Blog! Five Fast Things for March 9, 2007

By Bob Vavra, Editor, Plant Engineering March 9, 2007

1. Asset performance and reliability: Oh, sure — it’s a great topic to TALK about. But how do you actually get to measuring and acting on asset performance? The latest white paper now available on will point the way. “The Path to Asset Performance and Reliability” from Invensys can be found by clicking here .

2. Make your voice heard on MES: Aberdeen Group research indicates that the number one internal challenge manufacturers are facing to improve manufacturing execution

Aberdeen is conducting research for an upcoming Benchmark Manufacturing Execution System report. click here .

3. Education and manufacturing: This sounds familiar: “The U.S. cannot maintain its economic leadership unless our work force consists of people who have the knowledge and skills needed to drive innovation.” That quote was from Microsoft chairman Bill Gates before a Senate committee on labor and education this week. It’s pretty much

what we said

a few months back, so it’s nice to know Bill reads our publication. You’ll read more about this message in the April Plant Engineering issue, but it is a topic worth continuing to discuss.

4. Because jobs keep disappearing: February’s employment report from ADP shows a weakening in manufacturing jobs, down 29,000 from the previous month. Not good news, but…

5. Manufacturing growth inches ahead: The latest report from the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI found production declined in the fourth quarter of 2006, but those drops were largely due to cuts in production for housing and motor vehicles. The MAPI report did find growth in production equipment categories, especially in the chemical, electrical and oil and gas industries.