Looking back is fine, but it’s time to look ahead

Over the past 12 months, we’ve brought you a look at how PLANT ENGINEERING was born, how it has grown and developed and changed and evolved in 60 years. We’ve looked at how much of what we face today in manufacturing are really just old problems with a new face. It is always instructive to see where you’ve been.


Over the past 12 months, we’ve brought you a look at how PLANT ENGINEERING was born, how it has grown and developed and changed and evolved in 60 years. We’ve looked at how much of what we face today in manufacturing are really just old problems with a new face. It is always instructive to see where you’ve been.

Now it’s time to see where we’re headed.

PLANT ENGINEERING will tackle three significant issues in 2008. They will be the focus of our Manufacturing Summit on March 31 and April 1 in Chicago. They will be the focus of our ongoing content online and through our electronic newsletters. They will form the foundation of our efforts to create dialogue and raise the discourse in manufacturing both in the United States and in our growing global manufacturing economy.

They will get all this attention because when we asked you what you thought the key issues were in the coming year, this is what was on your mind:

  • • Workforce Development: Our landmark study, “The Changing Role of the Plant Engineer,” pointed to this issue more than any other as the biggest concern among plant managers. Lou Dobbs, the “populist” idiot roaming the airwaves of CNN, doesn’t believe there’s a job crisis in manufacturing. Manufacturers know better. Everyone we talk to on this issue is concerned about developing the next generation of manufacturing workers and manufacturing innovators. We’ll create not just light, but real solutions on this issue throughout 2008.

  • • Sustainability: It used to be a cute catch phrase, but sustainable manufacturing %%MDASSML%% which we define as the intersection between social and fiscal responsibility %%MDASSML%% is a growing trend. Manufacturers, including all of this year’s Top Plant winners, understand that sustainability doesn’t mean recycling pop cans or lowering the heat. It is a strategic initiative designed to deliver reliable manufacturing products in a socially responsible way. It’s being green and making green at the same time. We’ll show the way to that success.

  • • Data Management: We are connecting the plant floor to the enterprise in new and amazing ways today. Frankly, it’s about time management celebrated the excellence that happens every day on the plant floor. Data are driving that celebration, but with it comes the need to make sure we understand what the data can help us do better, and which pieces of that data can make us better at our jobs. We’re past just collecting data; we have to manage it, and make very sure it doesn’t manage to overwhelm us. We’ll have a discussion all year on this issue.

    • These major initiatives will come on top of our usual efforts to keep you up to date on crucial issues such as arc flash, maintenance strategies, training, asset management, plant efficiency and all the new products that will make all those efficiencies possible.

      It’s a heady agenda, but it’s one we relish working to bring you. After looking back at 60 years of excellence with PLANT ENGINEERING , it’s time we looked ahead.

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