Now there are two

For much of my career, I didn't put much stock in awards — especially not journalistic awards. Most awards programs, I argued, were more about impressing a small group of judges than about doing your job, day in and day out, in an exemplary manner. For example, I've seen journalists win awards for articles that were of little or no interest to their readers.


For much of my career, I didn't put much stock in awards — especially not journalistic awards. Most awards programs, I argued, were more about impressing a small group of judges than about doing your job, day in and day out, in an exemplary manner. For example, I've seen journalists win awards for articles that were of little or no interest to their readers. At the same time, I've seen many excellent, important articles go unrecognized, because the judges didn't understand the information they were judging. As a result, I was negative on even entering most awards programs.

Then, in 1989, A.T. Kearney management consultants approached us about building an awards program that would encourage excellence in industrial maintenance. The partnership of Kearney and PLANT ENGINEERING, with the help of some really knowledgeable maintenance professionals, resulted in the North American Maintenance Excellence Awards — the NAME Awards, as they are better known. A few years ago, Kearney dropped its support, and the program directors formed the independent Foundation for Industrial Maintenance Excellence to administer the awards.

My experience with the NAME Awards taught me that good awards programs are not really about winning plaques or trophies, although those are fine. Good programs are about honoring and encouraging those who travel the path to excellence.

I've changed my mind about entering awards programs for two reasons. First, the mere act of entering provides a strong boost to your employees by telling them that you think their work is important and worthy. When you say, "We won't enter, because we probably won't win," you're sending a negative message about how you evaluate their work.

Second, striving for an award can be an important educational and motivational tool — especially if the award program provides feedback on the strengths or weaknesses of your entry. Unfortunately, few programs do. Even so, by using an award as a carrot, many workers will be motivated to offer just a little more effort than they might otherwise. In the striving, they learn.

With those benefits in mind, PLANT ENGINEERING magazine has developed the PLANT ENGINEERING Top Plants recognition program. In building this program, we have borrowed from the NAME Awards, the Shingo Prize, the Baldrige Awards, and other programs to recognize the plant engineering function and the contribution it makes to excellence in industrial operations. Each year, we will not only honor plants that have achieved an exemplary level of performance, but we will also provide all entrants with feedback they can use in their efforts to improve. In that respect, every entrant is a winner.

So now there are two programs to help you on the path to excellence. For more on the Top Plants program, see the information on p 37 in this issue. Then visit to find details and entry forms for both the NAME Awards and the PLANT ENGINEERING Top Plants recognition.

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
June 2018
2018 Lubrication Guide, Motor and maintenance management, Control system migration
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
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