As 2011 hit the halfway mark, manufacturing leaders saw improvement—and room for improvement.
Bob Vavra, Content Manager
The most important thing to know about driving around a curve is that you need to keep looking ahead, because you can’t always see what is coming around the corner.
But when asked to grade 2011 so far, more than half of Plant Engineering’s readers gave 2011 a grade of ‘B’ or ‘C’. In 2009, just 38% of Plant Engineering’s readers in our annual Salary Survey through the recession had ended; in the 2010 Salary Survey, that had risen to 55%. In our exclusive Mid-Year Report poll, 65% graded the year so far at least average, and 40% said it was above average or better.
With this in mind, we asked a number of industry experts in all areas of manufacturing, from the plant floor to the association level to the supplier community, to offer their views on manufacturing’s successes and challenges in 2011 and beyond. Our panel included:
- Dr. Mohamed AbuAli, postdoctoral researcher, Center for Intelligent Maintenance Systems (IMS) at the University of Cincinnati.
- William Gaskin, president, Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).
- Andy Gravitt, senior vice president, Industry Business, Schneider Electric.
- Joe Martin, president, Martin Control Systems, Dublin, OH, and board member, Control System Integrators Association (CSIA).
- Jay Mellen, executive vice president, Business Development, Savigent Software, Minnetonka, MN.
- Tsutomu Nakamura, general manager, assessment and certification division, Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance.
- Mike Pulick, president, U.S. Business, Grainger, Lake Forest, IL.
- Jason Speer, vice president and general manager, Quality Float Works, Schaumburg, IL.
- Dave Tilstone, president, National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA).
Manufacturing leaders interviewed by Plant Engineering for our 2011 Mid-Year Report generally see that the economic uncertainties of 2009 and 2010 are in the rear-view mirror. That does not mean there aren’t still challenges ahead—there is still overall economic stagnation in many markets and some lingering inefficiencies that are just now being addressed. The lack of skilled workers and the rising cost of energy in the past six months have slowed some growth, and national and global uncertainty—both economic and political—continue to be a factor.
Everyone seems to feel the worst of the 2009 recession is behind us. In what ways has 2011 met or exceeded your expectations? (See the responses…)
What are the warning signs? What still needs to be done? (See the responses…)
You are a manufacturing supplier, but you are also a manufacturing business. What challenges have you found in your own operation that you have had to address in order to grow? (See the responses…)
You talk with successful manufacturing operations all the time. What characteristics do they have in common? (See the responses…)
Describe your organization’s energy policies. What are the near- and long-term goals for energy management within your organization? (See the responses…)
What is your outlook for 2013? (See the responses…)
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