Back to better

The turning of a year typically brings a flood of observations about the year past and the year to come. The looks ahead more often than not bring messages of hope and optimism. This time around, both of those seem hard to come by.A look back on 2001 reveals a year of such turmoil it's hard to adequately describe.


The turning of a year typically brings a flood of observations about the year past and the year to come. The looks ahead more often than not bring messages of hope and optimism. This time around, both of those seem hard to come by.

A look back on 2001 reveals a year of such turmoil it's hard to adequately describe. Certainly, the biggest and broadest aspects have been the sour economy, the emergence of terrorism in our own country, and the war in Afghanistan. These events have so captured our attention it's been hard to focus on much else. While returning to business as usual seems inviting and comforting, let's hope that doesn't happen.

The old advice that "if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got" is pretty true. And what we got in 2001 wasn't all that great, was it? So, let's not just go back to the old ways. Let's examine our paradigms in the light of where we are and find better ways of approaching the future.

Right now, it's pretty hard to find much inspiration. On the morning I'm writing this, I opened the paper to be greeted with news of more layoffs, pay freezes, bankruptcies, and other glum happenings.

But I think back now to some research I did several years ago on managing change. I'm sure you've read the same things I did about motivating for change, fear of change, and all that. One of the great motivators of change is fear — fear of failure, fear of job loss, fear of whatever. Another is realization — realizing that the need to change can't be denied or ignored. We have both of those factors at work now.

We as a nation are at one of those rare times in our history when a large percentage of the population has come to the realization that change is needed. And the fear of not changing is greater than the fear of changing.

This is a singular moment to be embraced and nurtured. It is a time to question what we have been doing and how we have been doing it. It is a time to look at values and philosophies. It is a time to think about how our work fits into our lives instead of how our lives fit into our work.

We really should not be discouraged. Out of adversity come strength and progress. The year just ending should be our inspiration for the change and improvement to come.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me