Ceramic Industry

INSIDE CI: Hitting the Jackpot

December 1, 2008
The monthly roundup from Editor-in-Chief Susan Sutton.

I was lucky enough to get a new computer a few days ago, and I think the exhilaration and relief I feel must be akin to a lottery winner’s. I know the computer won’t solve all of my problems, but it sure will make them much easier to deal with. Finding a new market for your products in this tight economy is a lot like winning the lottery. You’re struggling, you need a miracle, and then-bingo-opportunity strikes.

Alternative energy markets are offering the ceramic and glass industries a number of exciting opportunities. According to one new report, “global energy consumption will increase by close to 40% by 2030 to nearly 700 quadrillion BTUs from its present level of 500 quadrillion BTUs.” Since traditional resources like oil, natural gas and coal are limited-and pricing erratic but certainly rising overall-new sources of energy are increasing in demand.

While many sources of alternative energy are available (including wind, nuclear, biofuels and geothermal), “solar energy has long been the most widely supported alternative energy source, theoretically because it offers the greatest potential and has an extremely low level of CO2 emissions.” The key to solar power’s continued implementation is the development and commercialization of efficient solar cells. Read “Harnessing the Sun” to discover how your company might be able to tap into the expanding solar power market.

The December issue also includes our second Services Directory and Business Guide. Talk about winning the lottery-finding a dependable service provider can be a life-saver for many manufacturers. Service providers ranging from attorneys and consultants to firing, lab and processing experts are all included in our handy annual reference tool.

The Address Index includes complete supplier contact information and a brief description of the services offered by each company, while chart-style listings specify each service provider’s area(s) of expertise in an easy-to-read format.* In addition, be sure to visit the Services Directory online at www.ceramicindustry.com/servicesdirectory for links to service providers’ websites and e-mail addresses.

The Business Guide includes several articles that aim to help manufacturers operate more efficiently and effectively. I’m excited to announce that a new column called “Business Briefs” is debuting in this issue. Refractory industry veteran Thomas Maskell discusses “Thinking Outside the Box” in this first installment.

Subcontractors can offer varying degrees of services depending on a manufacturer’s particular needs. “Subcontracting 101” defines the concept and parameters of subcontracting relationships while offering advice to both manufacturers and subcontractors. One positive aspect of today’s high unemployment rate is that the pool of available personnel is broad and deep. Learn how to find and manage the best new hires in “Recruitment Fundamentals." And finally, “IP Protection of Ceramic Creations” discusses how intellectual property protection can help manufacturers improve their competitiveness.

Despite the economic turmoil and uncertainty that swirls around us these days, I hope that all of us can enjoy a safe and happy holiday season with our families. Best wishes to you and yours from everyone at Ceramic Industry.

*Listings indicate paid advertising. Contact Ginny Reisinger at reisingerg@bnpmedia.com or (614) 760-4220 for pricing and additional details.