Wednesday, January 27, 2010

North American International Auto Show

A group from the Ferris College of Engineering Technology School of Automotive and Heavy Equipment went to the Auto Show last week to inform students about career opportunities in the Automotive Field. The two Ferris employees were Mr. English and Mr. Collins, the two students that came along to help were John Bauer and Evan Jones. Wednesday at the Auto Show was Automotive Career Day where over 5000 high school students are brought to the show from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Canada.
The students were very good at generating interest in Ferris and answering the questions of the high school students. In the afternoon we were able to take some time to see the show. John was especially interested in the smart cars, he nearly had to purchase one when removing himself from it became a challenge. All in all it was a great opportunity to represent Ferris and introduce our programs to many students who had never heard of us.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Globalization and Manufacturing – 1 /14/10

Manufacturing today is far different than even 10 years ago. There is not one single factor that has driven change but rather a series of events and factors that by themselves may have little impact but when applied at the same time or within close proximity have changed manufacturing for ever. I believe these changes will continue to evolve for many years.

In print manufacturing during the 70’s and 80’s it was common for a business to earn 20% to 30% Gross Profit. Today they are lucky to get 10%. The margin for management or production error is slim. As a customized manufacturer of a subjective product it is common practice to re-print jobs. Again, 20 year ago this could be done with the job still earning a profit. Today it will take the average printing company three jobs to recover the losses of re-printing.

Technology, largely the internet, databases. MIS have given us volumes of data to analyze to make better decisions. I tend to think we have too much data that prevents us from making decisions. However both labor and management must establish processes that first collect the correct data and then be able to use that data in their daily decision making processes.

Free trade legislation, technology again has allowed many intellectual and manufacturing functions to be outsourced with ease and without traditional quality or performance concerns. As a USnd or even third after services. It is now easier and more advantages or profitable to make transactional revenue than it is to make a product – we can subcontract the making of the product to the cheapest bidder. economy that has driven business ownership to place all emphasis on the financial side of the business leaving the manufacturing side a distant 2

I have grave concerns about the financial systems around the world, typically lead by US policy further restricting manufacturing in this country. We continue to see extreme difficulty for manufacturers to secure credit for daily operation or capital upgrades and expansions yet the financial executives continue to be incented by huge bonuses to generate profits through the manipulation of financial transactions and not the manufacturing of products. The next five to ten years will be bleak if credit does not begin to flow soon.

Michigan manufacturers must continue to support the auto industry while they enter new and emerging markets such and energy and health care. Before our state education systems, both K-12 and higher ed, can prepare a stronger employee, the Michigan culture must change to realize ALL manufacturing jobs require a much higher level of education than in the past. Unfortunately, I believe it will take this significant recession, the inability to find work, to afford housing or food for people to realize this paradigm shift.

Ferris State University has a unique ability to be a leader in this needed transformation. Because of Ferris’ historic root mission, we have the programs in place that are needed. As the public receives the wake-up call for change, they should be headed to Ferris for a breakfast of new career preparation. Ferris however must also change radically to become a much more dynamic and proactive institution to assure we are ahead of the change curve.

Students who wish to be successful in manufacturing now and in the future must be proficient in finance and financial accounting. They must able to analyze manufacturing processes for cost effectiveness debate with confidence the advantages of local manufacturing over outsourcing to an over seas supplier. Along those same lines statistics and process improvement is key. Students must learn to think about sustainability of our environment and resources in the products and manufacturing processes they design. Lastly, respect for a culturally diverse mix of professional business and technical partners. We are collaborating and competing in a 24/7/365 world, not just Big Rapids, or Michigan or even the USA.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The City of Tokyo: By Kyle

Kon Bon Wa (Good evening),

Mike, Bryan and I are have had several opportunities to get out and see Tokyo a little bit and every time we turn the corner we are even more amazed. First of all, the architecture is amazing. The building we are working in is Fugi Television which is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen, take a look.

One of the most intriguing things we've noticed, aside from the amazing vending machines, is that there are raised pathways a on the sidewalks that are there to assist the blind. Also, in one of the districts we visited, there was a chirping sound on the cross walk which was also there to assist the visually impaired as they cross the street. I love this city. Not only is this city helpful to their handicapped, but it's clean. I've only seen one cigarette butt on the ground, other then that, there's no trash on the ground. Shu even went out of his way to pick up a piece of paper that non of us even noticed was there.

I mentioned this before, but everyone we've met so far has been so courteous and kind. Every comment usually begins with "excuse me" and ends with "Thank You" and everyone bows as a sign of respect.

The television program we are going to be on is called "Fountain or Spring of trivia". Filming has been a lot of fun. We seem to be getting used to having a camera around and I think we are able to act a little more natural. As with all reality T.V. shows, we've had to take a few takes of a scene, but there's really not a script, so we get to improvise a lot. We've been told that they want it to be more of a documentary, but we did a scene where Professor Hollen blew up at us and stormed out. We couldn't help but laugh, I think we did three takes of it before it was okay.

Tomorrow Mike and I are off to akihabara, the electrical district in Tokyo. We are going to have to incorporate more Electrical in the machine and this is the place we have to go ... Oh Darn.

Well that's about all for now. Will try to post videos soon, we just don't have a lot of time to edit them to make them somewhat interesting, that and it takes a while to upload.

Until next time, Ja Mata

Thursday, January 7, 2010

konichuwa FSU: By Kyle

Pictured L to R: Kyle Hebner, Bryan Williams, Tom Hollen, Mike Dunakin

Pictured L to R: Shu and the first Director

Sorry for the delay on this post, we’ve been very busy building and filming for the TV show.

On behalf of my colleagues and myself I like to express how much of an honor its been being able to work in Tokyo in one of the most genuinely kind and caring cultures I have ever come across. It’s truly been an experience that I will not soon forget.

There are three people who we work with that speak fluent English, and one of them, Shu, stays with us all the time as our translator and Tokyo tour guide, unfortunately, he’s only been here a few months and gets a little lost sometimes, but that only adds to the fun. Not only is he a really cool guy, he’s also into Heavy Metal and from the moment we arrived at the airport he and I became really good friends. He even, after hearing that I was really into Sonata Arctica, had one of our helpers go out and purchase The Days of Grey, their new album so we’d have something to listen to while we build the machine. We are usually listening to music when we’re in our lab back home and I think Metal really motivates us to build wild and crazy steps.

The machine itself consists of many different toys from American and Japanese tradition to symbolize the union of our Countries in this record breaking effort. So far we have had one full day of building and we’re now on our second.

All of Tuesday was spent shopping for materials and admittedly, a little sight-seeing. Mike and I went for toys and found ourselves in a familiar setting, Toys R Us. We bought about 21000 Yen (a little over $200) worth of toys, and then it was lunch time. The question was proposed, “What do you want to eat?” and of course the appropriate response was “Nihon ryoori tabemasushou” which of course translates to “Let’s eat Japanese food” so we had this dish called Okonomi-yaki, which was the absolute best dish I’ve ever eaten. I sampled three of the four different platters we ordered and each one them seemed better then its predecessor.

I don’t know how much of this next thought is simply part of the Japanese culture or genuine courtesy, but we have amassed a huge pile of snacks on our front table, every few hours someone goes and gets a few bags of chips and some cookies and several beverages and is left there until we consume them. One of the directors just walked in with a handful of Iced Coffee, which all of us have gotten addicted to. Mike just about groveled at his feet when he came in though the door.

I have a lot more to say about the city, but that’s for another time. As for the progress, it’s pretty standard. We’ve been working 12 hour shifts for the past few days. We’re on course and still have high hopes of completing this on time.

Hopefully some pictures will tide you over until I can write some more, but right now there’s not a whole lot to say.

Busy in Japan

The team made it to Japan and has been busy putting the machine together. Their day consists of getting up, working 12 hours, dinner then traveling back to the hotel in time to try and get some shut eye to do all over again.

While working on the machine, there is an interpreter and the director of the TV show. Tomorrow there will be some students from Tokyo Technical College on hand as well.

No images yet due the lack of or speed of the Internet at their locations. But photos should be coming soon.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Sleep Deprived Exposition: By Kyle

There are times in some people's lives when something so phenomenal occurs that every instant leading up to that event dissolves into obscurity. I think on this morning, January 3rd, 2010 may very well be one of those instances in my life. I can't say for my two colleagues, Mike and Bryan, but traveling to Japan has been something I've wanted to do since I started getting into Anime back in High-School. When Professor Hollen approached us about a potential trip to Tokyo, my mind blew in anticipation and since then ... still blown.

After I started attending Ferris, my friend Jeremy suggested that we take a Japanese class together, and since I'd always had a fascination with Japan, I agreed. I couldn't be more happy that I took that class now, because I'm the only one going on this trip that speaks any of the native language. This, of course, comes with a lot of responsibility because the rest of the team will point to me any time we need to speak Japanese. However, it's a position that I accept and will be as diligent as I possibly can.

The photograph above is a cake that Jeremy and his girlfrind bought for Michael and myself the last night we where in Big Rapids with the expression "Have a Safe Trip" and the following night, we stayed at Michael's parents house where another cake awaited our consumption with the phrase "Good Luck Rube Team". We are currently sitting in Mike's living room eating nachos and dip watching Blazing Saddles. The plane for Tokyo departs Chicago O' Hare in the morning at 10:20 and we arrive at just after 2:00 PM Tokyo time. So the plan is to stay awake all night a sleep on the plane, I've never flown commercially before, so I guess we'll see what happens.

In preparation for for this trip, the team made "meeshi" or business cards. This is a really big deal for the Japanese people and the idea is to be as sensitive and understanding of their culture, showing them that we've done research and are willing to pay them the proper respects.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

College of Engineering Technology Remains Top in Nation

For the third consecutive year, Ferris State University’s College of Engineering Technology has the highest enrollment in the nation for full and part-time engineering technology bachelor’s degree seekers. The American Society for Engineering Education publishes yearly data on engineering and engineering technology programs throughout the United States and Canada in the Profiles of Engineering and Engineering Technology Colleges.

The College also ranks first in most bachelor’s degrees awarded and third with the most women graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Ferris has held steady in both areas for the past three years as well.

“Our success speaks for the quality of education that our students receive at Ferris,” said Thomas Oldfield, dean, College of Engineering Technology. “We are constantly reviewing our curriculum to make sure it meets the needs of our students and the changing industry to guarantee the success of our graduates.”

Schools rounding out the top five are Southern Polytechnic State University, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Purdue University. Other notable schools in the top 10 include University of Cincinnati, University of Houston and University of Toledo.

For information on Ferris’ College of Engineering Technology programs visit The entire ASEE report can be found at in the publications section.