Category Archives: Blog

Blog

How your choice of words reflect you as a person

Over the years, I have been active in curating events and programs for students that encourage personal and professional development.  In particular, I try my best to share experiences with students from my alma mater, University of Washington.  A few days ago, a student from UW reached out to me on LinkedIn, in an effort to recruit me to join his team for a well-known multi-level marketing / MLM program (kudos for taking initiative, by the way).

However, what is your first impression when you see this thread?

offensive_mlm

I have nothing against MLM programs.  Many people have been quite successful from these business opportunities.  I have nothing against the sender of this message either.  His effort in taking initiative to contact me shows that he is driven and ambitious and should be praised.  

However, my main concern is about a person’s ability to effectively communicate.  Perhaps it is a language barrier issue.

One key point: Think about how the other person will respond to words you use… It reflects who you are as a person.

And here are  my thoughts, captured inline.

offensive_mlm_responses_inline

Despite negative connotations associated with MLMs, perhaps one can shed some light on the benefits of it.  Diverting one’s attention or avoiding the “Amway” keyword won’t help you become successful.  Perhaps his one-up followed this strategy too and didn’t fully disclose this to him.

Another key point: Embrace your brand.  If you can’t, don’t even bother selling it.  Why sell something you hate?

Whenever you try to sell something, figure out the value proposition of what you are offering.   How does what you offer add value to others?

Have you come across any similar interesting experiences?  More importantly, what can we do to help others succeed in today’s society with personal connections or in the business world?

Feel free to share in the comments below!

Introducing the Galileo Development Board from Intel

NOTE: Shockwave Flash is required to view this video.

Introducing the Galileo Development Board.. Intel’s solution to Arduino.  This video showcases an application of the board for large lighting display and control applications.  Click here is the official public site from Intel for more information.  Do you have any good ideas for other uses of this board?  Comment below!

How to Showcase your LinkedIn Profile and Recommendations on WordPress

linkedin

Hope things are going well.  It’s been a while since I have written my last blog post. I am planning to get back into the habit of blogging, so I will share updates in a subsequent blog post. Today, I would like to introduce you all to an awesome plugin for WordPress that lets you showcase your LinkedIn profile and recommendations.

You have the option of embedding your entire profile, or having a Rotating Scroller for recommendations as well as displaying a Contact Card.

I have integrated the three of those components onto this website.  Here are the examples.

I made one modification to the plugin for the Contact Card to show up to the first 500 characters from my LinkedIn profile summary on the Contact Card.  You can make that change in the file ‘wp-linkedin/wp-linkedin.php’.

I tried increasing that number to 2,000 at first but it seemed to cause some latency, so I arbitrarily chose 500 characters, since my profile summary isn’t that long anyway.  Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about doing that.

The plugin is called WP LinkedIn Plugin.

Here is a blog post written by the creator of the plugin.  A shout-out to Claude Vedovini for creating this wonderful plugin!

Photo Credit: Sylvain Kalache, http://m.flickr.com/photos/sylvainkalache/7390904224/lightbox/

Tips to Building a Professional Brand

This was previously published as a page, but it seemed to make more sense as a blog post instead. (WordPress, the blogging platform that AdrianChu.com runs on, distinguishes between the two).

I’ve been asked many times.. what is a good way to build a professional brand? As a result, I decided to compile a list that will be updated periodically to reflect new ideas. Feel free to contribute. Drop a comment. Although it is not set up like so, this is meant to be a collaborative wiki-type page.

Make a Linkedin Profile. Add everyone you know. Devote less of your internet time on Facebook and more on Linkedin. Check out people’s profiles. See who your friends know. See who friends of your friends know. Join groups that relate to your field. Read the discussion posts. Participate in them. Better yet, create a group and try to get members to actively participate. Is there one for your alma mater or school? Remember, as a group owner, you get much more visibility within your own group. Set goals for yourself. Once you get over 500 connections on Linkedin, your profile will simply say 500+. Make this your goal and you will be part of a distinguished group of individuals.

Connect with me.

Learn how to add your Facebook friends on Linkedin.

Attend a networking event. This is a good way to meet people. And talk (or practice talking) to people. There are many people who have the same technical abilities as you. Now, what differentiates your skill set from another person is your ability to communicate.

Have lunch with somebody who is going in the direction you want to move in.

Build a career portfolio. There are a number of reasons you should do this. Check it out here.

For UW students in science and engineering: The SEBA Mentorship Program. Apply before Monday, December 9, 2011.

More ideas to come. Please feel free to make any suggestions as well. Adrian (at) AdrianChu (dot) com. Thank you.

 

Webinars about LaTeX vs. Microsoft Word and Technical Writing for Teams

Hope things are going well.  This is a follow-up post to one I made from a year ago about Technical Writing for Teams.  I’d like to bring your attention to two free webinars offered by STREAM Tools.
 

 

October 5, 2011, noon to 1 pm: How To Achieve LaTeX Functionality with Microsoft Word

LaTeX is great for writing complex documents, but sometimes you just don’t have a choice and have to use Microsoft Word. In this webinar you will learn how to best automate the formatting of complex documents, move content between documents, and effectively use document templates. Who knows, once you learn, you might never go back to LaTeX.

The webinar will start on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at noon, Pacific Time. Login a little earlier to test your connection.

 

October 6, 2011, noon to 1 pm: Technical Writing for Teams: Introduction to STREAM Tools

In the webinar, we will discuss the concept of STREAM Tools and will present several useful examples of efficient techniques for content management within a group collaboration setting.

The webinar will start on Wednesday, October 6, 2011 at noon, Pacific Time. Login a little earlier to test your connection.

 

Important Information:

To obtain webinar login instructions, please send email to streamtools(at)gmail(dot)com.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

My Current Professional Summary: One Year Later

It’s amazing how the third quarter of 2011 is about to be over.  This year has been full of milestones for me: from participating in technology commercialization activities at the University of Washington and graduating from the Department of Electrical Engineering to entering industry.  At the same time, I have been trying to maintain a dynamic professional summary.  The word dynamic in this context refers to how it is constantly changing to adapt to career progression and other changes. The ideas is that this summary should be similar to an elevator pitchShort and sweet!

Here is my current one on Linkedin.  I’m sure I have made numerous revisions to it since day one.  Unfortunately, I didn’t save every iteration of the updates.

I am a strong generalist with diverse experiences in developing and commercializing smart technologies and working with built environments in startup businesses, small and medium enterprises, and FORTUNE 500 companies in both the public and private sector. Currently, I am working with the Server CPU Development Group at Intel on the next generation Xeon microprocessors.

At the University of Washington, I worked on Technology Management projects with the New Ventures Group at the UW Center for Commercialization and served as Teaching Assistant in the graduate level Program for Technology Commercialization. I graduated from the Department of Electrical Engineering and I discovered my interest in bridging the gap between technical and business disciplines.

While at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, I supported Lean Manufacturing initiatives by developing applications for manufacturing, project management and business intelligence in Microsoft Access and Excel using the VBA language, which have been translating to tremendous savings of time and resources for the customer.

My passion about making a positive difference in the lives of others by bridging connections and mentoring led me to create the UW Career Network, a growing community with 900+ members who work together to help each other develop their careers.

In addition, I performed energy efficiency consulting and research with U.S. Department of Energy Industrial Assessment Center; have been involved in numerous property development projects, managed an Asia-focused international building materials company and am a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Washington.

However, I was able to find one from about a year ago.

Strong generalist with diverse experiences in aerospace/engineering, technology commercialization, trading and real estate development sectors; working with startup businesses to FORTUNE 500 companies and both public and private sector entities. Most recently, my work has been focused on applications to the aerospace industry. I have had two internships with two different programs with Boeing Commercial Airplanes working on manufacturing engineering, configuration management, product integration and certification. Additionally, I have been working with the UW Center for Commercialization in different technology commercialization projects.

Currently, I am a Senior in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington, specializing in VLSI design and energy efficiency technologies. Within the department, I am an Undergraduate Fellow, a member of the Industrial Assessment Center and I have been working on an interdisciplinary code and algorithm development research project in conjunction with the Department of Applied Mathematics. I am an active participant in a number of student organizations and serving as an officer in the Science & Engineering Business Association (SEBA) as well as the IEEE and IIE student chapters at UW.

Also, I am a licensed real estate broker in the State of Washington and have professional experience in retailing, real estate development and the trading of building materials. In addition, I am well versed in East and Southeast Asian culture and business practices. After graduating, I hope to enter industry or pursue graduate level education in Electrical Engineering, Financial Engineering, Systems Engineering and/or Applied Mathematics where I hope to take my research experiences to a new level where I can apply my knowledge into developing solutions to solving problems of humankind. At the personal level, I am passionate about making a positive impact in the lives of others.

It does have many similarities, yet at the same time it does have some updates.  Do you have any suggestions for enhancements? I would deeply appreciate any constructive criticism.  Click here to view the rest of my Linkedin profile.

Photo credit: Chris McKenna, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Borough_tube_station_lifts_01.jpg.

Spring Break Updates

Sorry for the brief hiatus in posting. These past months have been extraordinarily busy. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to update you in some projects I have been involved in:

Digital IC Design

Most recently, I have been taking E E 476 and E E 477, VLSI I and II, the senior year classes for the Digital VLSI circuit design track at the University of Washington. In this course, we worked on designing a number of integrated circuits using Cadence Virtuoso from schematic to layout. An example of projects we have worked on include:

1. 10 bit x 10 bit modified Booth encoding multiplier;
2. 20 bit fast Kogge-Stone tree adder;
3. 256 bit SRAM and;
4. multi-functional arbiter

SEBA Mentorship Program

For my work in the Science & Engineering Business Association (http://www.uwseba.org), I have been coordinating the Mentorship Program designed to provide undergraduate and graduate students in the engineering and science fields the opportunity to network with professionals in the Seattle area. This year, we had over 130 student applicants and 21 mentors participating in the program. I’d like to thank each of the mentors for their involvement in the program:

Andrew Steiner
Brett Gaspers
Brian Albarran
Carl Weissman
Christopher Porter
Dan Freeman
Jeff House
Jeff Miller
Lisa Meyr
Lisa Oelsner
Martin Wilson
Max Effgen
Palash Islam
Rainer Kuehling
Rob Newton
Ryan Bergsman
Saqib Rasool
Scott Bright
Shawn Plaster
Tom Gorey
Warren Michalsen

UW IEEE Student Professional Awareness Conference

As Corporate Liaison for the UW Student Branch of IEEE, we held the Student-Professional Awareness Conference on February 24. It was a catered dinner and networking opportunity along with a presentation by keynote speaker Paul Kostek. Unfortunately, there was some snow in the Greater Seattle area that evening. On behalf of the IEEE Student Branch at UW, I’d like to thank the students for attending and the corporate attendees who made their effort to make this event possible: Intel, Boeing, Accenture, Crane Aerospace and Amazon.com.

Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition

This year, I served as Marketing Co-Chair and Team Ambassador for the 2011 UW Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition. As Marketing Co-Chair, I worked with the Public Relations team at the Foster School of Business to work on outreach efforts for the competition from a student’s perspective. Additionally, I had the privilege to write a guest post for the blog Foster Unplugged (http://www.tinyurl.com/AdrianChuGSEC). As Team Ambassador, I represented the University of Washington as a liaison for the MIT team Sanergy (http://www.saner.gy) who ended up winning the grand prize. Congratulations to Sanergy!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I start off this post with the common proverb: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I won’t be writing a thousand words here to describe the picture, but feel free to add your own imagination to it.

For this project, we had to choose a visual aid that would best explain “renewable energy implementations on a farm.” Hence, we chose a site map because not only could we indicate what we implement, but where we do it. Visual aids are effective in delivering presentations because it can tell a lot more than text. See for yourself. Read the following excerpt and consider timing yourself to see how long it takes you to synthesize all the information.

To supplement our presentation, we will be providing a site plan of an imaginary chicken farm. The purpose of the map is to show areas where renewable energy sources can be placed and implemented. Situated in the center of the map is a rectangle. That rectangle represents an aerial view of the main facility where all the chickens live. On that rectangle, we show the integration of photo voltaic panels that will be placed on the roof of the coop. Beginning from the southwest corner of the building is a chain link fence that goes to the leftmost edge of the rectangular property. To the south of the fence is parking for delivery trucks, employees and visitors. Near the northwest of the property is a small hill, where our team suggested placing wind turbines. Directly east of the main building is a smaller rectangular-shaped facility used to convert biomass into electricity. That facility is nested among a forest of trees to make the area more pleasing to the eyes and the nose.

Now, try reading through the excerpt once more and try sketching it out. After doing so, click *here* to see the actual picture and we can prove two theories.

1. Did it take you longer to synthesize the paragraph than the photo?
2. Was your sketch different from the actual picture?

If you answered both YES, that shows the effectiveness of the visual aid. Two main advantages are: visuals can be interpreted more efficiently than text explanations and are more accurate and to the point. Although, visuals can also be interpreted, unlike text, what you see is what you get. Also, it is important to note that although the text tried to be clear, there are a lot of things that are left out: dimensions: width, length, thickness of the lines; size of the trees; size of the hill, quantity of trees and exact location of each tree, etc.

So just for fun, feel free to send in your sketch to adrian (at) adrian chu (dot) com and we can compare and contrast it with the original sketch. Thanks and have a great day!

The Feeling of Change

It is the seventh week of Autumn quarter at the University of Washington. HCDE 333 has been a rewarding class. During the past seven weeks, we had the opportunity to work on a fine tune skills in various important documents. So far, this class has changed my abilities and provided me with a number of valuable skills that can be applicable after graduating.

I received wonderful feedback in improving my resume and cover letter. We had the opportunity to prepare and make an effective proposal package (in both written and Power Point formats). Also, since this class began, I have gotten in the habit of updating my blog more frequently. I feel more comfortable in writing blog posts as well as working in team-based writing projects. Through this class, I have gotten more exposure in leveraging web-based productivity tools like Dropbox and Google Docs.

The other benefit of collaboration is the opportunity to network. Through this class, I have had the chance to work with a number of new people and learn to adapt to team working environments. The structure of the class provided us the chance to work with our project team for the majority of the course on a number of different projects. Having worked with a group of four other people, I have no hesitation that I would want to work with them again on future projects outside of this class.

Although at times I do feel nervous when delivering a presentation, this class has given me the chance to practice more and see what areas I can improve on. Sometimes I may get too involved in the presentation and deliver it extra dramatically. As discussed before, presentations are important in school as well as in the work place.

So, overall, change is good.

Just-in-Time at Fluke and Genie

Implementation

According to the Toyota Production System, just-in-time is an industrial management principle that strives to reduce inventory and its carrying costs. Synonymous with its name, the time that inventory is received should be optimized according to the time the product is needed. From making observations at two factories in the Seattle area: Fluke and Genie, I noticed that ”Kanban” signals were crucial for the success of implementing just-in-time.

At Fluke, many of its components were placed there by the supplier. Therefore, the inventory and carrying costs are the responsibility of the supplier and the components were only purchased by Fluke when they are needed (just-in-time). This provided a win-win situation for Fluke as they get immediate access to the goods without having to tie down cash flow. Further, the quantities of multi-meters are made to either actual customer orders or estimates based on the “heijunka” system (“Fluke” Tour Guide, 2009).

At Genie, the style of just-in-time implementation varied based on the leadership team. If the plant manager comes from a materials management background, then reduction of inventory would be more conservative. Those who have experiences in process improvement would be more aggressive in reducing any excess inventory. Regardless of the management, the materials still need to be purchased and kept as inventory based on the estimates. Per a conversation we had with a production lead at Genie, his method was to experiment by slowly reducing quantities until a lower limit was reached. From observation, systems were created at the Beckwood Punch Machine such that weld cell consumption triggered replenishment of the link tubes (“Genie” Tour Guide, 2009).

Manufacturing Processes

At Fluke, just-in-time is evident in its manufacturing processes through the use of vendor managed inventory. Internally, they have also implemented a train system where goods are moved from its receiving department to different stations on an hourly basis. The internal transportation system prevents workers in different stations from working ahead of the ”Kanban” quantities.

Due to the complexity of the products made by Genie and the need to manage a growing inventory of over 2,000 parts, just-in-time is emphasized internally in the delivery of parts to the various stations on an as needed basis. In general, material handlers at Genie try to group the parts together for each lift and have them ready when the respective stations have the need through a two-bin system. It is much easier control inter-company transportation than coordinating part deliveries with outside suppliers. In the worst case scenario, even if one of the over 2,000 parts were to run out, the entire production line could be halted, so underestimating is extremely risky.

”Kanban” Signals

”Kanban” signals are vital in the just-in-time system. At Fluke, ”Kanban” signals are triggered by its MRP forecasts and work its way up the supply chain using a self-regulating pull system. According to an industrial engineer at Fluke, physical ”Kanbans” are most useful. Not only do they serve as visual controls, they include important information that pertains to the part such as: part number (new and old), destination, location cell, ”Kanban” quantity, total quantity, lead time and amount per package amongst other important information. Additionally, they are color coded for different types of purchases: internal, external, expense, inventory and supplier (reorder point). Ideal quantities tend to be smaller per batch but with a higher frequency than having all products sent at once. The number of interim products moved with each signal varied depending on the customer orders, but is usually adjusted to meet one piece flow requirements. In a good economy, MRP forecasts are close to accurate and allow for production leveling based on those predictions. However, amidst the current credit crisis, it is much harder to accurately predict inventory needs (“Fluke” Tour Guide, 2009).

At Genie, ”Kanbans” take shape in the form of cards, labels, and storage bins as well as designated areas on the painted floor for storing standard work in progress (SWIP). In general, SWIP (the minimum number of units needed to keep the product line running smoothly) is limited to two units at a time. Although they strive to maintain a one piece flow production line, with each ”Kanban” signal, there could be more than one interim product being moved. Almost every part in the line is moved by the ”Kanban.” Essentially, blue ”Kanban” cards indicate that the part is from an outside supplier while the orange labels are for internally made parts. Additionally, colored visual controls sort parts by product line. When materials are consumed, barcodes of Kanban cards are scanned, which provide material information to the respective machines (“Genie” Tour Guide, 2009).

The Approach

In comparison between Fluke and Genie, it appears that the application of just-in-time is more evident at Fluke. One reason for this is that the products made by Fluke are much smaller. By observing the processes at both factories, it appears that Genie’s equipment and tooling are more investment intensive, so it is more difficult to implement any improvements. By comparing the two plants, it is quite evident that Lean manufacturing is more integrated at Fluke than at Genie.

At Fluke, one of their main priorities is to focus on their core competencies. In this case, it is to handle the final assembly of the multi-meter, while having many components built elsewhere. For example, the PCA assembly division is to be outsourced to a factory in Alabama. The main objectives of Fluke/Danaher is to free cash flow to buyout troubled companies, then apply Lean and either keep them for a high return or resell them. From observation of their factory in Everett, there was a clear sense of organization with 45 cells grouped in a well-lit facility. In addition to just-in-time, principles such as 5-S and safety as well as QDIP (quality-delivery-inventory-productivity) measures are used to determine the success of the plant (“Fluke” Tour Guide, 2009).

Many of Genie’s processes follow its parent company’s TEREX Operating System, which is primarily a combination of just-in-time and “jidoka”. The objective of “jidoka” is to produce high quality products with one-by-one confirmation to detect any flaws. If there are quality problems, the entire is line is stopped. Additionally, some of its machines are able to detect abnormalities witnessed in the products. In particular, the Turning Center and Large Slab Scissors Links Weld stations emphasized “jidoka” in their operations. Prior to delivery, the Turning Center checks each part for defects while the weld cells are equipped with inspection lighting and other visual control aids to check for the quality of the weld. As a whole, Genie also emphasizes level production on its machines using the “heijunka” board. Aligned with their lean philosophy to reduce costs by eliminating waste, its system has three assurances: delivery and minimum cost, safety and morale, as well as product and process quality. Additionally, we were informed that the unused space in the factory is part of an attempt to consolidate other factories as part of its space reduction plan (“Genie” Tour Guide, 2009).

As with both companies, the goal of using just-in-time is to make money. In order to make money, one must increase throughput while reducing inventory and other operating expenses. Optimization using Lean manufacturing techniques like just-in-time allow for reduction of wastes such as inventory and unnecessary overhead.

Works Cited

“Fluke” Tour Guide, Fluke Electronics, Everett, Washington, personal communication, Nov. 10,
2009.

“Genie” Tour Guide, Genie Industries, Redmond, Washington, personal communication,
Nov. 19, 2009.