Q: You’ve been integral as a Project Manager for a variety of manufacturing projects in recent years for clients like Gulfstream, Boeing and Triumph Aerostructures. As their AE partner, we’ve taken new approaches to their materials handling and plant layouts for process optimization. Can you talk a little bit about this?
A: The most important and exciting part of any approach are the design charrettes that include the client early in the conceptualization/design process. From these open, group discussions, as well as our direct interactions with the client, we’re able to inform an approach truly tailored to the client (and their end users’) needs. These could involve full-size mockups of a design element, or having the client sit down with a tooling team to better shape expectations and provide perspective for both sides. We may even speak with the floor teams and workers at the client’s factory to build a better understanding of the manufacturing processes involved on site, enabling us to design the most optimal solution possible.
Q: Can you speak to some of the challenges in optimizing production plants and working with clients to achieve efficiencies?
A: Sometimes one of the biggest challenges is communicating to a client that there’s a better way to approach something. Tact and framing an idea in a way that respects the clients’ existing perspective is integral for the adoption of a new concept.
Q:What does working on manufacturing projects mean to you, personally?
A: I think it’s something in my genes. My father and brothers had a construction business and we liked to look at the processes behind how things are built to see if there’s a better way of doing it. We would break things down on paper or in our heads and reconstruct it with different configurations.
Q:You’ve been with BRPH for 20 years and have worked on dozens of unique projects in that time, is there anything unique about the manufacturing projects we’ve worked on?
A: The sheer magnitude and size of the buildings we design, along with the complexity, are what I find most unique. Beyond that, we’re often in the unique position to offer solutions our client never thought possible with the budget at hand. We’ve asked a client in the past, “what would be the best design for your project, cost aside?” And after receiving the response and working collaboratively with our client we’ve found that the ideal reality for their project isn’t as far off as the client originally envisioned.
Q: What do you like best about solving manufacturing challenges with our clients?
A: I enjoy the opportunity to improve a client’s manufacturing process by bringing our unique perspective to the table. Ultimately, we are helping them produce a product more efficiently. The friendships and comradery developed throughout the collaborative process are the best part of the job however.
Jeff Crowe has a comprehensive background in large-scale aviation projects and accelerated schedule programs. He has managed projects throughout the world, from 1.2 million square foot assembly buildings to 10,000 square foot operations centers. He holds over 26 years experience in project management, design and constructability reviews, value engineering, and scheduling.