A SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVE NEEDED FOR ENGINEERING EDUCATION 2004-01-1737
Today, our manufacturing enterprises exist in a climate of accelerating change. This climate necessitates that engineers understand a systems approach and that they can function as integrators in the process of design and manufacture of products and services. Consequentially, it is incumbent upon our educational systems to see that the education and training of future work forces, as well as the retraining of present workers, include an interdisciplinary approach. Such an approach will produce engineers capable of imparting knowledge integrated from a holistic view and applying a systems approach to practical solutions. The old principles where one understands a single system and attempts to assemble the resulting systems from that perspective are no longer viable. To be the best no longer means building a manufacturing advantage around standard designs and mass production of products. Organizations must be both flexible and agile in order to achieve a level of quality that will enable them to benchmark against the best. Engineers of the 21st Century will face issues in an exploding environment, expanding their vision from the factory floor to interaction with businesses globally. Product sophistication, advanced tools, a global manufacturing environment, and a multitude of social and economic changes will add to the exploding scope of the engineer. All of this means the engineer must be educated to respond to these conditions.