MBT's 2009 Innovation Insight Awards reveal manufacturers' top priorities

Since getting innovative products to market faster is one of the biggest problems facing manufacturers, it wasn't surprising that a large percentage of our award winners have attacked that problem in one form or another.


Ask any group of manufacturing executives about the top challenges confronting their organizations, and the phrase "intense competition" is likely to be at or near the top of the list.
Ask for their best strategies for dealing with that competition, and "getting more innovative products to market faster" is often a popular response.
I knew these topics were on the top of manufacturing executives' minds. Still, it was fascinating to see how these themes permeated the entries for the 2009 Manufacturing Business Technology Innovation Insight Awards.
"Intensely competitive" is the best way to describe this year's selection process. Virtually every entry was worthy of some form of recognition. In the end, however, our judging panel selected the products and projects that were most reflective of MBT's ongoing mission: explaining how technology can be used to solve real business problems.
Since getting innovative products to market faster is one of the biggest problems facing manufacturers, it wasn't surprising that a large percentage of our award winners have attacked that problem in one form or another.
For instance, Celsis Rapid Detection, a Chicago-based provider of life science products and laboratory services, developed a method of quickly verifying whether a product is contaminated. For that they captured a first place award for Most Innovative Product by a Manufacturer.
The Celsis method-turned into a product called Celsis ReACT-promises to save makers of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and home care products millions of dollars by identifying the source of potential contaminants almost immediately after product testing uncovers their presence. This quick verification lets manufacturers know when they must shut down production lines for decontamination and when they can forgo this costly, time-consuming process.
The theme of getting products to market faster also was prevalent in the category of Best Product from a Vendor, where three of the four winners were product lifecycle management (PLM) software suppliers. Developers of this class of software-designed to accelerate the delivery of innovative products-have become quite innovative themselves.
First place in this category went to PTC, a company whose history of being a technology leader goes back to the early 1990s, when it introduced the first parametric CAD system. This year, PTC unveiled Windchill ProductPoint, a system that has harnessed Microsoft's SharePoint Portal technology to create an easy, low-cost way of sharing product design data throughout a supply chain.
Speaking of Microsoft SharePoint, that platform figured prominently in a number of winning entries. Celsis Rapid Detection used SharePoint to create a Web site to host data related to the ReACT project. This proved extremely valuable when the primary product manager left the company. His successor found all product development history in one place, allowing product validation and testing to continue without delay.
Getting new products to market without delay is the goal of every manufacturing company today. As you will see by reading the stories of our 2009 Innovation Insight Award winners, a lot of manufacturers are doing just that.


No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

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.