The results are in

Well, we gave you the chance to speak your mind, and thankfully, many of you did. In August, we posted a survey on Plant Engineering Online (www.plantengineering.


Well, we gave you the chance to speak your mind, and thankfully, many of you did. In August, we posted a survey on Plant Engineering Online ( to capture your opinions about our web site and whether or not it was meeting your information needs. By the time we pulled the survey off the site, nearly 100 responses made their way to our e-mail box. That may not sound like a big number, but considering the limited promotion of the survey and the fact that we gave away nothing tangible in return --perhaps we'll wise up the next time -- the final tally exceeded expectations. Below are some insights on those responses and some candid thoughts on the meaning behind them.

What you had to say

For starters, the notion that print is here to stay was confirmed yet again. Almost half of those responding chose print as their preferred media for reading Plant Engineering content. While that result was not a jaw-dropper, the remaining responses did provide a pleasant surprise: 45% declared a preference for both print and the web. (Some simple math will tell you that very few readers wish to rely solely on the web for their information.)

The good news is that we are in the process of developing several cross-over information products and services that will use the strengths of each media, cater to those dual readers and, hopefully, entice some of the print-only readers to venture to the web.

When it comes to visit frequencies, the majority of the respondents said they check out PE Online either once a week or once a month. That's a good result, but it would be even better if it represented the amount of readers who log on to PE Online either once per week or 3-5 times per week. Changes to the site slated for the coming year should entice you to help us reach that goal. In addition, almost 30% of those responding indicated that it was their first time to PE Online. To them, we say welcome aboard.

As for preferred content, some results provided mixed feelings of success, yet regret. News and Discussions were high on the list as content favorites, and even though respondents claimed to be satisfied with the News content, we could be serving you better in both of these areas. On the not-so-surprising front, articles and product information were also heavy favorites, while our resource areas (Associations, Web Links, and Calendar) could use some fine-tuning.

Putting your voice to work

Many of the results, including your thoughts on changes to improve the site, confirmed our expectations and showed that we're heading in the right direction with some of our plans for PE Online. Some results, however, proved that we have some work to do to better meet your needs. Either way, gaining your input -- good, bad, or ugly -- is an important step in the process of developing PE Online into your preferred online information resource. So to those of who chose to speak your mind, thanks for the assist.

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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

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