Hear It from Our Engineers: How Applying Past Knowledge Will Impact 2022
An organization is only as good as the people who work there. Engineers work to drive tomorrow’s life-changing innovations—advancing technology to make cutting-edge capabilities a reality—which makes them the lifeblood of a technology company. Now add to that the complexity involved in the integrated design and development of connectivity and other electronic components, and you have an engineer that is under tremendous pressure but rises to the occasion more often than not.
To ensure we drive continued advancement in the interconnect space, Molex continuously strengthens our engineering prowess and expertise at all levels of the organization.
Molex believes in building skills and growing opportunities, with engineers often starting as interns and then joining Molex to pursue a career after graduation. As their career progresses, they become seasoned experts in the diverse fields they support. Designing new products and developing new processes typically present obstacles, but when engineers are trained to approach challenges with a problem-solving mindset, they are able to more easily overcome those hurdles and emerge successful. What’s more, Molex engineers are encouraged to collaborate with each other and with customers to leverage combined experiences and viewpoints, and the results often set the path for developing technology that’s fine-tuned to address future needs.
Tales From the Trenches: Overcoming Challenges for Transformation
How exactly does that manifest for our Molex engineers? We went straight to the source—and several of our engineers were eager to tell their stories. What did they learn in 2021 and how is it guiding them in 2022? Though their stories come from the perspective of a range of roles, industry focus areas, and regional locations, all of them underscore how our engineers are able to not just build products but create connections that advance innovation in a host of critical industries.
Last year proved to be a challenging year for many people around the world. But Molex project engineer Ricardo Alverez Gonzalez embraces challenges as strength builders for transformation. Good communication often plays a key role in learning and problem solving, which Ricardo experienced firsthand in 2021 when he and his team faced having to design a new connector within an extremely tight timeframe.
“After a couple of brainstorm sessions with my peers and managers, we were able to come up with the design in the very short timeline and give the customer a proposal,” Ricardo stated.
He learned that although maintaining constant communication during the pandemic and across time zones is tricky, his team’s efforts to keep information and knowledge flowing paid off significantly. “We were awarded the business,” said Ricardo. “Even though the customer’s production and delivery timelines were also very short, we were able to quickly prototype our parts by involving plants across the globe.”
“Being humble by asking for help and participating in knowledge shares helps us learn,” added Ricardo, summing up some of his lessons in working on power connectors for the past year.
Mold process engineer Erin Murphy believes that learning from experience and then sharing what was learned is crucial in driving engineering progress. Erin and her team spend their days advising product engineers on the materials and processes used in developing plastic parts of connectors and other components, such as housings and overmolds. This involves simulation and proof-of-concept work, along with analysis to optimize design for manufacturability (DMF).
In 2021, recognizing there were improvements to be made, Erin’s team began gathering their combined knowledge to rethink DMF efforts globally. The goal is to ensure all processes and information are stored in a central location, making knowledge sharing with other Molex engineers much easier, and the benefits will be exponential. For example, giving engineers quick access to collected knowledge gained via past analyses could potentially shorten design time by providing needed factual details on what will and won’t work in materials and process choices, depending upon applications, environmental conditions and more.
One of the challenges Alex Haser realized when starting out as a senior industry standards engineer was the requirement for the soft skills needed to communicate with others and understand their needs. During her eight-year career, she has become more methodical and organized in her communication by asking pertinent questions so she can understand and address other people’s concerns. This has led to one of her most rewarding experiences, which involves writing industry standards around Molex products for next-generation data center systems—a meaningful contribution that drives the overall transformation of the company as a matter of course.
Mechanical engineer David Sias works as a group manager in Molex’s Consumer and Commercial Solutions Division. David said, “Taking on this new role as group manager has challenged me to confront my default around conflict avoidance—my desire for everyone to get along.” Pushing boundaries and confronting adverse situations have helped change David’s perspective on taking calculated risks and engaging in “good conflict” to solve problems. With supply chain issues having been one of the many challenges in 2021, David aims to catalyze transformation in his group in 2022 by instituting early engagement and dual sources using alternative vendors.
Applying Experience to Opportunities in 2022
David is not alone in his plans to apply lessons learned to 2022. In fact, because technology is always evolving, transformation is simply part of being an engineer. As Erin said, “I learn new things about our processes every day.”
It’s part of Erin’s job to apply what she learns to the next project or problem, and this includes tackling new design requirements to fit changing market demands. For instance, in 2022, Erin anticipates the continuation of a trend toward smaller end products and tighter design spaces.
“Fitting products into smaller footprints leads to smaller features and tighter tolerances,” said Erin. “This means altering current molding processes or developing new ones. We’re constantly developing new ways of doing things.” She added that engineers’ technical abilities are challenged daily in the evolving technology climate. So, sharing their knowledge and expertise with each other—always crucial for success—will be even more important in 2022.
Sarthak Shukla, a sales engineer supporting the electric vehicle industry, enjoys having the opportunity to work with his Molex team and customers. “Delivering the connectivity solutions necessary for groundbreaking product designs can be daunting, but also satisfying,” he said.
“Being a sales engineer for Molex is a fulfilling role,” Sarthak continued. “You have the opportunity to see firsthand the results of Molex innovation in customers’ designs, and how these solutions impact end applications.”
As technological developments accelerate in products such as medical devices, autonomous driving, 5G, smart buildings and more, opportunities abound. In 2022, Sarthak looks forward to helping his customers leverage Molex’s connectivity portfolio and engineering expertise to support another cutting-edge industry: electrified cars. “Every year, electric vehicle production ramps up as more automobile manufacturers make commitments to electrification,” he said. “There is huge growth potential and so much opportunity for new innovation that changes the game. Electrification is the future.”
Sarthak also thinks the experience of working during a pandemic has translated into more effective communication with customers. “While being able to meet face to face again will definitely bring advantages, working remotely with customers also gives us more flexibility and heightens our ability to listen to and address their unique needs,” he added.
For example, remote communication can enable sales engineers to answer customer queries in real time. “If I’m in a virtual meeting with a customer, I can dial in a product manager from across the world to deliver that additional technical presentation, if necessary; I don’t need to engage in a lengthy back-and-forth with the customer. This makes potential issues easier to mitigate. It drives speed of execution, and it gives the customer a more seamless experience with Molex,” Sarthak stated.
Navigating the Future with Engineering Expertise
Molex engineers are at the helm on our voyage to deliver next-generation connectivity solutions that uniquely address our customers’ ever-evolving needs. Obstacles, which are inevitable in bold endeavors, won’t stop progress. Transformation through hands-on experience and collaboration, both within Molex and with our customers, brings together the best minds to solve problems and develop groundbreaking products. Challenges don’t diminish engineering efforts—they strengthen them.