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Date posted: July 20, 2010

I penned two articles on collaboration for the July issue of Automation World. For the magazine's Automation Team department, I wrote a column about how collaboration strikes a balance between opposing forces. In AW's July Technologies department, I published an article on collaboration tools.

I've covered collaboration for many years in a number of industry publications. It is one of the areas, along with supply chain management, functional safety, data center management, and enterprise software, that I continue to revisit with regularity.

Date posted: July 16, 2010

The following is a guest post by Stephen Jannise, ERP market manager for Software Advice:

Software Advice, a website with reviews of manufacturing software, recently put together a “plain English guide” to modern manufacturing methods. If you follow industry blogs, you know that articles and conversations about these concepts can be daunting, especially considering how often we use jargon, lingo, and all those three-letter acronyms. What this guide seeks to do is go back to the basics and focus on the three major goals of modern manufacturing:

  • Reduce Waste
  • Maintain Quality
  • Accelerate Production

By exploring these goals, we can take a closer look at some of the key strategies used to achieve them. For example, the desire to reduce waste ultimately led to the adoption of lean management strategies, which gave rise to ideas like Just-in-Time. For those of us involved with the industry, JIT has become a common phrase, but anyone approaching our blogs or company meetings for the first time may get left out in the cold.

As if lean manufacturing wasn’t complicated enough, other strategies have emerged in response to the constant changes in global manufacturing. Concepts like Six Sigma and flexible manufacturing, though they may be a second language to some, have a complex history and a wealth of corresponding terms that may need to be explained to newcomers in plain English.

In fact, many people aren’t even aware of how much modern manufacturing has changed since the Ford assembly line. The shift from an often wasteful and inefficient form of mass production to lean management’s emphasis on eliminating oversupply and improving production flow is both a major sea change in the industry and the first important topic to grasp when learning about manufacturing. Only by understanding the basics of lean, Six Sigma, and flexibility can you truly participate in the ongoing conversation about modern manufacturing.

Date posted: July 15, 2010

My new monthly column in Data Center Management magazine will focus on the challenges data centers face when it comes to human resources (e.g., recruiting, hiring, training, retention, professional development, etc.). To prepare my editorial calendar for 2011 issues, I’m currently seeking input from data center HR directors, data center managers, and industry experts on the latest trends and challenges related to personnel management in data centers. I will use this input to develop topics for my column. Please contact me if this is an area of expertise or if you are a PR person working for a company that has something relevant to say on this subject.

Date posted: July 9, 2010

White Papers

By Marty Weil

SAP: How Innovation in Supply Chains Create New Opportunities for Manufacturers [SAP]

Maintenance Management Software [Apriso Software]

HTML5 or Silverlight? [Syncfusion]

Quality Management System (QMS) [Camstar Systems]

Changing the Conversation in Capital Planning & Forecasting [SchoolDude.com]

Taking Energy Management to a Higher Level [Rockwell Automation]

The Transition to EN ISO 13849-1 [UL]

Smart Thinking: 12 Steps Forward to Reducing Energy Consumption at Colleges and Universities [SchoolDude.com]


Date posted:

My column on HTML5 appeared in the June issue of Automation World in the Technologies department. The article discusses how the new source code is designed for the interactive Web.