Don’t Make Us Do This Without You

It's already 2008, right? You've been planning next year's revenue goals and critical improvement projects for a few months now. Same here. Give me a minute to highlight a few of our '08 cover stories, so you can plan how you might want to contribute your thoughts. Note I said 'how,' not 'if'......that's a hint.....no, actually that's a plea for help.....but I refuse to beg...........at least not yet..... We're already underway with a January article that will look at how you deal with customer expectations, particularly when your ideas about machine controls don't line up with those of the customer. We want to pass along tips from those of you who've had some success there. For February, we'll assemble your thoughts on the best way to build a controls engineer. Tell us what you need the engineering and technical schools to do better. Let us know what the first few years on the job should involve. What ongoing training is vital in order to have a seasoned employee with the right skill sets? Some of you are telling us that "lean" manufacturing is the lynch pin of your company's operating approach now. In March, we want to explore how that's helping you reduce costs and stay at the forefront of machine technology. Later in the year we want to test two machine automation design models. One is the "modular" build. Are you no longer building a self-contained machine, but now building roll-in/roll-out sub-assemblies that make your machines more flexible and easier to change over? How does the machine automation support that? The other model is the "commodity" build. Have so many machine automation components become available via catalog or online with enough openness that you really can fill your shopping cart and build a complete machine control system that way? We'll also produce extensive coverage focused on machine safety, virtual design and prototyping, and ever-changing global competition challenges. We need you in the conversation. You only have to get in touch.