Expect to win

It's easy to make plans that appear to validate that what we do is well-conceived, but unless those actions are measured, tested and challenged, they usually have little value and can end up in a drawer.

Joe FeeleyBy Joe Feeley, Editor in Chief

HERE AT the ol’ publishing company, we’re in the middle of biennial brand audits of our magazines and web sites. That means we make time to thoroughly review and validate the reasons we exist, as well as the strategies and tactics that we conclude are best-suited to provide magazine reader and website visitor satisfaction today and tomorrow.

Ugh, you say.

Well, it is a lot of work. This is a project for which, as the old joke goes, the first half of it takes 90% of the time, and the second half takes the other 90%.

It’s easy to make a few plans that appear to validate that what we do is well-conceived, well-executed, and darn near flawless in scope. The trouble is, as we all know, that unless those actions are measured, tested and, most importantly, challenged, they usually have little value and end up in a drawer.

We put our strategy and tactics through our internal crucible because, as an information provider in an environment where the means of delivery are rapidly evolving—and where competition is fierce—we have to be sure that what we cover—and how we deliver it—genuinely helps you to solve today’s problems today and be ready for tomorrow’s.

Within that competition, I have no misgivings about saying that I want to win. I want Control Design to be the brand, either our magazine or web site—hopefully both—that you think of first when you start to look for information that will lead you to the best controls and automation solution.

That’s why we hit you up from time to time to tell us what you think about the information we provide. It’s why we need to know what you think about the value and usefulness of webcasts, podcasts, blogs, e-newletters, and other types of digital delivery.

You can’t be comfortable that your automation strategies are sound without getting feedback from current and future customers. Likewise, we base much of our actions on whatever we can get you to tell us. So, as always, talk to us.

Competition and wanting to win also is the focus of this month’s cover story about how U.S. machine builders can use automation to compete with overseas competitors (See "You Can Compete on a Global Scale").

Here’s a shocker: there’s no magic bullet that assures success in machine sales—or publishing. But we’ve found a story that makes a reasonable case—with good evidence—for saying that U.S. machine builders are competing well in global markets.

I suspect you’ll see what I saw in this story, which seems to distill down to two action items for machine builders. How does a company get a handle on the standards and regulations it faces in overseas markets? And, how does it support an installed base of machines that sits thousands of miles away?

The article provides examples of companies that aren’t afraid to see what they can do to be successful in those challenging tasks. If you know your market and its needs, and bust your buns to meet those needs, I think you can, as the headline says, “expect” good things to happen.

Finally, I can’t resist a plug to read Jeremy’s “Embedded Intelligence” column (See "Automation Road Trip"). Some of you know how much I like our AutomationXchange model because of its near-fanatical objective to ensure value to the machine controls professionals who attend. I didn’t know Jeremy was writing about it until he filed the story. He recounted his role in our recent AutomationXchange event with a grounded, unvarnished report on what he and the attending machine builders got out of it. It’s worth a read.

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