“How much is that going to cost us?”
That is what Jill Kaplan is in charge of figuring out. As manager of product cost engineering for Navistar, Inc., which manufactures trucks and other heavy vehicles, her six-member team of engineers pencils out the expected expense of using new materials and processes.
This is a function that demands diplomacy and collaboration; the team influences decisions across the company, but it doesn’t have the final say on the final outcome. Effective cost engineering involves strong listening, analysis, and communication skills—not the kind of things that engineers are usually known for.
Fortunately for the team, Kaplan is a natural at those skills. She realized that her team members could advance ...