A trite-and-true method

At the risk of being trite (which in itself is a trite phrase) there are no losers in the annual PLANT ENGINEERING Product of the Year voting that begins this month. There are only great ideas waiting to be discovered. Sure, everyone likes to get the trophy, and those companies who have earned Product of the Year status in past years value their prize.
By Bob Vavra, Editor November 1, 2005

At the risk of being trite (which in itself is a trite phrase) there are no losers in the annual PLANT ENGINEERING Product of the Year voting that begins this month. There are only great ideas waiting to be discovered. Sure, everyone likes to get the trophy, and those companies who have earned Product of the Year status in past years value their prize. The real prize, though, is the increased productivity that will come from effectively using these new products. The 16 category winners are recognized by manufacturers everywhere as having come up with something pretty great.

We’re happy to showcase these great ideas every November. We hope you take a close look at the 150 nominees this month and select those new products worthy of this award. More than that, though, we hope you USE these products.

This is not a beauty contest. This is a chance to analyze your productivity against the newest ideas in the marketplace that can improve that productivity. This is a chance to find solutions to the problems that have plagued your plant floor. This is a chance to find that tool that helps you manage your information, improve your maintenance and increase your safety. At a time when information management, maintenance and safety are three of the most crucial issues on the plant floor, this issue of PLANT ENGINEERING is a great research tool to help you improve in all these areas.

What the Product of the Year process reminds us is that innovation isn’t just about a solution created out of inspiration alone. What this year’s finalists demonstrate is that innovation is about understanding your customer and solving his problem. While some organizations cut back on research and development, the true leaders in our industry are out there building the next great idea.

The best research, of course, is that close-to-the-ground relationship with customers. Manufacturing innovation is the daily effort to see how customers can improve their bottom line. Earning Product of the Year status is an affirmation of a victory already won – a satisfied customer.

The suppliers who have passed muster with our distinguished panel of judges and made the cut to the final 150 are all looking to win the award. None created these innovations to win the award, though. They listened to you, their customers, and went about solving a problem or improving on an existing technology. The results are here for you to explore this month.

Vote. We value your feedback. The real value in this year’s Product of the Year voting is to look at all 150 great ideas and find out how to incorporate them on your plant floor.

That will make everyone a winner. That may also be trite, but it’s true.