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No matter what I’m reading, my favorite articles are always those that focus on someone else’s opinion. Letters to the editor, opinion editorials, interviews with individuals—all of these get my intellectual juices flowing. I might not necessarily agree with those opinions, but I almost always come away with new insights about the topic being discussed, or a new perspective to ponder.
That’s why I was so thrilled to receive two letters this month addressing “fair trade,” a topic discussed in our August issue (see “Letters to the Editor”). Almost everyone in this industry has a definitive opinion on this hot topic—visit an industry meeting or trade show, and you’re sure to get an earful. But the ceramic industry is notoriously quiet when it comes to expressing opinions in writing. Very rarely do I receive a fax or e-mail responding to information published in Ceramic Industry, and our online bulletin board, which was established several years ago to give the industry a platform for discussion, remains almost empty.
Chances are, you’re reading this issue on your lunch break or on an airplane and have little time to engage in a written debate on industry topics. In today’s climate of increasingly higher productivity with a constantly shrinking workforce, no one has time to think, much less write letters to magazines. But the written word is a powerful tool for inciting change. Whether it’s solving a simple problem, such as increasing energy efficiency, or bringing individuals together on complex economic issues such as global trade, publications such as Ceramic Industry can help you refine your own opinions and make more informed decisions that can help your company—and our industry—succeed.
Each issue of Ceramic Industry contains information and opinions on a range of topics—from how to ensure the integrity of thermal barrier coatings ("Creating an Effective Barrier" feature) to what type of equipment to use for reactive sputtering ("Successful Large-Area Sputtering" feature) to why robots are gaining popularity in the brick industry ("A Robotic Vision"). Many of our articles also contain interviews that provide insight into particular segments of our industry. For example, “Inside the Raw Materials Industry” offers the opinions of several clay and mineral suppliers on current industry trends and challenges. You might not agree with some or even any of these ideas—but I hope they will at least provide some food for thought.
And if you happen to have a few spare moments in front of a computer or fax machine, consider sharing your opinions with other Ceramic Industry readers. Our online bulletin board (located at www.ceramicindustry.com—click on “Bulletin Board” in the blue menu bar) is always open, and I would love to be able to include more “Letters” in future issues. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (248) 366-2504 (fax). I look forward to hearing from you!