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Ask an Expert: Frank B. Watts

By: , Posted on: December 8, 2016

frank-b-wattsWe sit down with Frank B. Watts, author of the Engineering Documentation Control Handbook to discuss his research, work and book.

1. What is your particular area of expertise?

Engineering Documentation Control / Co0nfiguration Management EDC/CM

2. How would you explain your current work to a stranger on a bus?

I help product manufacturing companies with the difficult and problematic business of documenting a new product handing off that design to the operations folks building and maintaining that product controlling changes to that documentation and knowing what is in each product for maintenance and troubleshooting purposes..

3. Where do you carry out most of your work?

In my home office and at the customers site.

4. What first inspired you to study EDC/CM?

As a young Industrial Engineer I was given a task to streamline the Change Control process. It was a rewarding project and I soon learned that all manufacturing companies have similar problems.

5. What is the most exciting part of your job?

Helping manufacturing folks in both Engineering and Operations solve their EDC/CM problems, streamlining their processes and saving money.

6. What keeps you awake at night?

Thinking about my next book or edition.

7. What false preconceptions do people have about your job?          

Considering EDC/CM as a Design or Drafting function. The discipline is much broader than that and although usually found in Engineering, is often found in Operations or Quality.

8. What is the most interesting thing you learned this week?

That the military is moving, albeit gradually, toward commercial CM practices.

9. What do you think will be the next big discovery or development in your field?

A software program will be developed to encompass both the ERP (Operations tool) and PDM (Engineering tool) in one application.

10. Why did you decide to write a book?

When I started into this field as a seminar giver and consultant, I found very few books about the discipline. That motivated me to write a simplified, process oriented version of EDC/CM for product manufacturing companies. I’ve been pleased to find my books in the best seller category.

About the Author

frank-b-wattsFrank Watts has over forty-eight years of industrial and consultation experience as a design engineer, industrial engineer, manufacturing engineer, systems analyst, project manager, and in management. He founded his own specialist configuration management company to provide specific expertise in product release, change control, bills of material and other engineering documentation control issues. Formally a director of engineering services, a director of operations and a director of manufacturing engineering, Watts has worked for Caterpillar, Collins Radio, Control Data, Storage Technology, UFE and Archive. He has guided the development of engineering change control processes at numerous companies and made significant contributions towards improving new product release processes, installing MRP/ERP systems and new numbering systems, as well as helping companies attain a single BOM database and guided reengineering of CM processes. He is an NDIA Certified Configuration and Data Manager, author of several magazine articles and author of the Engineering Documentation Control Handbook and CM Metrics.

About the Books

 engineering documentation control handbook

Engineering Documentation Control Handbook

  • Solid, pragmatic ideas for real product and process cost reduction. According to one reviewer: ‘most books focus on the basics without examining all facets of each process area or functional area. This may be good for quickly learning, but it will only take the reader so far. Mr. Watts imparts the same information, but invites the reader to think and to consider strengths and weaknesses of processes and procedures. The copious examples, illustrations and breadth of topics covered make this book “the” reference on EDC and CM.’
  • Strategic emphasis shows how processes may be integrated and tears down the ‘wall’ between Engineering and Operations
  • Thorough description of Product Lifecycle Management software tools

 configuration management for senior managers

Configuration Management for Senior Managers

  • Developed to help you identify key policies and practices needing attention in your organization to establish and maintain consistency of processes and products, and to reduce operational costs
  • Focused on configuration management (CM) within manufacturing and engineering settings, with relevant examples from leading companies
  • Written by an experienced consultant and practitioner with the knowledge to provide real-world insights and solutions, not just textbook theory

These books are available now from the Elsevier Store. You can save up to 30%, enter code STC215 at the checkout!

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