Will it work?

I went to visit Sally down at Sale the other day, we had a good conversation over a “cuppa tea”. Just as I was about to set up and leave Sally informed me she had a bit of an engineering task she believed I would be able to fix. Sure, I affirmed because I am always down for a challenge, only for her to inform me her shower soap holder had broken, and she had a new part to fix it. However, she didn’t know how to.

I was expecting a challenging task. Nevertheless, I was challenged as it turns out she had ordered a very beautiful soap holder, but the fitting system was made for shower poles with a 25mm pole diameter and hers was 22mm. The challenge was explaining that while good, her solution wouldn’t work with the wrong parameters. I called two days later to check up, she had the right one and could fix it up herself.

Similar events happen within our niche. A few days back, I went down south to a client site to commission equipment they had designed to dry their product quicker. My role was to ensure the equipment they had set up would perform the task efficiently. The equipment consisted of blowers blowing air through air knives and a chain conveyor system.

Supposed to be a straightforward task, right? That was my thought process until I interacted with the equipment. On my first run with the damp product, I realized parts of the product were dry and other parts were not. A simple solution adjusts the air knife position parameter to effectively dry the remaining part of the product. As simple as it sounds, it went from being simple to being manually demanding as the designers of the equipment had not created room for parameter adjustments.

The good news is we got the desired result after manually modifying the equipment. However, the equipment needs to be shipped back and modified to accommodate optimizable adjustment hence some cost on someone’s side.

So, what do a non-fitting shower soap holder and non-adjustable drying equipment have to do with me you may wonder?

Equipment in both cases didn’t meet expectations because crucial questions, were answered correctly:

1) What is the problem we want to overcome?

2) What parameters directly affect the problem?

3) How does each parameter impact the problem?

Almost all of us are spot on with the first question. However, when it comes to the second and third, most of us are found wanting. Sally, my friend, was spot on with the first question. However, she didn’t understand the parameters that would be used to implement the solution (question 2) and couldn’t go further to answering question 3. With my friends down south, you can see that questions 1 and 2 were answered. However, question 3 was left out so the solution parameters couldn’t be modified to meet their expectations.

In providing solutions for your project, you need to understand the parameters that Openly relate to your solution and the tecnologies behind these parameters. That way you would be closer to implementing your solution as “plug and play”.