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Mechanical Engineering. 2007;129(02):24-27. doi:10.1115/1.2007-FEB-1.
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This article focuses on the ways to increase number of female engineers and reasons for the need. Women’s experience in society differs from that of men and therefore, may bring a unique perspective to product design. It has been suggested from time to time that product development could benefit from ideas that women collectively could contribute from their perspective. A new study jointly sponsored by the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering finds attrition high among women who express interest in academic science or engineering careers. The National Academies’ study focuses on women with advanced degrees, and the difficulties they face in promotion and even in getting hired at colleges and universities. Psychologists feel that girls need to know their work has value beyond simply having a career and a well-paying job. The shrinking pool of U.S. engineering graduates puts them into a special employment category. Some are flown to sites to get a special tour to encourage them to sign up before graduation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2007;129(02):28-29. doi:10.1115/1.2007-FEB-2.
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This article reviews the importance of bill of materials (BOMs) in production engineering. The bill determines the way the materials are purchased and processed, and measures to be taken on this bill should be the first part of the overall project plan. The bill also provides opportunities for flexibility. BOMs are primary deliverables; that is why one must develop the BOM before engineers create the drawings. The as-built document also helps the production scheduling and process planning departments because it lays out details which they require for each leg of the bill. Once BOMs have been completed, one can review product cost in a more organized way. Each leg of the bill will have a cost associated with it. Such an associated cost is then rolled up, following the structure of the bill, to give you the finished product's final cost.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2007;129(02):30-34. doi:10.1115/1.2007-FEB-3.
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Different approaches to problem solving are needed along the way, ranging from those that strengthen and refine the systems recreate to those that shake up those systems and replace them. In problem solving today, diversity is critical to success. According to research and the experience of practitioners, one of the first things on the new need-to-know list is a functional understanding of how the brain solves problems and the key variables that make it work. Two of those key variables are problem solving level and problem-solving style. Michael Creed, president and CEO of McKim & Creed, Pennsylvanian, an engineering firm specializing in the design of environmental infrastructure, is a staunch supporter of Kirton’s Adaption-Innovation theory and its application in engineering management. The article highlights that getting diverse teams to collaborate effectively takes an understanding of their unique styles. The article suggests that the challenge for a leader is to manage the level and style diversity of the team in ways that balance the value of its members’ diversity and keep the ultimate resolution of its goal in mind.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2007;129(02):36-38. doi:10.1115/1.2007-FEB-4.
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This article focuses on the need for improvement in product lifecycle management (PLM) interoperation. PLM interoperation would allow companies to work with the best tools for its business and not be limited in communicating with customers and suppliers. PLM systems are getting a fresh look and one should expect to see more of the type now often called end-to-end open systems. The secret is the middleware, dubbed service-oriented architecture (SOA), which links all these applications in an interconnected web. IBM introduced plans for its Product Development Integration Framework, which will tie all business applications via SOA to create an end-to-end, open PLM system. The company is also marketing an enterprise service bus that can loosely couple its own business applications with other applications, which will then operate on the system. According to an expert, by linking research to engineering, Samsung’s products could hit the market quicker than if the two functions worked separately, and products could be designed in ways that had only just been conceptualized.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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