Reader Feedback: Machine Builders Focus on The Industry's Future Around Controls and Sustainability

June 10, 2008
A Reader Asks Us to Focus on Our Core Mission of Delivering Information Relevant to Controls Engineering

The Clouds Part

I enjoyed your piece on the bleak outlook constantly presented by the media [“Don’t Let the Media Get You Down”]. As an employee for a North American manufacturer of spandex, I’ve been waiting for our demise the past 15 years. We still find ways to be competitive, creative and profitable. It is on a slightly smaller scale, but we’re still here. Thank you for reminding us of a brighter future than that portrayed by many.

MARTY SIEBKEN, senior engineer,

Focus on Controls

Can Control Design please focus on its core mission of delivering information relevant to controls engineering? Articles on media bias and the evils of secularism just aren’t appropriate for a technical publication. There are other platforms better-suited for this purpose.

WADE PETERSON, engineer,

Follow the Green

After reading Dan Hebert’s February Machine Builder Mojo column [“Don’t Fall for Green Technology Hoax”], I believe the same thing is going on now as with the “crisis” in the ’70s. Most of the green is smoke and mirrors to make select industries a lot of money without much return. Using less energy and using what we have more wisely is the first step. But utilities and farm machinery makers don’t profit from this.

DAVE OWENS, owner,
D.E. Owens & Associates

Lean Lessons

It’s great to see companies of all types implementing lean, and many of those represented here are even deploying it in front-office areas, such as engineering [“Lean Lets Value Swim Upstream”]. Rexroth’s lean podcast series explores some of these same aspects of lean, including lean engineering and lean equipment design, with guest speaker Jamie Flinchbaugh from the Lean Learning Center.

Learning to become lean everywhere is a key to success. Even if the initial kaizen events and lean projects take place in the factory, there’s no chance of success if everyone else in the company fails to accept lean. For example, you may need investments, but if the financial managers see it as another flavor-of-the-month program, lean can be stifled instantly.

So the best approach is to start with cross-functional groups from all disciplines that will touch an early project. That way, each participant can carry the feeling of success back to their departments. And since the results are extremely tangible with lean, it’s not really a hard sell. The hard part is sustaining the momentum, which an upcoming podcast in our series will address. Congratulations to those companies represented here. It sounds as if you’re all well on your way.

Lean practitioners interested in the Rexroth lean podcasts can find the series at

Kevin Gingerich, director of marketing services,
Bosch Rexroth

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