Sify Plainspeak: SME Interviews with Ed Lugo of ARG and Indresh Chauhan of Sify, Part 1

Sify Plainspeak – An Interview Series with a Horse (as in, from the “horse’s mouth”) that, true to its name, speaks to real experts who have solved real problems in the real world – not the “armchair” variety who’s mouth lingo-laced bromides make you scratch your head and say – “Eh, what did they just say?”

Today, we interview Ed Lugo, an ARG executive advisor. Ed is someone with decades of experience in manufacturing, automation, and aerospace. Along with his manufacturing expertise, Ed brings to the table experiences and practices in the areas of workforce training and process improvement. You can read his detailed bio and about his company at the end of our interview.

Part 1:

Indresh:   Ed, welcome to Sify Plainspeak. Tell us about the benefits that people will to get from this interview?

Ed:   I come from a career in manufacturing with a business emphasis and one foot in the educational community. From this interview, I would hope to impart my experience in all three of those aspects.

Indresh:   Why do you think that the combination of your experiences is important for anybody in manufacturing these days?

Ed:   The industry is definitely facing challenges. Not only do you have a new millennial workforce coming in, you also are retiring a lot of older baby boomers who basically set up the foundation for the business as it is today. Behind that you have another generation, Gen Z or the iGen, that’s changing the face of the way in which business is done within a manufacturing operation.

Indresh:   So, Ed, what you’re saying is that not only is there a generational change that is happening, but manufacturing as an industry is changing as well. Everybody in manufacturing these days must ultimately think about their business; how it’s running, how it makes money, how is their department functioning. Is that a fair thought?

Ed:   It’s a very fair thought. Look at the way workforce contracts are structured now. In the old days, it used to be a Cost-Plus program in which you had a base program cost, for say, manufacturing a part. If you put in more hours than planned, or if you added more manpower, or needed more training – all of that would be an additional cost. Nowadays, it’s a bonus incentive program. The bonus incentive program says that you’re getting a baseline program cost, and if you hit your milestones, then you earn a bonus. The complexity of the environment has changed 100%.

Indresh:   For instance, in the Bonus Incentive program, somebody would be getting a base salary and they would be given incentives in terms of achieving their productivity incentive or machine uptime incentive, you basically are going to get a bonus. It’s also for the individual themselves. To be successful, they must be on top of the game in terms of knowing the business and how to make it more efficient.

Ed:   Yes, absolutely.

Indresh:   Tell us a little bit about your own experience. When and how did you get started?

Ed:   I have over 30 years in the manufacturing space. I started in the mid ’80s and started on the factory floor, and worked my way through a number of disciplines which exposed me to a lot of not only the fabrication process and the assembly process but the way in which the business is run, what’s important, and ultimately led me into the automation space where I was required to make capital asset purchases in the millions of dollars.

Indresh:   Did you get into manufacturing by accident, or was there someone who guided you?

Ed:   I had a lot of really great mentors along the way, John Anderson who did the learning curve analysis for the B-2 bomber program, Scott Stenburg who was director of engineering on the 747 commercial program as it transitioned from a paper drawing to a three dimensional model. My father was the one that actually got me started in the business. Basically, he got me my first job at the age of 21 and said, “Sink or swim.”

Indresh:   Wow, and obviously you swam. You swam like crazy.

Ed:   30 years later, I’m still swimming, yeah.

End of Part 1… to be continued in Part 2

Ed’s Bio: Ed Lugo is an Executive Advisor for Alliance Resource Group Inc. – ARG. Prior to joining ARG; Ed was Integrated Product Team Leader for Northrop Grumman Corporation based in El Segundo, California. In this role, he was responsible for the integration of automated solutions supporting the manufacture and assembly of aerospace structures, and the executive interface on critical business activities supporting strategic direction. He previously served as Tooling Representative to the Systems Engineering Integration Team, SEIT, on the Joint Strike Fighter program where he supported new software integration, training, process improvement and sustainment. Mr. Lugo served as Co-Principle Investigator for the National Science Foundation Grant supporting next generation aerospace workers. He has instructed courses in engineering processes for UCLA Ext and ECC, and served as an advisor for SME Tooling University. Ed is an alumnus of Pepperdine University where he completed his bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Afterwards, he pursued further education at National University for his MBA.

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    Indresh Chauhan
    Indresh Chauhan,AVP at Sify eLearning

    In helping Learning Development leaders gain clarity on how to make the most efficient use of training dollars to improve performance, morale, and business results Indresh brings industry best practices and design-thinking in eLearning and Instructor Led Training (ILT). His expertise is most useful to Fortune 1000 companies that have multiple product lines in highly competitive markets. With thousands of employees and customers across geographies - their success or failure depends upon the "human" performance.

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