Take a bow

U.S. productivity increased during the recent downturn (I hesitate to call it a recession) more than anyone anticipated. A headline in the March 18 issue of Fortune magazine announced "The productivity miracle is for real," and the article predicted that the growth in productivity "will almost certainly be a bonanza for the economy.


U.S. productivity increased during the recent downturn (I hesitate to call it a recession) more than anyone anticipated. A headline in the March 18 issue of Fortune magazine announced "The productivity miracle is for real," and the article predicted that the growth in productivity "will almost certainly be a bonanza for the economy."

Reasons for the outstanding productivity performance, the Fortune article said, were "technological advances such as the networked personal computer, huge investments by companies in all sorts of newfangled contraptions, better business practices like just-in-time inventory, and who knows what else."

In June, the U.S. Labor Department announced that productivity in the first quarter this year had grown by an annual rate of 8.4%, the biggest increase in 19 yr.

So why should plant engineers take a bow? Because it is a little-known fact outside of plant engineering circles that the plant engineering function is a huge contributor to industrial productivity.

Let's look at maintenance, for example. Machinery that doesn't run, or doesn't run properly, is a huge drain on output, and therefore, on productivity. Properly run, the plant maintenance department can save a plant tremendous sums. Good maintenance is one of the best investments a plant can make, usually returning many times the investment to the bottom line in relatively short periods. A lot of those "newfangled contraptions" the article mentions are being put to good use in predictive maintenance.

Then there's the plant engineers' involvement in design, redesign, and retrofit activities that might fall into that "who knows what else" category.

Our research shows that 97% of plant engineers are involved, either directly or indirectly, in the design of plant facilities, systems, or equipment. And I think it's a given that virtually all of that design activity is aimed at improving productivity in one way or another.

And let's not forget the better business practices, like preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance, better planning and scheduling, asset management, and energy management, to name a few.

Add it all up, and you've made one huge contribution. So, take a bow. You deserve it.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 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.
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
Welding ergonomics, 2017 Salary Survey, and surge protection
2017 Top Plant winner, Best practices, Plant Engineering at 70, Top 10 stories of 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Setting internal automation standards
Knowing how and when to use parallel generators
PID controllers, Solar-powered SCADA, Using 80 GHz radar sensors

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.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
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