Picky, picky

My wife says I'm a picky eater. She's probably right. I'll grant you I have limited tastes in food. But mainly I just like to eat what I like and not experiment much with food β€” especially when I'm paying for it in an expensive restaurant. Some people like to experiment, especially when they eat out.


My wife says I'm a picky eater. She's probably right. I'll grant you I have limited tastes in food. But mainly I just like to eat what I like and not experiment much with food β€” especially when I'm paying for it in an expensive restaurant. Some people like to experiment, especially when they eat out. I'm not one of those people.

Another thing is that there are certain foods I just don't care for. Peppers are one, and that eliminates a lot of dishes for me. These days, it seems like peppers are added to almost everything. When I'm served something with peppers in it, I pick them out. That makes me literally a picky eater.

Nonfood products are getting to be like foods these days. Software comes to mind immediately. Most of the programs I use have a lot of features I don't care for, and I wouldn't buy those features if they weren't already built in. That doesn't mean they're bad. Apparently many, if not most, people like them. Cameras are like that, too. The digital camera I bought must have 20 features on it I never use. But the cameras without those useless features didn't have very good resolution or lenses. I have the feeling lots of industrial products are moving in the same direction.

Finding products that offer just the features I want without a lot of extra stuff thrown in is about as difficult as finding the right food to order. My wife says I'm a picky shopper.

Over the years, I've fit in pretty well with the plant engineering crowd. Not because they're picky eaters. Near as I can tell, as a group, they aren't. But maybe their tendency to be picky shoppers has something to do with it.

A new study conducted for PLANT ENGINEERING by Reed Research Group, reveals some interesting information about buying practices.

For example, on average, 46% of equipment, parts, and materials purchased by plant engineers are standardized by brand. That's up from 44% in a 1997 study. And 28% of survey respondents say standardization will increase by 2007.

Brand loyalty is pretty high, too. Currently, only 14% of purchases reflect brand switching. Projections are that brand switching may increase some, but not much.

These data tend to confirm what I've believed to be the case for years. Plant engineers are careful (dare I say "picky"?) shoppers who find the right products for their applications and stick with them. They want products that do what they are designed to do extremely well. And when they find those products, they continue to specify them.

Plant managers with picky shoppers in the plant engineering department should be grateful.

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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

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