Many years ago, during my time at Solectron (now Flextronics), I encountered a situation where one of my teammates requested me to hire a person to assist him in his work. He was responsible for creating programs for automatic insertion machines using Excel, but he expressed that he couldn’t keep up with the workload and was under stress due to the time-consuming nature of the task. Curious to understand the process better, I observed how he worked on the programs in Excel. Indeed, it was evident that each program was taking about 2 hours to complete. However, I noticed that the real issue was his lack of Excel knowledge and the approach he used in the process.
I decided to sit next to him and write an Excel macro that would significantly speed up the process. With this optimization, the time required to create a program was reduced to just 10 minutes, making the need to hire additional personnel unnecessary.
A similar experience occurred with a mechanical design engineer who was using design software extensively. By writing an algorithm that worked seamlessly between Matlab, SolidWorks, and ANSYS for piston selection, the design process that previously took weeks was now completed in a matter of hours.
These experiences taught me an important lesson about the value of tool skills. Engineers and professionals in various fields can immensely benefit from developing their proficiency with the tools they use in their daily work. For instance, planning engineers in supply chain optimization studies can enhance their efficiency by learning how to extract data from the ERP database using SQL. Quality engineers can improve their process control processes by gaining expertise in statistical data manipulation. Similarly, maintenance engineers can make small yet significant integrations that may be essential in the kaizen process.
In the modern work environment, having a solid grasp of the tools and technologies relevant to one’s field is crucial for optimizing productivity, reducing errors, and overcoming challenges efficiently. Enhancing tool skills not only streamlines processes but also empowers individuals to become more independent problem solvers, thus contributing to the overall success of the organization.
As we continue to embrace the digital era, investing in developing tool skills becomes even more important. It allows professionals to leverage technology to its fullest potential and remain competitive in an ever-evolving workplace. Therefore, whether it’s through training, self-learning, or seeking guidance from experienced colleagues, the journey of enhancing tool skills is a continuous and valuable endeavor for any professional looking to thrive in their career.