Blog for November 28: Five Fast things:


1.Live from Orlando, it’s Power Gen: It was a busy first day on the show floor at PowerGen in the heart of the Sunshine State. Tomorrow I’ll have the first look at Plant Engineering’s exclusive Roundtable discussion on Power Quality at the show. Look (and listen) to some of the details tomorrow.

2. That’s the correct site for Mark Graban’s blog on all things Lean in manufacturing. Head over to that blog site, especially his post today on “ Assembly Line Medicine .” He makes a good point about manufacturing image.

3. We’re asking for a lot: If you’re a regular reader of Plant Engineering who has an email address, we’ve been asking a lot of you lately. We have sent you this year’s Product of the Year email ballot and now you’ve gotten our 2006 Salary Survey. Both of these are important missives, and I promise we won’t send anything else until at least Valentine’s Day. The Salary Survey, which will be the topic of our January cover, will take a look at salaries from every angle. To take a look at last year’s survey, click here .

4. Cat news: One of the items out of Power Gen so far is the opening of Caterpillar’s Newberry, SC facility to manufacture Cat diesel generator sets in the 10-200 kW range. Cat says its goal is “provide improved availability and lead times for this power range to customers in North America.”

Here’s the good news: The smaller generators produced at Newberry are driven from increased demand in North America, so it makes sense that the supply is created in North America.

“By producing smaller generator sets at the Newberry plant, Caterpillar is now better positioned to quickly respond to customer demand for electric power in North America,” said William J. Rohner, vice president of Caterpillar Electric Power Division.

Manufacturing will grow when everyone realizes that production issues aren’t always driven by low labor costs. Caterpillar knows %%MDASSML%% and so do a lot of manufacturers %%MDASSML%% that growth in manufacturing in the U.S. can be driven by supply chain optimization and making products closer to the people who need them.

We need more success stories such as Caterpillar in Newberry, SC. Got any you’d like to share? Send them this way . You can also look for more success stories in the December issue of Plant Engineering.

5. Continuous improvement for continuous improvement: ARC Advisory Group does a great job keeping its finger on the pulse of manufacturing issues. They are the leaders on the issue of MES and this month took a look at the continuous improvement market in their latest e-magazine. One of the things driving the explosive growth in this market is the emphasis on Lean, Six Sigma and other quality and safety improvement strategies. ARC makes that point quite convincingly. If you aren’t moved by the economics, at least take a look at the issue of continuous improvement. Like supply chain optimization, it’s a concept that is worth implementing everywhere.

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