A point to prove

It’s been a month or more that I am working full time after my graduate studies. As a new hire and especially coming straight out of the school you always try to be the “yes” man in the company. Be (hyper) active and try to make contribution wherever possible and somehow create a “say” in the company. Yes, I did the same for my first job four years back by being over concentrated and involved, trying to somehow impress my boss. But is it a good strategy especially in the long run? I was thinking over this issue and tried to simulate the pros and cons of such “unnatural” behavior.
Firstly if you are really cleaver and sharp, people will know your worth right away. You don’t have to take this “extra” effort to prove the point. The way you speak, express ideas or analyze a problem convey it all.
Secondly, you increase the baseline expectations and commitment level by such over capacity behavior. Remember, everyone including your boss expects you to work above or at least at the high level you set right at the start. As time progresses if you don’t deliver what you promised will decrease your credibility. This is shown in case 1. The commitment level set is much higher than the average delivery performance capacity. In this case due to the initial noise one can deliver above the mark but eventually your performance falls down to your “average” capacity which is much lower than the commitment level. Commitment level can only increase or remain constant but cannot decrease.

You should “Never over commit but always over deliver”. This mantra seems very trivial but really makes a marked difference.
Thirdly, making the initial noise in company can leave a bad impression. You may be perceived as an arrogant and the “over” smart type guy. This hinders your peer-peer communication, good-will and ultimately team dynamics.

The case 2 depicts a scenario where your performance is nearby the expectation/commitment level. This scenario is better than case 1 but not the best one if you are looking for a quick career progress.

Case 3 is the optimum. Here you deliver more than the expectation or commitment. Also there is a positive constant increase in the commitment level and your delivery level. Thus there is progress in your performance and responsibility.
So to summarize, it’s always better to take time to set the foot in the company. Understand the work, dynamics, and culture before you start making a “position”. Especially if you are student right out of the school you should “withhold” your excitement.

Cost of the War in Iraq !

Cost of the War in Iraq
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XML based manufacturing standard

Manufacturing technology is in dark ages if you consider the computer/IT arena and internet technology. The success of the computer industry revolves around the successful implementation and acceptances of certain standards like say USB, Http or Bluetooth. Can you imagine the internet if “everyone” would have not agreed upon the http protocol? different protocol for Yahoo, Gmail and hotmail websites ? Certain browsers can open only certain websites they support. Or even worse consider a scenario where a yahoo email sender can only send email to a yahoo account just because other email providers like Gmail or hotmail have proprietary format and adhere to some different standards.
Today one can use almost any device ranging from a digital camera, scanner, printer, mouse or webcam and plug it in the USB port (install any device drivers if required) and it works. Wow! But let’s say every device and its manufacturer came up with their own standards then this wouldn’t have been possible. A dell computer only supports HP printers, an IBM supports Cannon and similar situations would have been common. Fortunately nothing of this happened and thus we can see the innovation and exponential technological progress in computer industry today.
Unfortunately all the situations explained above are true for the manufacturing field. Each service provider has proprietary formats and standard. Different devices don’t talk with each other. Interoperability is an unknown word in the manufacturing dictionary. Thus there is a lot of redundancy, inefficiency and thus wastage. In light to all these issues the Association of Manufacturing technology (AMT) has formally announced a project for development of an all encompassing standard called MTConnect. Their Mission statement is “The creation of a seamless “manufacturing pipeline” from design to production has long been a goal of many industries. The development of digital factory concepts connecting the product and process designer to shop floor/equipment/operation level data and feedback for simulation, optimization and control is moving closer to reality. The challenge is to connect “islands” of technology to make this a seamless link. This is the basic goal of the MTConnect concept for manufacturing systems interoperability.”
MTConnect™ is a lightweight, open and extensible protocol and data representation to allow the ex-change of dynamic sensor data, configuration data, and control information among MTConnect-compliant machines, software applications and controllers. The most strong point is that it is open source and royalty free. That means anyone can use it, modify it or contribute without any restriction. A strong community backed up by academia, industry and government should ensure a consistent, universally accepted and viable standard. The second point to be noted is MTConnect is based on the universally accepted XML representation.

There have been some efforts for standardization in past. Some of the notable are the OMAC in USA, OSACA in Europe, JOP in Japan and some others. The OPC standards have been the most successful to date but still does not have the overhauling impact to direct the industry. AMT will showcase the MTConnect demonstration at the AMT trade show next year in Chicago. The question is: Can MTConnect deliver the promise?