Productivity Engineering – Bringing ideas to life
Not many people are familiar with the term “Productivity Engineering.” For SourceAmerica®, it is the practical application of our mission to create job opportunities for people with disabilities.
The objective of the SourceAmerica Productivity Engineering team is to develop technological solutions and devices to assist individuals with disabilities who are employed by the approximately 700 nonprofit agencies in the SourceAmerica network. In my role as the Director of Productivity Engineering, I lead a talented team of engineers who bring unique ideas to life. We provide comprehensive engineering services in the areas of mechanical, electrical, software, industrial, and process engineering.
Working with network nonprofits, Productivity Engineering provides additional tools that help people with disabilities increase their on-the-job success. Our team:
- Increases productivity and helps employers measure production improvements.
- Increases independence and enhances the actual employment opportunities available for people with disabilities.
- Enriches operations across the full scope of work on contracts and projects which will improve agency sustainability. These enhancements include both employers – in SourceAmerica’s case, the nonprofits in our network – as well as their customers, who are federal and commercial in nature.
One primary outcome desired by the Productivity Engineering team is often a change in the way employers think and the way that people with disabilities work. This is a culture change in many aspects, and it is one that doesn’t always come naturally or quickly. Our job is to stretch people and agencies – to bring them outside of a comfort zone – and then help them to try new things and learn how to work more productively and efficiently. We focus on utilizing emerging technologies and concepts like “right-sized tooling” and “LeanAbility” that incorporate best practices from across the engineering industry. By combining these concepts, we can provide services to people and organizations with a variety of needs that produce long-term, successful outcomes.
Everyone on the team has a slightly different set of skills and talents, which allows us to develop successful outcomes for a variety of different project scenarios. We can work with as many as 20 nonprofit agencies at any given time and up to as many as 30 or more projects that can make a meaningful difference in a person’s employment path.
Members of the SourceAmerica Productivity Engineering team are located across the nation - from upstate New York to the Pacific Northwest and many other locations in between. As a result, tele-engineering has become an important way we help agencies in the SourceAmerica network access our Productivity Engineering services. Despite pandemic-related travel limitations, our team has stayed connected to the people and organizations we help. Tele-engineering has enhanced our process in some ways, providing a useful communication option for both for the agencies we support and the engineers on the Productivity Engineering team themselves.
The most important elements of our team’s success are intentional focus on the person being served, respect for each other, and our ability to have fun and encourage each other’s creativity.
For more information about SourceAmerica Productivity Engineering, please email ProductivityEngineering@SourceAmerica.org.