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INSIDE CI: Leading the Way

January 1, 2004
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The monthly roundup from Editor Kristi Grahl.

I recently heard a news story about an individual who invented a device to make table saws safer. The saw manufacturers didn't buy it-they weren't convinced that it worked correctly or was worth the price. So the inventor has begun selling his own table saws utilizing the device, and has petitioned the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to require a similar device on all table saws. The report suggested that even if the CPSC denies the petition, table saw manufacturers will likely be forced to develop or adopt a similar safety device or risk facing huge lawsuits in the future-simply because such a device now exists on the market.

Should an entire industry be forced to change because of one new development? It might not be right, or fair, but this situation defines the essence of capitalism. Someone is always going to invent a better product, or find a better way to produce an existing product. Anyone who wants to stay in the game has to figure out how to play better than everyone else-and how to keep improving.

The ceramic industry is facing numerous similar situations as we head into 2005. Globalization is no longer just a threat; it's a way of life. Environmental regulations will continue to limit kiln emissions and restrict the use of certain materials in consumer products, and labor and energy costs are likely to continue to rise faster than prices.

We must continue to find ways to evolve and improve our businesses to stay ahead of these external pressures. We must change, or be changed; lead, or risk falling behind. We can, and often should, expend our time and resources to fight situations that are unfair or unwarranted by joining the efforts of industry associations and trade groups. But we can't let the fight distract us from our overall goals-to continually increase quality, service and productivity so that we can gain an edge in the competitive worldwide market.

Ceramic Industry can help. We're dedicated to keeping you informed of new technologies, trends and processes so that you have the information you need to make the best possible business decisions, and we continue to make changes to ensure that we're meeting your needs. For example, we've renewed our efforts to cover trends and developments in the glass industry, as evidenced by our new tagline-the exclusive global voice of ceramic & glass business and manufacturing. We'll be introducing a new column called "Success Strategies" in our February issue to provide sound advice on fundamental business practices and management skills. We'll continue to bring you targeted information through our special supplements, Pottery Production Practices and Brick & Clay Record, as well as our newest addition, Ceramic Energy. We'll also be introducing a new opportunity for manufacturers of advanced ceramic components to promote their products through our Ceramic Components Directory in May.* And of course, we always welcome your feedback on how we can improve even further.

Together, we can work to make 2005 a successful, prosperous year.

*Look for the mailing to arrive soon, or contact Ginny Reisinger at (614) 760-4220 or reisingerg@bnpmedia.com for more details.

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