The monthly roundup from Editor-in-Chief Susan Sutton.
One of my three dogs has a double coat-shorter, thick
hair beneath a fairly long top coat. She pants incessantly, even when it's not
terribly warm, and it used to pain me to think about how hot she must be.
Thinking a trim would do her good, I recently took her to the groomer, who
assured me that taking her hair down to a uniform 1-in. length would help her
feel much better.
When I went back to pick her up, however, I didn't even
recognize her. Somehow, signals had gotten crossed at the groomer and they'd
shorn her, very much like a sheep. She felt, well, precisely like felt. My
daughter was in tears, and my other two dogs treated her like a total stranger.
My mother tried to chase her out of the house, thinking she was a stray that
had somehow snuck in.
After an hour or two of relative embarrassment-she was
clearly not interested in being the center of so much hysteria-my previously
fluffy pet settled in as a short-haired dog and I got to thinking of the
importance of flexibility. No matter how carefully we might plan or what
results we have every right to expect, sometimes things just go plain wrong.
When disappointing situations sneak up on us, how do we
react? Do we freak out, freeze up and let them get the better of us? Or do we
take a moment, get a grip and look for a solution? Flexibility can truly make
or break us.
Our August issue is devoted to modern manufacturing,
where flexibility certainly is key and innovative equipment can be a
life-saver. For example, a new inspection instrument evaluates both roughness
and roundness to improve product quality and prevent bottlenecks in production.
The unit's programmed routines and automatic alignment help reduce human error
and ensure repeatability and reproducibility (see "Roundness & Roughness-Together
Methods for best practices in manufacturing, such as lean
and enterprise resource planning (ERP), enable varying degrees of flexibility.
Depending on the specifics of each organization, one or the other of these
methods-or a hybrid of the two-can help achieve optimized operations.
"Lean Manufacturing and ERP Systems: Different by Design" has all of
From initial concept to planning, implementation and testing,
perhaps no other element of manufacturing benefits from flexibility more than
research and development. Managing Editor Brian Hayes has compiled a selection
of technology advances being made at universities and laboratories around the
world, including a self-assembled, pseudo-periodic array of ceramic
nano-islands; bio-resorbable scaffolds; porous wall, hollow glass microspheres
for hydrogen storage; and solvothermal crystallization. Check out CI
ceramic and glass R&D overview in "Advancing Ceramic & Glass
a month after The Trim-I occasionally catch
myself looking at my dog askance. Then she'll wag her tail and smile at me (she
does smile, I don't care what anyone says). I just shake my head and tell
myself to get over it already. She might look a little odd, but she really does seem to feel better.