Bob Vavra, Chief Editor


Workforce Development August 1, 2005

Valuing engineering — and our readers

All too often, we get pat answers and anecdotal evidence as a response to the challenges we face on every front of manufacturing. We examine layoff numbers and study oil prices and watch global manufacturing centers emerge and wring our hands in despair. And then, every once in a while, we get some clear thinking from great minds, and we begin to see where our problems truly begin.

By Bob Vavra, Chief Editor
Energy Efficiency & Management July 1, 2005

The three overlooked words

The headlines blared in the June 8 newspapers around the country — GM to slash 25,000 jobs. The story went was that General Motors, which hemorrhaged money to the tune of $1.1 billion in losses in the first quarter of 2005, would eliminate manufacturing jobs at its U.S. plants, and would close older plants.

By Bob Vavra, Chief Editor
Power June 1, 2005

The Peters principle: Aim higher

Tom Peters is one of those management gurus paid a princely sum for stating the obvious. His books, including In Search of Excellence and The Pursuit of Wow! are great not just because they find and illuminate the best of our collective business wisdom, but because the message is so straightforward. Peters has a lot in common with PLANT ENGINEERING.

By Bob Vavra, Chief Editor
Sustainability May 1, 2005

Energizing an industry

The economic theory of supply and demand developed by Alfred Marshall suggests that prices increase in response to tight supplies and increasing demand. Marshall died in 1924, so he missed two of the better examples of his theory at work — Prohibition, and today's energy supply crisis. It is the latter event that drives many managers to the point where they are at least grateful the forme...

By Bob Vavra, Chief Editor
Safety Standards May 1, 2005

Finding the power to change

Energy has never been a problem for James Knott Sr. He built Riverdale Mills Corporation, a Massachusetts manufacturer of steel-welded wire mesh for everything from security fences to lobster traps, by devoting his energy to finding better ways to use energy in the manufacturing process. When Knott bought an abandoned mill on the Blackstone River, he restored an equally abandoned 1901 hydropow...

By Bob Vavra, Chief Editor
Sustainability April 1, 2005

Why isn’t everyone doing it?

So I'm at National Manufacturing Week, and I'm moderating the live Webcast PLANT ENGINEERING did that was sponsored by Kaman Industrial Technologies in conjunction with Rockwell Automation on the advantages of setting up a motor management program. In the course of our discussion (which you can now see on our Webcast archive at www.

By Bob Vavra, Chief Editor
Workforce Development March 10, 2005

Two rules of rebounding

Depending on who you talk to, the state of American manufacturing is either robust or just a bust. The numbers are all over the board. Manufacturing production was up 5.1% in 2004, and has been on a steady rising since the third quarter of 2003. Orders for durable good, which spiked in the first quarter of 2004 then plunged, have made another steady climb and are up 9.

By Bob Vavra, Chief Editor
IIoT, Industrie 4.0 February 10, 2005

Succession, and success

Thomas Jefferson came to France in 1785 to take over as ambassador from Benjamin Franklin. No minor statesman himself, Jefferson knew Franklin's reputation with the French when he assumed his new duties. At a reception, the French Foreign Minister asked Jefferson, "It is you who replace Dr. Franklin?" "No one can replace him, Sir," Jefferson replied.

By Bob Vavra, Chief Editor