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ILI Speaker Demonstrates Importance of Value Engineering
April 8, 2011
Whether you know it or not, the concept of “value engineering” is probably quite familiar to you. In fact, any company or employee striving to improve the value of its products or services has probably used the concepts of value engineering at some point.
On Wednesday, April 6, Larry W. Zimmerman, vice president of Black and Veatch, visited Capitol’s campus and spoke to students, staff and faculty members about value engineering and how vital it is to the workforce.
During his presentation, Zimmerman explained each stage in the value engineering process and described how vital each is to a company’s success. Value engineering consists of the following stages, all of which contribute to an idea or product’s success: information stage, functional analysis, creative stage, evaluation stage, development stage and presentation stage.
A major component is the functional analysis stage, which requires examining a tool or product and breaking down its numerous functions. For instance, the overall function of a pencil is to make marks. Looking more closely, the function of the eraser is to remove marks, while the function of the paint is to protect the wood and improve appearance.
“Mr. Zimmerman’s presentation was filled with many real-life examples from his work in using value engineering techniques,” Dr. Vic Maconachy, vice president for academic affairs, said. “The study of value engineering opens a whole new vista for many engineers in terms of preparing for challenging projects.”
The presentation spoke particularly to graduating seniors. The principles of value engineering apply to all industries, and can be found in the workplace everyday. Understanding the process, particularly the creative stage, can be a serious advantage for those competing for jobs.
“Everybody is creative of sorts; they just express their creativity in different ways,” Zimmerman said. “Instead of just saying ‘no, that won’t work’ to an employee, say ‘yes, if.’ Now you have a mechanism for building a team.”
Zimmerman noted that fostering creativity and open discussion is paramount to building a team. Those who see the positive in all proposed ideas are more prone to succeed, rather than those who simply reject all incoming ideas.
“When I look for [employees], I look for people who can communicate and can work positively in a team,” Zimmerman said. “A positive attitude will probably produce a positive result.”
Zimmerman’s speech was part of the Innovation and Leadership Institute’s Speaker Series, which brings dignified government and business leaders to campus to teach and mentor students. ILI speakers share their experiences, past challenges and advice with Capitol students, faculty and staff, so they can continue to succeed in today’s global economy.
Students, alumni, faculty and staff can now look forward to the ILI’s President Forum, which will welcome esteemed citizen-science speaker Dr. Pamela Gay to campus on Wednesday, April 13.
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