Blog! Five Fast Things for December 22, 2006


1. Tools for Tomorrow: We’ve talked a lot about educational challenges into the next two decades, both for America as a whole and manufacturing in particular. Grainger has developed its Tools for Tomorrow program to help students interested in technical careers get the education they need and deserve. The company just awarded three more scholarships to student in Ohio, Illinois and Maryland to wrap up the first year of the tools for Tomorrow program.

"As we conclude our inaugural year of the Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program, we are proud to support these exceptional students as they progress in their education," said Grainger president James T. Ryan."The students of today represent the future of the technical professions."

The 2006 scholarships were awarded to Fernando Gomez of Waukegan, IL in automotive technology, Brandon Bogle of Milford, OH in electrical engineering and Troy Hastings of Baltimore in construction management.

We need more programs like this, at the grass-roots level, to help build the next generation of great students.

2. Guess what? Automation is hot: This will come as no surprise to anyone in manufacturing, but ARC Advisory Group notes that capital expenditures for process automation equipment will grow by 6.4% over the next five years. The latest ARC report shows the market was nearly $58 billion in 2005 and is forecasted to reach nearly $79 billion in 2010.

"Modern process automation plays a key role in enabling integration of real-time visibility, agility, and speed into the performance management system so that the enterprise re-mains on course in improving business performance," according to senior analyst Himanshu Shah , the principal author of ARC's "Automation for the Process Industries Worldwide Outlook".

3. Lean on line: A new offering from Bosch-Rexroth’s Linear Motion and assembly technology group offers resources to helppackaging OEMs implement Lean manufacturing techniques.

The free Packaging Machinery OEM Productivity Kit is available by going to the company’s Web site at . The kit includes a video presentation of manual production systems along with practical pointers on material flow, people flow, and information flow. Included on the CD is the guidebook “Lean Manufacturing: Principles, Tools, and Methods.”

4. Speaking of Lean… One of the cooler things we saw as assembling the story on BMW’s award as a Top Plant winner was this time-lapse video of the deconstruction, demolition and reconstruction of BMW's Spartanburg assembly plant. To see it, go to . Click on the “MediaCenter” link at the top center of the page, and then click the “Milestones” link at the left of the following page. Select from there the video icon for the One-Line Conversion in Assembly.

5. And we wish you a Merry Christmas: And we’ll return to blogging on January 2, 2007. I hope the world doesn’t changed that much in the next two weeks. If you, may it change for the better.

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