Last updateFri, 15 Jan 2021 5pm

Business & Management

What Makes a Company Best in Class?

operating_excellenceJust about everyone is familiar with the term Operational Excellence (OpX), but what exactly is it and how can it be achieved? One straightforward definition comes from an article by Michelle Adkins, in Chemical Engineering for March 2 007, "Operational Excellence Begins Here:" "[O]perational excellence is a holistic approach to integrating operations management methodologies in order to optimize people, assets, and processes." There are OpX approaches to everything from process improvement to supply chain management, but we're going to talk about the use of information from all sources to make improve efficiency in process plants.

The major elements of operational excellence include:

  • Six Sigma and its elements VOC (Voice of the Customer), DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control ) and DOE (Design of Experiments);
  • Lean, with its elements 5 S (the Japanese concept of housekeeping) and value stream mapping;
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs);
  • Footprint Rationalization;
  • Premier Resource Management.


Plenty to See and Hear at Emerson User Exchange

sonnenbergOn September 28 more than 1,600 of Emerson Process Management’s customers, local business partners and company people gathered in Orlando for the company’s annual five-day Global Users Exchange. Attendance was down quite a bit from the previous year’s 2,500 plus, but considering the state of the economy it was still a decent turnout. As in past years the event featured an extensive papers program and a display of products from Emerson and its partners. In addition Emerson generally uses the Exchange as an opportunity to make important announcements, and this year was no exception.

Vary Management Style to Meet the Needs of Different Age Groups

old_and_young_workersThe theme of the 2009 Valve Industry Leadership Forum was “The Changing Workplace and the Workers Within,” and in keeping with that theme was a presentation by Marilyn Moats Kennedy, founder and managing partner of management consulting firm Career Strategies (Wilmette, IL). Ms. Kennedy’s presentation, entitled “Managing Change: Understanding the Demographics of the Evolving Workplace,” explored how differences in outlooks and attitudes among the different generations —from “Pre-Boomers” to “Netsters” — can affect the effectiveness of management.

How Safe Are We, Really?

chemical tankThe recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai should serve as a reminder that we are all under threat; a threat made more real, perhaps, by the recent report of a blue-ribbon commission to Congress that a devastating terror attack using biological or nuclear weapons is likely somewhere in the world within the next five years. While we in industry can’t do much to prevent someone from setting off an anthrax bomb in the New York subway system, such warnings can act as a reminder to get our own acts together.

First Lean & Green Summit Helps Advance Industrial Efficiencies and Sustainability

green_lightbulb.jpgFor what some people are saying is the first time, “greens”—persons interested in greater movement to sustainable resources—and “leans”—those interested in manufacturing improvements—are making a point of talking together and sharing ideas. In mid July, 110 greens and leans gathered in Boulder, CO, for the first Lean & Green Summit.

Dwayne Butcher, who helped organize the conference, said there were a number of take-away points. One was that most of the participants thought the discussions were worthwhile and that the leans and the greens should continue talking with one another, to formalize their dialog into some sort of consortium. Another was that they should organize kaizen events [based on Toyota’s rapid improvement practices] attempting to advance both industrial efficiencies and sustainable technologies at the same time. A third was to work out ways of developing performance measures for environmental improvement.

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