Sustainability, data management, workforce development on the agenda

Returning to the site of last year’s successful inaugural event, the 2008 PLANT ENGINEERING Manufacturing Summit opens with lead sponsor IBM March 31 and continues through April 1, 2008, at the Hotel Sofitel in Chicago. “We are obviously thrilled to continue our relationship with IBM,” said PLANT ENGINEERING publisher Jim Langhenry.

By Plant Engineering Staff December 15, 2007

Returning to the site of last year’s successful inaugural event, the 2008 PLANT ENGINEERING Manufacturing Summit opens with lead sponsor IBM March 31 and continues through April 1, 2008, at the Hotel Sofitel in Chicago.

“We are obviously thrilled to continue our relationship with IBM,” said PLANT ENGINEERING publisher Jim Langhenry. “IBM helped develop our successful study, ‘The Changing Role of the Plant Engineer,’ and the insight from that study helped us develop the content for this year’s Summit.”

The Changing Role study appears in full for the first time in this month’s issue of the magazine, and more data will be available online. Three major themes that emerged from the study will be reported on at the 2008 Summit. They include:

  • Energy and sustainability: “The idea of conserving energy has been discussed for a long time, but the concept of preserving energy is a relatively new one,” said PLANT ENGINEERING editor Bob Vavra. “Our readers told us in the study about the importance of creating not just an energy-efficient plant, but also one that is focused on leaving a smaller environmental footprint. One session at the Manufacturing Summit will focus on sustainability as both a successful social and business strategy that doesn’t have to sacrifice one goal for the other.”

  • The next generation of manufacturing workers: “After energy and budget issues, the biggest concern for plant managers is finding, training and retaining skilled manufacturing workers,” said Vavra. “Our readers know they have to recruit harder and smarter these days to meet the convergence of two key trends: the retirement of an aging workforce that will take experience along with them, and the ability to attract skilled plant personnel to successfully operate today’s high-tech manufacturing plant. Another Summit session will focus on this aging workforce and discuss ways to bring new workers into manufacturing.”

  • Turning data into action: “Today’s highly automated manufacturing plants give plant managers all the data they could ever want. They also get data they don’t need,” said Vavra. “Finding the right data, and acting on it to bring about changes in energy consumption, productivity, safety and maintenance performance is a major challenge. We’ll use one session at the Manufacturing Summit to look at how data is collected, and supply some strategies on how that data can be turned into action.”

    • In its 20th year, PLANT ENGINEERING’S Product of the Year awards will be presented at a gala dinner on March 31, and the recognition continues with an award breakfast event April 1, where the 2007 Top Plant awards will be presented.

      Registration for the 2008 Manufacturing Summit is now open.