Collaboration is not an option, it’s a necessity.

When is the last time you thought of your competitors as collaborators? For many of us, sharing information with the “enemy” is unthinkable. But for others, it’s a way of life.

I recently attended the CMSC in Phoenix. For those of you not familiar with the Coordinate Metrology Society, it is a membership of users, service providers and OEM manufacturers of close-tolerance industrial coordinate measurement systems, software and peripherals. The society gathers each year to gain knowledge of the advancements and applications of any measurement system or software solution that produces and uses 3-D coordinate data.

This is truly the coming together of a community-industry, academia and government-with a willingness to share information for the better of the industry. The competitor is no longer the enemy, but rather the colleague who likely is going through some of the same challenges you are. Who better to discuss challenges with than someone who has walked the walk?

It is always interesting to hear the practical side of the industry-new products and technologies-but I find it fascinating to talk to the folks involved in research. While many can only speak of their work in general terms, the research they are conducting and the technologies they are developing will be the next big must-have products in the years to come.

The sense of collaboration goes beyond industry. I talked with Georgia Harris, president of NCSL International, and one of her initiatives is educating school-aged children on careers in metrology.

NCSLI, in conjunction with ASQ, has developed an ambassador program to help address the future worker needs of the industry-those individuals who, in the future, will be attending the CMSC and sharing their own ideas to shape the industry.

We need to encourage future generations that this is the industry to be in. NCSLI has some great resources on the different careers in metrology The site includes a video that describes what metrology is, as well as how it is part of our everyday lives. It also includes a question-and-answer section with metrologists. Questions include: what do you like best about your job; how did you get started in metrology; what’s your work like; and what advice do you have for someone considering a career in metrology?

Collaboration is not an option, it’s our future.

What are you doing to help further the mission of the industry? Do you collaborate with your competitors? Share your thoughts with me at[email protected], or with other members of the Quality community at the Quality Magazine LinkedIn Group page, the Quality Facebook page and on Twitter at .