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The basic responsibilities of a Process Engineer and where to draw the line

  • 1.  The basic responsibilities of a Process Engineer and where to draw the line

    Posted 07-09-2019 14:01
    What should be the role and responsibilities of a process engineer? Of course it depends! However, in my experience, it seems endless. I would like to hear some input that helps me draw some lines and create better work streams with my coworkers. Thanks!

    Radames Ayala Caminero PE
    Cabo Rojo PR

  • 2.  RE: The basic responsibilities of a Process Engineer and where to draw the line

    Posted 07-12-2019 08:14
    I would suggest that there is no line.  As any employee of an organization, the key is to work effectively with a team to make the business more successful by being good stewards of Safety, Environment, Quality, Production, and Cost. (the 5 pillars of a business).  Once you start getting into detailed job descriptions, drawing lines in the sand, building pyramids of power......then the business (and I would say your career) suffers.   Might I pass along my favorite quote and list of items I have tried to follow throughout my career?  Numbers 8,9 & 10 are particularly relevant to your question.

    "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou  American Poet, Singer, Author, & Civil Rights Activist.

    13 Behaviours of High Trust Leaders by Stephen M.R. Covey (2006) from The Speed of Trust:
    1. Talk Straight - Tell the truth.  Let people know where you stand.  Demonstrate integrity.
    2. Demonstrate Respect - Show that you genuinely care.  Respect everyone, even those who can't do anything for you.  Show kindness in little things.
    3. Create Transparency - Be genuine, open, authentic.  Don't hide information, or have 'hidden agendas.'  Operate on the premise of 'what you see is what you get.'
    4. Right Wrongs - Apologize quickly.  Make restitution where possible.  Demonstrate personal humility.  Don't cover things up.  Do the right thing.
    5. Show Loyalty - Give credit to others.  Be loyal to the absent.  Represent others who aren't there to speak for themselves.  Don't talk negatively about others behind their back.
    6. Deliver Results - Establish a track record of results.  Accomplish what you are hired to do.  Don't over-promise and under deliver.  Don't make excuses for not delivering.
    7. Get Better - Continuously learn and improve.  Increase your capabilities.  Develop formal and informal feedback systems.  Thank people for feedback.  Act upon feedback received.
    8. Confront Reality - Meet issues head on.  Address the tough stuff directly.  Acknowledge the unsaid.  Lead conversations courageously.
    9. Clarify Expectations - Disclose and reveal expectations.  Discuss and validate them.  Renegotiate them if necessary.  Ensure expectations are clear.
    10. Practice Accountability - Hold yourself and others accountable.  Take responsibility for good or bad results.  Clearly communicate how everyone is doing.
    11. Listen First - Listen before you speak.  Listen with your eyes, ears and heart.  Understand.  Diagnose.  Don't assume, find out.
    12. Keep Commitments - State your intent and then do it.  Make commitments carefully.  Make keeping your commitments the symbol of your honor.  Don't break confidences.
    13. Extend Trust - Extend trust abundantly to those who have earned your trust.  Extend trust conditionally to those who are earning your trust.  Don't withhold trust because risk is involved.

    John Howell PE
    Senior Process Engineer
    Fredericton NB

  • 3.  RE: The basic responsibilities of a Process Engineer and where to draw the line

    Posted 07-23-2019 16:11
    I think depending on where you're working, it can seem endless. In an engineering firm, it's a little more defined, but in a production facility, it seems process engineers have main responsibilities but are also the catch all for every department. I think as the other reader said, it's not a bad thing, and we don't need to draw lines in the sand and be difficult. I think where it gets to be a bad thing is if you're feeling overwhelmed. In addition, if it feels like you're just doing things instead of teaching, it can be an opportunity to offload responsibility and teach someone else a new and valuable skill if it doesn't necessarily fit your bucket.

    erica sladky
    Process Engineer II
    Omaha NE

  • 4.  RE: The basic responsibilities of a Process Engineer and where to draw the line

    Posted 07-25-2019 16:47
    ​A process engineer is concerned with the process itself - a scheme that works with a continuous flow of material.  The process engineer would be the primary person on the definition and elaboration of the process - for example, development, specification and implementation of whatever would be in the process description and process flow diagram.  Areas that are at a lower level (not lower in importance, just at a more specific or narrower scope), such as details of equipment design, would likely be done by an equipment engineer.  The scope of process engineers and equipment engineers would overlap at the level of a P&ID.  For detailed construction drawings, vessel drawings, welding specs, instrument issues, etc., the process engineer would not be in the lead, but may be involved on aspects as they would affect the process, or where the process would affect the equipment design.  Finally, going up to a higher level, the process engineer has a role in the evaluation of the process in terms of costs, economics, environment and safety, though he or she may work with specialists in those disciplines (cost, environmental, or safety engineers) as well.  In planning and executing a project, the process engineer may work on a team with construction, project, procurement, start-up, and operations engineers as well, with the process engineer having the lead on what the process needs to do and how it needs to do it.

    Does that help?

    Richard Novak PE
    Senior Development Professional
    Praxair, Inc.
    Burr Ridge IL

  • 5.  RE: The basic responsibilities of a Process Engineer and where to draw the line

    Posted 07-26-2019 00:12
    Good description and fits with my experience.  A process may be either batch or continuous - or a mix of batch and continuous steps.

    Philip Russell
    McComb MS