World Batch Forum 2004: Speak business language to sell projects to business, keynoter tells attendees

Speak the language of business, not of technology, when communicating with business managers! That, in a nutshell, was the message of E.L. (Skip) Holmes, associate director, The Procter & Gamble Co., to World Batch Forum attendees in Chicago this week.

By Control Engineering Staff May 20, 2004

Speak the language of business, not of technology, when communicating with business managers! That, in a nutshell, was the message of E.L. (Skip) Holmes, associate director, The Procter & Gamble Co ., to World Batch Forum attendees in Chicago this week. Holmes gave the opening day keynote address, ”Lessons from the Tower of Babel,” stressing the need to ”learn the language of the customer or the consumer of our products,” if projects are to succeed.

Many customers of batch process technology ”need to buy into our projects, but don’t speak our language,” said Holmes. Stay close to the problem whatever it may be, he noted, warning attendees that they can’t expect other people to understand the technical aspects of their work. Be ready to respond to the statement, ”SO WHAT,” he said. Learn the language of business and finance in your company, he continued.

Holmes praised batch process engineering for ”making a difference” today, pointing out that costs are going down as productivity is going up. Projects are more robust, more flexible, and reaching start up faster than ever, he observed. He told attendees that they can make an even-bigger difference and be recognized for the business impact they make to their companies. ”To successfully communicate your message, to gain buy-in for your projects, and to receive credit for your wonderful contributions, you must speak the language of business when engaging your business managers, not ‘Geek Speak’ or‘Babel,”’ he concluded.

Holmes’ talk was one of several at the Forum emphasizing the human aspects of batch process engineering. Nearly 150 manufacturing professionals met to discuss problems and solutions common to batch industries at the event, held May 16-19, in Chicago.

In other WBF news, the organization welcomed three new corporate sponsors and elected a new slate of officers for the coming year. New members include ATR Systems Inc ., Elau Inc ., and Saflink Corp . The additions bring the number of corporate sponsors to nearly two dozen. ATR Systems of Cambridge, Ontario, provides automation and information systems integration solutions to companies that use batch manufacturing techniques. Elau, Schaumburg, IL, provides servo-based automation systems for processing machinery. Saflink, Bellevue, WA, is a software solutions provider.

Newly elected WBF officers include: Chairman—Maurice Wilkins, Millennium Specialty Chemicals ; Vice Chairman—Jim McKenna, Firmenich ; Secretary—Rodger Jeffrey, Mettler-Toledo ; Treasurer—Lynn Craig, Manufacturing Automation Associates; Parliamentarian—Dave Chappell, Protect & Gamble ; and Trustee—Harry Gianakis, DuPont .

Watch for more coverage of the World Batch Forum 2004 conference in Control Engineering ’s ”Process Control Monthly” e-newsletter in June.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jeanine Katzel, Senior Editor
jkatzel@reedbusiness.com