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Business & Management

Going Lean: ‘A Million Little Changes’

ross controls ceo john smithThis is the first in a three-part series of articles based on insights provided by speakers at VMA’s 2011 Manufacturing Workshop & Tour, held May 4-6 in Atlanta.

People in manufacturing often talk about lean “as if it is a program—something we ought to be doing” simply to eliminate waste, John Smith, president and CEO of Ross Controls, told the audience at the 2011 Manufacturing Workshop. Smith (pictured) spoke following a tour by attendees of the Ross Controls’ facility in nearby Lavonia, GA. He said “lean” is not finding new tools within the company; rather, “it’s the culture of the company that drives lean,” he said.


Opportunities in Latin America

vittorThe spring 2011 edition of Valve Magazine contained a short article about international expert José Luis Vittor. Here’s a longer version of that article, in which Vittor discusses business conditions in Latin America and advises where the most fruitful opportunities exist.

At almost any event that executives with global interests have attended in the last couple of years, one of the hot topics of discussion has been Latin America. Such was the case at a VMA leadership meeting held earlier in 2011 when international expert José Luis Vittor took the podium to explain opportunities in that area of the world to attendees.

Cyber War: Are Your Defenses Sufficient?

trojan horseThe precipitating event in the 1986 Tom Clancy novel Red Storm Rising is a massive fire in a Soviet petroleum installation caused by an infiltrator in the control room. But that attack could be done from thousands of miles away, without a person on site — and in fact there have been persistent reports that a “logic bomb” planted by the CIA in supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software subsequently stolen by the KGB caused a massive explosion at a pipeline in Siberia in 1982. And there is increasing evidence that attacks aimed at industrial and civil infrastructure in countries around the world are no longer a remote possibility, but a serious real-world threat.

Emerson Event Reflects Company’s Optimistic Outlook

john berraThings are looking up for Emerson Process Management—and for industry in general—if you judge by attendance at this year’s Emerson Global Users Exchange, held Sept. 27 to Oct. 1 in San Antonio: Nearly 2,300 people attended, up from last year’s 1,800. Emerson’s business is also up, said Steve Sonnenberg, executive vice president, Emerson, and business leader, Emerson Process Management, during his keynote address, and the worst of the recession seems to be in the past. The company increased R&D spending by 4% in 2009 and is increasing by a further 10% in 2010. It has also made several purchases over the past year or so, including the October 2009 acquisition of actuator maker EIM Controls. Emerson is continuing its push for more localization, adding service centers around the world—including the May opening of the $30 million Emerson Innovation Center - Fisher Technology in Marshalltown, IA.


Opportunities Abound for Doing Business in Brazil

Brazil holds a tremendous amount of opportunity for manufacturers and vendors today, as it is one of the easiest of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) in which to conduct business, according to Jerry Owen, president of Intrix Americas LLC.


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