As anyone encounter a new profession, they don’t necessary know the rules, the writing involves, or the traditions yet. In this assignment and the course of this paper, I will investigate the discourse community I hope to join professionally and understand how it works. The purpose of this assignment is to help understand the importance of genre in term of different discourse community. Furthermore, it will reinforce the understanding of ways writing differs among from one genre to another. The discourse community I have chosen is System Engineering (ISE). The field of ISE is rather large and thus I will be focusing on mainly the supply chain aspect of the field. To conduct this analysis, I will be looking over two source of text related to the field of System Engineering and analyze its rhetorical issues, content, structure, and its style & language. In addition, I had a chance to interview a person whom is in the field and briefly will discuss on the type of writing the person does as well.
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The person I interviewed is employed at a company who produces semiconductor and supplies to all type of industries worldwide. The person has been employed for the company for about five to six years. He started out as an intern, but today is working full time. He has a variety of job functions within the company, so there is no solid name for the position he is in. However, after interviewing him, I was able to get a view of what he does.
After sitting down and discussing some of the writing he does in his work, I got a bit of a reality shock. In many ways, I always assumed that the field he was in involved lots of writing, but this was far from it. Of course he writes, but very little of it. My assumption was he would write lots of documents involving research topics related to his career, since after all, that’s what I was I gathered from all the research paper I have to write in my study. Actually, most of his writing was in the form of emails, work orders, presentation slides, and short memos, but it’s nothing huge like I expected. He pointed out that the skill he use the most is actually verbal. He also explains that in this career, although you write, it’s just not as often as compared to communication. Since he deals with the supply chain aspect of the company, this is where his where most of his time is spent on. He’s constantly on the phone talking to clients, handling from one order to the next. Additionally, he has to communicate to his superior, co workers, and especially clients. Once I found this out, I actually thought twice about my career for a moment. I wouldn’t mind communicating on the phone with clients, but days after days wouldn’t be my ideal job. However, knowing this, I have a clue into the type of writing I would have to do in the future, which is limited.
Moving on, I then asked him if he ever gone out of his discourse community and what his experience was. He answered that he has gone over to different area of the company, but mainly to socialize. He explains that it’s different from his community. They speak, act, and even write differently. To connect his experience, he told a story he once experienced working with people from other communities. He once spent a whole six months writing a proposal to give to one of his client on how to improve their supply chain. Once finished and handed over to the client, the client looks at it, but brushes off to the side. Because the proposal was written completely in a different style, the client just couldn’t comprehend the materials, nor did he even bother to look deep into it. Right off the bat, he felt it would take too much time for him to analyze the entire proposal.
He also noted that he has couple of friends in the business area of the company and they do write a lot more than he does. In term of writing, he explains that it’s obviously different between what he writes and what they write. They also write proposals and but theirs is long detailed documents while he writes short and brief documents.
In the first article “Turning the Supply chain into a Revenue Chain”, the author Gerard P. Cachon concentrates a specific area in supply chain, revenue sharing. Revenue sharing is when a retailer shares the profit it makes to supplier. This is different from the traditional method of paying off the item completely. This article has a typical problem and solution approach. The author Cachon explores the company Blockbuster and its video rental problem. Its current supply chain method provides insufficient videos to customers. The solution to Cachon, is to ditch the traditional pricing method and use revenue sharing to solve this problem. Since this article is slim, the author provides a short description of the two methods and then shows the pro’s and con’s in a table to compare them. But what’s the purpose of describing the two methods? By comparing the two, it gives the readers or audience an opportunity to look into the advantage and disadvantages between the two and let them decide which is more efficient for their business. This audience can be business owners, instructors, engineers, or even student who is interested in doing research upon the topic.
The second article Supply Meet Demand in an Uncertain World. The author explains about companies confrontation with a large amount of number and variety of products on the market, they find it more difficult to determine demands and forecast production. Consequently, they end up having inaccurate forecasts and as a result cost becomes a problem. Therefore he also details a new approach to the remedy the entire forecasting, planning, and production process. To be able to accurately forecast demands, they must figure out their suppliers (retailer, wholesalers, and manufactures) needs. By figuring this out, companies then have critical decision to handle the most unpredictable items; for instance, such as seasonal demands. In other words, the main article discuses the importance of forecasting and how it’s vital for companies to understand and avoid making forecasting mistakes. The bottom line, forecasting accurately provide production efficiency and save cost, and in return provides more profits.
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By doing the interview and analyzing the two documents, I finally have a broader understanding how to approach different type of writing. Every discourse community has a different style of writing. Whether is written formally or informally, the target audience varies and therefore affects the way the author writes. In the engineering field, the most likely audience for the technical reports is other engineers with a similar background. For example, my professional field of ISE, because the person has to write lots technical reports and as a result, the paper would probably have many technical terms engineers would understand. In the article “Turning the Supply Chain into a Revenue Chain”, I discovered several key terms that was widely used in these type of writing. This includes: efficient, costly, inventory, revenue, retailer and supplier. In the second article, much same happens with similarity to the first.
The format and way the grammar style used in technical reports can also be different. Although, the format is organized like most writing; it has an intro, body and conclusion, with the difference of several additions. It includes a discussion on the findings, and visuals such as graphs, tables, figures, pictures, and illustration. Technical reports have an organized and structured format because a majority of the time, their audience may not read the entire report in one reading. Often times, they may just look for relevant data. So therefore, the way it’s written, readers are able to open a document, and locate what he/she is looking for easily.
What I’ve ultimate taken away from analyzing the two documents is the variety and amount of writing involve in my community. In my opinion, the type and amount of writing done varies from different level. A chief engineer in the ISE field would likely have less writing to do whereas an entry position engineer would have lots more. I can safely assume that once I start out my career, there would be more writing involves. I probably have to write things similar to the person I interviewed. This might be in the form of memos, presentations, and work orders.
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