So my plan is that after we get some visible volume to the poll, I want to do an article to discuss the results, and highlight it in various forums and LinkedIn groups to stir interest.

      My suggestions on ways all W.E.’s can help in these efforts:
      1) Suggest other polls or articles you’d like to see.
      2) Forward these article and VisionaryWelding.org blog links to professionals you know, of ALL kinds: HR managers, Recruiters, engineers, CEO’s, Directors, Managers, Professors and others! If you notice, several articles touch on the pains of all engineers in manufacturing. A few thoughtful comments with an article link can be the seeds or catalysts for reality-shifts in YOUR own world and those of colleagues. Can you imagine the engineering experts in a process being able to make the process decisions rather than be forced to live with the decrees handed down?! How about being paid market value for a B.S. in welding/joining?
      3) Sign up in the righthand column for an e-mail subscription or RSS feeds.
      4) Read the articles and, as you have done Keith, make thoughtful comments and relevant contributions. Participation like that is not only contagious, but raises the activity level and search-engine relevance of the blog, making it easier for other thoughtful people to find.
      5) Add the blog as a homepage tab to your browser, so that when you open your browser, you’re reminded and are also adding to the number of active readers.

      Thank you again for your comments, Keith!

  2. Fred Schweighardt says:

    I find that even introducing the idea of a process change is astonishingly difficult. At the higher levels of management in a company, process change is viewed as a job for some underling, when mgt is the only one who can make and enforce the change. Welding productivity is at least 50% a management problem because they don’t have the will to make the changes. Much of this probably stems from lack of a trusted WE on staff who can verify and be in charge of evaluating proposals from consultants.

  3. Fred Schweighardt says:

    E-mail correction

  4. […] advantage of welding excellence?  What’s standing in the way?  Two years ago I started a survey poll asking manufacturing welding engineers “what do you think are the Top 2 biggest obstacles to welding excellence in American […]

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