Problems, Solutions and Plain Talk

July 30, 2003

One price of admission to our chemical manufacturing community should be a willingness to help a comrade solve a problem,"particularly one of those nagging, irritating process problems that just doesn't seem to have a easy answer.

Now I know I may be repeating a lot of what you'll find on page 44, but I don't want to waste an opportunity to make you aware of our new "Process Puzzler" department, which we're firing up this month.

It's a place for you to post a problem that your peers might know something about. It's a place where you can get some advice from your own kind, without the marketing hype and superlatives that sometimes accompany a vendor response to an inquiry.

Now, to make this work the way it should, we need to depend on those of you who have those answers, experiences or advice to be willing to take a few minutes to e-mail or write to us so we can print them in the magazine and post them on our Web site.

You never know ," there may come a time when you'll have a problem that you'd like Chemical Processing readers to help out with. So maybe helping out now will pay you back later.

That brings up a related point ," the importance of staying in touch with one another. Whether it's through Process Puzzler or as a result of you telling us what you think ," good or bad ," about something we printed, there's no better way for us to know if we're addressing the issues that matter to you. We're always pleased to print your comments.

Even further, if you'd like to write something for the magazine, I'd be delighted to try to make that happen. It could be a guest column that lets you present your thoughts on the current and/or future state of some aspect of chemical processing, or a full article that lets you share your expertise in a particular discipline. Just get in touch and tell me what you have in mind.

Here's another way to stay in touch, and it could be fun. We editors have begun a relentless campaign to purge Chemical Processing of every gratuitous marketing buzzword, phrase and acronym we find in the materials we create, edit and present each month.

I've noticed that from time to time we've let a rogue "leading edge," "synergy" or "paradigm" slip through the copy edit process. Not that I ever use them, mind you. I'm a believer that nothing enhances a article like a sentence or two that conceptualizes the empowerment of a multidisciplinary game plan to flatten the organization into a lean and mean operational fighting force that will catalyze change and push the envelope of processing performance. You get the idea.

If you come across an offending phrase that seems like it's escaped from a marketing primer gone bad, call us on the carpet for it. In fact, tell us which ones make you the craziest to see in print. At some point maybe we'll come up with a prize for the person who unearths the most unforgivable lapse.

This just might turn out to be a world-class idea. Oops.

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