Using Systems Thinking to Solve Real-World Problems
by Jamie P. Monat and Thomas F. Gannon
“Systems thinking focuses on the relationships among system components and the interactions of the system with its environment, as opposed to focusing on the components themselves… Those relationships typically dominate the behavior of systems.” As an antidote to myopia, systems thinking takes a holistic and integrative approach.
101 Things I Learned in Engineering School
by John Kuprenas with Matthew Frederick
Engineering involves the application of mathematics, physics, and chemistry, but “the heart of engineering isn’t calculation; it’s problem solving,” writes John Kuprenas, a civil engineer. Here is a sampling of his insights.
“There’s always a trade-off. Lightness versus strength, response time versus noise, quality versus cost, responsive handling versus soft ride, speed of measurement versus accuracy of measurement, design time versus design quality… It is impossible to maximize the response to every design consideration. Good design is not maximization of every response nor even compromise among them; it’s optimization among alternatives.”
The Toyota Way
by Jeffrey Liker
The Toyota Way provides an excellent introduction of the Toyota Production System and insights into the company culture.
Toyota is the leader of lean production. In contrast to batch and queue systems, lean focuses on one-piece flow. The customer is the next process and the ideal batch size is one, so the source of defects can be discovered before thousands of defective parts are made. Continue reading