Quality Magazine

The Vitruvian Man

The human factor

December 4, 2013

It’s been said that the human body is a marvel, the greatest machine ever designed. It’s not hard to find confirmation of that statement in the other machines man has designed and built. Robotics mirror the action and capabilities of the human arm. Cameras mimic the action and capabilities of the human eye. Software and computers may be able to process information and calculate algorithms and equations faster than the average human, but it is also true that computer software is only as good as the programmer. Not to mention that every machine ever designed and built was first conceived by a human brain.editor_in

Even with the proliferation of machines and automation in the manufacturing industry, the importance of the human machine is no more evident than in the skilled workers gap that exists, not only in our industry, but in manufacturing across the globe.

This month, Quality examines the state of the skilled workers gap with associate editor Gena Johnson’s article, “Bridging the Skills Gap to Hire Qualified Workers.”

Through labor statistics and other reports, as well as the knowledge and insight of industry experts like Louay M. Chamra, dean and professor of engineering and computer science at Oakland University; senior V.P. and general counsel of legal and corporate affairs at Microsoft Bradford Smith; and Quality’s own Jim Smith, a quality expert of 45 years, Gena’s article sets forth some rationale for the skills gap and what needs to be done to address the situation.

But don’t get me wrong. This does not diminish the importance and need for those non-human machines, automated or not. In fact, this year’s Quality Spending Survey offers insight on the importance of quality as well as how the industry and individual companies have invested and plan to invest in the tools needed to get the job done. So if you wonder what’s going on in the minds of the rest of the industry, or you simply wonder how your company’s spending and investing stacks up, check out managing editor Michelle Bangert’s article, “The Value of Quality.” And for some insight on the keys and nuances of budgeting for equipment investment, read senior editor Genevieve Diesing’s article “Trends in Equipment Budgeting.”

 Enjoy and thanks for reading!