New Blog! Plant Manufacturing Now!


An introduction:

In 32 years in the publishing business, I’ve been a columnist, a commentator, a reporter, a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king. (Sorry. Lapsed into Frank Sinatra’s ‘That’s Life' there for a second). In that time, I always wanted to get information out faster. The world of blogging is one way to do that, and I’m excited that in addition to Plant Engineering magazine, our e-newsletters, our Webcasts, our live Roundtables, our special reports and our new daily e-news site, we’ve also added blogging to the mix.

Because speed is of the essence, I’ll limit this to Five Fast Things you need to know each day. I’ll post about noon Central each day, and I’ll always welcome your feedback. Send comments to me at , and I’ll follow-up with comments in the blog itself. As our blogging gets more sophisticated, you’ll be able to comment to me and to each other in the blog itself.

Enough with the introductions. Let’s move on to…


November 27, 2006

1. No blog is an island: I thought you might want to know about other sources on the net where manufacturing blogs can be found. Frankly, it’s not a very biog landscape out there. One of the oldest and best informed is , the National Association of Manufacturers’ blog from Pat Cleary, the NAM’s chief blogger by night and senior vice president of communications by day. Pat and I share a keen dislike for a certain CNN commentator (Pat has something called The Dobbs Watch %%MDASSML%% my take is coming up) and he has a unique voice tilted toward keeping manufacturing competitive as a business. We’ll tend to tilt a lot more toward the plant floor business.

The other one that is best kept best up to date is Mark Graban’s , which leans on Mark’s 12 years of Lean manufacturing experience at NorthwesternUniversity, MIT, General Motors, and through Lean consulting work. Mark claims to be a Northwestern fan, which is something we share. Like finding the right system to run on your plant floor, that can often be a painful experience.

That’s about it on manufacturing blogs. If you find more, email me .

2. Feeding Lou Dobbs’ ego: The CNN business commentator/author/columnist has become his own little cottage industry on the issue of immigration reform. Pat Cleary doesn’t much like him for the reasons stated above. Increasingly, though, Lou’s problem is that his position has become more about how others in the media don’t like or respect his views and less about the views themselves. Lou doesn’t solve any problems, or even offer tangible solutions to them. Last week’s diatribe at the media pundits who criticize him tosses around words like xenophobic and populist . “I’m a populist %%MDASSML%%- deal with it.” Lou opines.

Problem is after you read it, populist and egomaniac sound a whole lot alike.

Sorry, Lou, but you wanted honesty and forthrightness…

3. On the maintenance front: The 14thannual Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP) conference in Birmingham, AL drew more than 700 manufacturing maintenance professionals to 50 technical sessions. As they talked about benchmarking best practices, the SMRP folks also discussed a society-wide effort to identify the key maintenance metrics that should be employed.

The benchmarks that have finished peer review have been posted for comment at the SMRP Website . It’s worth a look both to see what thye discussion points are and to look into SMRP membership.

The new SMRP officers for the 2007 term include chairman Tom Byerley, vice chairman Tom Goshert, treasurer David Staat, secretary Rick Baldridge and past chairman Chuck Armbruster.

4. On the road at Power Gen: I’ll be reporting Tuesday through Thursday from the annual Power Gen show in Orlando . One of the highlights for Plant Engineering magazine is our first Roundtable presentation, sponsored by American Power Conversion . Three panelists and I will discuss power quality issues on the plant floor. We’ll be in Room S230E at the Orange County Convention Center if you’re in the neighborhood. If not, you’ll be able to get a full transcript of the Roundtable online and in our January issue. We’ll have a few previews in this spot beforehand, though, so bookmark this blog and keep coming back.

5. Football fever %%MDASSML%% catch it: My nephew’s high school football team, Wheaton-Warrenville South, won the Illinois Class 8A state championship Saturday night, beating 10-time state champion Mt.Carmel of Chicago 44-21 to complete a 14-0 season. Any students of football might know the Tigers’ most famous alumnus %%MDASSML%% Red Grange , who played for the Tigers when it was Wheaton High School, then went on to fame at the University of Illinois and the Chicago Bears. Any old Purdue or New York Jets fans %%MDASSML%% or those still willing to admit it %%MDASSML%% may recall halfback Scott Dierking. Well, Scott’s son Danny scored two touchdowns in the final and finished his high school career with 90 touchdowns, or 15 more than Grange. Rather than bore you with more details, such as my nephew’s name -- Chris Schweighardt -- I thought I’d share with you the greatest high school football game ever played, courtesy of You Tube. The play-by-play commentary alone is worth the four minutes out of your day.

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