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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

A Lesson From Baseball's All-Stars

July 15, 2009 9:15 am | by by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO

As a baseball fan, All-Star week is typically a mediocre point in the season for me: My team—the Milwaukee Brewers—doesn’t play for three days, our best talent risks injury in an ancillary ball game, and the American League always wins, this year being no exception.

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There. I Fixed It.

July 1, 2009 12:21 pm | by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO

I have a good friend who works for a large, reputable technology consulting company and we were speaking recently on some of the things his employer was testing in the technology realm. A couple of these upcoming advancements gave me visions of The Jetsons , while others—like a software program that automatically transcribes your voicemails into emails—seem a bit over the top.

Potato Salad & Algae

July 1, 2009 11:40 am | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director, Chem.Info

One of the things I look forward to the most about the pending Fourth of July festivities is the wonderful combination of my dad’s grilled brats and my mom’s potato salad. This perfect storm of smells and flavors, washed down by a couple of cold well-brewed beverages, seems to relax me to a point in which I can actually feel any extra burden drop from my shoulders.

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Coffee Crisis: 2009

June 24, 2009 12:03 pm | by David Mantey, Editor, PD&D

I’m writing from the heart of a brewing crisis in office parks around the nation and, quite possibly, around the world. In cube farms everywhere, production has been brought to a stand still because amateur office baristas are not heeding the Rules for Brewing posted above the Bloomfield Koffee King and making coffee two to three times stronger than the recommended dose.

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Price Cuts You Can Do Without

June 18, 2009 8:24 am

Establishing the loyalty of your customers can be accomplished using many tactics—and I’ve seen a few very blatant attempts in the past week by way of financial incentives. But it seems not all cash breaks are sure fire ways to keep folks coming back: Apple recently announced a major reduction in price point on some of its more popular electronic items, including its older model 3G iPhones, to make way for the new model 3GS.

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Assessing The Trade-In Value Of Our Small Businesses

June 4, 2009 9:06 am | by by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director, IMPO

It’s rare that I’ll offer my condolences to the politically tunnel-visioned, but I feel obligated to do so for Dianne Feinstein, a democratic senator from California. Senator Feinstein, who authored the original Cash for Clunkers bill, has seen her solution for controlling auto emissions transition into another plot to help those who simply refused to help themselves.

Betting On An Economic Recovery

June 4, 2009 8:53 am | by by Luke Simpson, Associate Editor, IMPO

Back home in Australia, I religiously listened to Mornings with Ross & John , a breakfast radio show that used news as a backdrop for discussions about social phenomena, crime and sports. They tracked a number of recurring topics, such as: The evolution of the spelling of names — Khloei (Chloe), De’mon (Damon) Football players behaving badly — who was at the local strip club associating with the Hell’s Angels and known drug dealers? Habits of politicians — Obama’s thin frame was surely a sign that he still smoked.

Stimulus I Can Believe In

May 21, 2009 11:56 am | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director, Chem.Info

President Obama recently announced at the National Academy of Sciences’ annual meeting that he planned to allocate 3 percent of the gross domestic product to research and development. This represents the largest commitment to scientific research in U.S. history, and in more real-world terms, a better than $400 billion investment.

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Leaving Little GTO In The Past

May 20, 2009 9:42 am | by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO

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Your Pay Just Dropped 11 Percent

May 14, 2009 6:51 am | by by Luke Simpson, Associate Editor, IMPO

I like statistics that back up what I already know. The ones that let you say, “See, I told you we were in a recession,” or “Only 12 year-old kids are on MySpace.” Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics released figures showing changes in productivity and labor costs during the first quarter of 2009.

Guy Catches 13-Foot Shark

May 7, 2009 6:53 am | by by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO

We’ve had plenty of debates over swine flu in the office over the past week—mostly spurred by the sudden cropping up of alcohol-based hand sanitizer bottles throughout our workspace. The whole floor smells like a distillery. “Apparently there is some virus going around,” we joke as we slather this slick substance onto our hands.

Continuous Improvement Drives Index Performance

May 7, 2009 5:54 am | by by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director, IMPO

As anyone who has ever been associated with Lean or Six Sigma methodologies will tell you, the key to greater efficiencies is not just changing or correcting poor approaches, but striving for continuous improvement in all facets of an operation or function. It’s an on-going fundamental that is never ending.

Feeling The Recession Depression?

April 24, 2009 5:35 am | by by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO

In Wisconsin, the months of March and April aren’t necessarily spring. Some years we have dream-like spring days; ones where you get to use that word “unseasonably” as a precursor to describe the temperatures. This year, we’ve been using words like “gloom,” “wet,” and—my favorite—“severe.

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The Motivation For Innovation

April 22, 2009 12:51 pm | by by Luke Simpson, Associate Editor, IMPO

In an economic climate that demands efficiency and responsible spending, long term research and development (R&D) projects with no return-on-investment in sight can be a hard pitch. There is, however, evidence indicating that investing during a down economy pays off. SHOW ME THE MONEY According to a survey conducted by the Industrial Research Institute (ISI), R&D spending in the U.

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

April 22, 2009 12:20 pm | by by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO

My parents and their friends came of age in the 1960s, so growing up we were privy to stories about that turbulent decade. I learned what a protest was at a young age as my parents described to me the active response people took to events like The Vietnam War and The French Student Revolution of 1968.

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Can You Spot the Gimmick in the Room?

April 9, 2009 8:50 am | by by David Mantley, Editor, PD&D

The scary part about AIG, the Big 3, and similar types of broad media coverage into executive scandals, is the potential affect on manufacturing leaders—particularly, those who are afraid of being viewed as “bad” managers, but don’t necessarily know how to be good ones.

Want to be "The Fall Guy?" Here's How

April 9, 2009 8:13 am | by by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO

Once upon a time, I associated AIG with the comforting voice of the narrator and the clean white lines and blue shading in its advertisements. The name elicited nothing more in me than does any other large American financial and insurance institution—a delicate balance of protection and profit.

Smaller Steps To The Green Goal

April 2, 2009 9:13 am | by by Anna Wells, Editor, IMPO

I recently had the opportunity to visit a distillery just outside of Kansas City that would tout its efforts as something of a success story. McCormick Vodka of Weston, MO thrust onto the market 18 months ago, a product you might term the world’s most eco-friendly vodka—made with energy efficient distillation equipment, the bottle is 85 percent recycled glass, with a reusable stopper.

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Efficiency Efforts, In the Billions

April 2, 2009 8:18 am | by by Carrie Ellis, Editor, Chem.Info

"The billions of federal dollars about to be spent are going to be the biggest government infrastructure investment since the interstate highway system was launched in the 1950s." This statement from a now slightly outdated blog post refers to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (that went into effect on February 17), which promises to bolster just the renewable energy sector with more than $43 billion— And this sliver of stimulus dessert doesn’t even compare to its overall spending.

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Be The Biggest Winner

March 26, 2009 6:25 am

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