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.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
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.
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
Welding ergonomics, 2017 Salary Survey, and surge protection
2017 Top Plant winner, Best practices, Plant Engineering at 70, Top 10 stories of 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Setting internal automation standards
Knowing how and when to use parallel generators
PID controllers, Solar-powered SCADA, Using 80 GHz radar sensors

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
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This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
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