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LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY FOR COMMERCIAL ADVANTAGE

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Engagement Process

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Gordon Richardson
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617-504-3340
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How It Started

Many friends and clients have described iconic events that capture the essence of a complicated issue in a useful and memorable way. I can recall many but, for me, there is one that best explicates the issues associated with bringing a new technology into an established company whose products are based on other, older technologies:

As I was settling into my new job of Chief Engineer with Eastman Whipstock in 1973, it became obvious that we lacked many of the components and tools that our (one!) electrical engineer needed to efficiently design, build, and test prototypes. A prototyping kit of resistors was one of the first things I ordered. This would eliminate the need to send someone off to the nearest Radio Shack whenever we needed a different resistor.

After three or four weeks, when the prototyping kit had failed to show up, I telephoned our (one!) buyer and asked him to track down the order and let me know when we could expect to receive it. The following day, he told me the kit had been delivered more than two weeks ago.

Since it hadn't found its way to the Engineering Department, I went to Incoming Inspection. There I found a technician who, having referred to our drawing for resistors, had spent the previous eleven days measuring the diameter of each electrical lead of each of the 20,000 resistors in the prototyping kit!

Like many of the clients I have worked for since, all the systems and procedures that were in place within Eastman Whipstock at the time were designed for products that were comprised of mechanical parts and assemblies. The handling, documentation, inventory, inspection, acceptance test, final test, and repair procedures all reflected the technical history of the firm. To design, build, test, inventory, maintain, and repair electronic products, these procedures all needed to be changed. With the benefit of hindsight, it seems obvious. When in the midst of a crash effort to get a new product into the market, I found it was all too easy to overlook what would later seem obvious!


 

 

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Gordon Richardson
TechRich Consulting
263 Commonwealth Avenue, Unit #4
Boston, Massachusetts 02116-1659
617-504-3340
gr@techrichconsulting.com



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