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You are required to reflect on and think critically (analyse and judge in relation to the theories and case studies) about ideas and practices that relate to you personally during workshops one and two in ENG93000. You are to draw links of your experience and learnings with the literature, theories and examples (case studies). You can insert the correct Part A as part of the final assessment.

General Guiding information for the Assessments:

  • Start writing early
  • Please ensure that you go and visit the library to give you some assistance and how to search for academic journals
  • As discussed in class for you must read widely and deeply
  • Focus on the current academic literature i.e. 2010 to 2018
  • Think, for instance about the materials used for production, the energy and other materials consumed in operation, the human resources needed, and where impacts (both positive and negative) from the activities in your practice area will occur.
  • Remember to think about sustainability in engineering when looking for sources and potential impact on environmental, social and economic factors.
  • Please use your imagination by providing graphs, tables, charts, and so on
  • References table’s charts, appendices are not included in the word count.
  • Please review the associated marking guide so that you can meet all the requirements.
  • Please ensure that your document is written legibly so that it will be acceptable in an academic and industry context.
  • Please note that failure to meet the minimum appropriate academic referenceswill automatically result in a maximum mark of 20% for the complete assignment as you have not based your literature review in evidence based research.
  • Refer to the links that have put up on blackboard to assist you. For example the library libguids, how to write a report, how to search for academic journals, and so on.

The Need for Engineers to Play a Leadership Role in Achieving a Sustainable Future

Subjugating global challenges, such as rapid population growth, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources and destruction of ecosystems, requires engineers to play a leadership role by ensuring that they consider the environmental, social and economic impacts of their decisions. This necessity has prompted focus on the role of engineering management in achieving a sustainable future. The need to build a more sustainable, equitable and stable world for the future generations in inevitable.

Engineers have a very key role to play in achieving this because they are the ones responsible for planning, designing, building, operating and maintaining most of the physical structures used in our day-to-day activities. For many years, engineers have created solutions with little consideration for their economic, social and environmental impacts. Very little attention was paid towards integrating measures to minimize the risk and scale of undesirable or unplanned perturbations caused by engineering systems. This is why it is important to evaluate the role of engineering management in creating a sustainable future. Several studies have shown that there is a positive and significant relationship between engineering management and sustainable development (Carvalho & Rabechini, 2017).

Building a sustainable future basically means integrating social, economic and environmental factors when designing, constructing, operating and managing or maintaining physical structures (the built environment). It means developing the economy and society without jeopardizing future generations’ life (Shobayo & Elumah, 2017). Whereas the definition may sound to be easy, converting this concept into real application is very challenging. This is because of the fact that available natural resources are not sufficient to support the global populations’ needs and wants. Hence there is great need for understanding, participation,

collaboration and cooperation of all stakeholders, some of whom do not have any technical knowledge about engineering or sustainable development. It requires engineers to improve their leadership efforts and adhere to engineering code of ethics when making decisions because they are the main agents that play an essential role on achieving a sustainable future. It has even been confirmed that engineers has a very big role to play in achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs) (Create Digital, 2017). The main SDGs of the UN for engineers include: resilient infrastructure; access to reliable, affordable, modern and sustainable energy; foster innovation; sustainable and inclusive industrialization; and safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable cities.  

Engineering management entails application of technological problem-solving aptitude of engineering together with planning, organizational and administrative abilities of management in overseeing and ensuring successful implementation of engineering projects. Creating a sustainable future entails application of the abovementioned abilities with an aim of maximizing and minimizing positive and negative environmental, economic and social impacts respectively. Engineering management, just like project management, plays an essential role in successful implementation of projects (Wang, et al., 2017).

There are numerous engineering management factors that can contribute to a sustainable future. Some of these include the following: modern engineering technologies and new innovation, use of recycled and recyclable materials, implementation of building information modelling (BIM), lean production, nanotechnology, renewable energy, resource efficiency, code of ethics, value addition, regulatory framework (policies, codes and standards).  

The Positive Relationship between Engineering Management and Sustainable Development

Modern engineering technologies and new innovation have significantly revolutionized the engineering field by improving the efficiency of project implementation and reducing the cost of producing and using products. They have also made engineering a more fascinating profession because they demonstrate the greatest capability of technical engineering and scientific knowledge. Some of the modern engineering technologies and new innovations include use of computer-aided design (CAD) software and tools, artificial intelligence, internet of things, drones and robots, among others, in creating engineering systems.

There is need for engineers to apply these technologies in creating a sustainable future. Use of recycled and recyclable materials has played a key role in reducing pressure on the already stressed natural resources. It has reduced exploitation and depletion of natural resources hence decreasing environmental degradation and also saving costs. Hence use of recycled and recyclable materials should be emphasized so as to create a more sustainable future.

BIM is one of the greatest discoveries that have transformed the engineering field for the better in the past few years. BIM, which is a process of generating and managing information related to a project, product or system throughout its lifecycle, is an engineering management tool with numerous benefits (Alzwainy, et al., 2017).

Some of the projects have were executed successfully because of BIM in China include: Chong Qing International Circus City, Wuhan New City International Expo Centre, Chengdu Financial City, Shanghai Disaster Control Centre, and National Synchrotron Radiation Research Centre (Li, et al., 2014). Thus implementation of BIM in engineering management makes it easier to create a sustainable future because of its potential benefits.

The main benefits of lean production include reducing wastage throughout a product’s lifecycle, creating safe and efficient work practices, completing work faster and saving labour and total costs. People in engineering management are applying nanotechnology to modify available materials so that they attain the desired properties for intended use (Karuppiah, 2015). This has saved a lot of time and costs associated with ordering materials from distant places including overseas. Nanotechnology has also helped in reducing exploitation of natural resources because available materials can be combined, engineered and improved to have specific properties.  

It is also important to focus on use of renewable energy when providing engineering solutions so as to minimize greenhouse gas emissions, save costs, reduce the impacts of climate change, protect the environment and improve people’s health. Additionally, engineers need to continue adhering to code of ethics when making decisions. Relevant government agencies should also create a regulatory framework that promotes creation of a sustainable future. This involves formulation of relevant engineering management policies, codes and standards.

Another very important factor in creating a sustainable future is use of technologically-driven engineering management systems. Engineers are using advanced management systems to monitor and control systems to ensure that they operate optimally. This has helped in reducing the cost and improving resource efficiency of systems during operation stage. Therefore more efficient and cost-effective engineering management systems should be developed and used for a sustainable future.

Decision making is another very key factor in engineering management. Engineers need to improve on their decision-making strategies. The need to put more emphasis on visualizing the economic, social and environmental impacts of their decisions. This may mean developing simulation tools that will enable them to quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate the impacts of their decisions. This is because a sustainable future can only be achieved if the engineering structures and products are planned and designed with sustainability in mind. Therefore engineers need to design products that are in compliance with the goals and objectives of a sustainable future (Fargnoli, et al., 2014).

Building a Sustainable Future: Integrating Social, Economic, and Environmental Factors

Considering the current and predicted problems facing the society, there is need for engineers to participate in continuing professional development (CPD) so as to acquire relevant knowledge and skills that will enable them solve societal problems more effectively (Collin, et al., 2012). CPD is important for engineers because it helps them have a better understanding of societal problems and create more effective and efficient solutions.

There are numerous and rapid changes in social structures, technology, ideologies and diversities hence initial training alone is not enough to deal with these issues. CPD is one of the best strategies that can help engineers understanding societal challenges and available opportunities of solving them (Wabule, 2016). CPD will also help engineers be updated with new engineering policies, codes and standards thus ensuring that they comply with them for the products they create to meet the required current standards (Kwofie, et al., 2018). Thus CPD should not be voluntary but mandatory for engineers, especially those who are specialized in engineering management.

Nevertheless, engineers cannot succeed in creating a sustainable future on their own but they need to involve everybody. This should start by increasing awareness about a sustainable future, its impacts and how to achieve it. They must work with relevant stakeholders to ensure that more people are educated about sustainability and their role in achieving it. One strategy to implement this is to collaborate with relevant government agencies so as to include sustainability studies or lessons in education curriculums (Jones, et al., 2015). Once people understand the concept of sustainability, how it works and its importance for the current and future generations, it will be easier for them to support sustainability efforts made by engineers and other professionals.

The need for a sustainable future cannot be emphasized. This need can only be met if engineers play their role accordingly. Engineering management is very essential for creating a sustainable future. As a result, engineers should be in the forefront of promoting all efforts and initiatives made towards creating a sustainable future. They have to collaborate with everybody, including government agencies, private stakeholders and the general public, to meet this need. Modern technologies should be utilized maximally and more efficient ones developed and utilized. Thus through engineering management, there is great potential for a sustainable future.

References

Alzwainy, F., Al-Shaikhli, K., Mohammed, I. & Salah, K., 2017. BIM in Project Management. Amman, Jordan: AL-THAKERA Publishers and Distributors.

Carvalho, M. & Rabechini, R., 2017. Can project sustainability management impact project success? An empirical study applying a contingent approach. International Journal of Project Management, 35(6), pp. 1120-1132.

Collin, K., van der Heijden, B. & Lewis, P., 2012. Continuing professional development. International Journal of Training and Development, 16(3), pp. 155-163.

Create Digital, 2017. Why engineers are crucial to the success of the SDGs. [Online]
Available at: https://www.createdigital.org.au/engineers-crucial-success-sdgs/
[Accessed 27 December 2018].

Fargnoli, M., De Minics, M. & Tronci, M., 2014. Design Management for Sustainability: An integrated approach for the development of sustainable products. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 34(1), pp. 29-45.

Jones, S., Michelfelder, D. & Nair, I., 2015. Engineering Managers and Sustainable Systems: The Need for and Challenges of Using an Ethical Framework for Transformative Leadership. Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 1, pp. 1-8.

Karuppiah, G., 2015. NanoTechnology in Mechanical Engineering – Case study. Tamil Nadu, India: P.S.R. Engineering College.

Kwofie, T., Aigbavboa, C. & Mpambela, J., 2018. Improving continuing professional development compliance among construction professionals through integrated strategies in South Africa. Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, 16(4), pp. 637-653.

Li, J. et al., 2014. Benefits of Building Information Modelling in the Project Lifecycle: Construction Projects in Asia. International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, 11(8), pp. 1-12.

Shobayo, P. & Elumah, L., 2017. Evaluating the Role of Project Management on Sustainable Development. Pakistan Research Journal of Management Sciences, 1(1), pp. 64-69.

Wabule, A., 2016. Continuous Professional Development: What Role and Who Benefits? Reflections on Teacher Development in Uganda. Africa Education Review, 13(3-4), pp. 141-156.

Wang, N., Yao, S., Wu, G. & Chen, X., 2017. The role of project management in organisational sustainable growth of technology-based firms. Technology in Society, 51(1), pp. 124-132.

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