Excellence in common

This issue is devoted to the first plants to be recognized in our PLANT ENGINEERING Top Plants program — Hewlett Packard Caribe BV and S&C Electric John R. Conrad Industrial Complex. These two plants are very different. HP makes electronic products on the micro level. S&C makes high-voltage electrical equipment on the macro level.
By Richard L. Dunn, Chief Editor December 10, 2004

This issue is devoted to the first plants to be recognized in our PLANT ENGINEERING Top Plants program — Hewlett Packard Caribe BV and S&C Electric John R. Conrad Industrial Complex.

These two plants are very different. HP makes electronic products on the micro level. S&C makes high-voltage electrical equipment on the macro level. Their organizations are different. One has to worry about hurricanes, the other must deal with snow removal. One is in a publicly traded company, the other is privately owned. One has added 1000 employees over the past few years, the other has added hardly any.

Our articles about these plants are different, too. One emphasizes the plant itself and the responsibilities and accomplishments of the plant engineering department. The other concentrates on the philosophy and organization that make plant engineering a full partner in the business.

But in the end, it’s the similarities, not the differences, that are really important.

As we began to evaluate the entries in our first-ever Top Plants Recognition Program, we wondered if there would be problems created by the differences in the plants that entered. Would we be faced with trying to compare apples and oranges? But we quickly discovered the task was not really that difficult.

Here are some of the broad factors that helped us identify this year’s Top Plants:

  • The goals of the plant engineering function are clearly an extension of the goals of the plant or the corporation. In a Top Plant, everyone is focused on how they can contribute to the plant’s success — from wall to wall, from floor to ceiling. This dedication is reflected in the results achieved.

  • The traditional divides between production functions and support functions have been eliminated. There is overwhelming evidence of teamwork and cooperation.

  • The basic responsibilities of the plant engineering function are broad and seen as critical to plant success. They encompass energy management, facilities, maintenance, utilities, project management, capital improvement, and engineering and systems support to production to name a few.

  • Concern for employees, their safety, development, and success is evident. Training has a priority. Safety records are outstanding.

  • The plant engineering function is resourceful and creative. Top Plants can point to challenges met, hurdles overcome, and ideas implemented.

  • Progress has been consistent and is well documented.

    • The purpose of the PLANT ENGINEERING Top Plants Recognition Program is to identify leading examples of the essential role of good plant engineering in achieving a plant’s business proposition. We believe this year’s winners fulfill that, and we are proud to submit them for your review.