I’m still catching up on news I accumulated during my travels. Interesting things going on.

By the way, registrations are going well, but there are still open spots for our Packaging Automation Forum, May 4 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Rosemont, IL. I’ll be the afternoon moderator. We have an outstanding lineup of speakers talking about how they have improved operations performance in their companies. Not just for packagers, but for anyone in manufacturing. See you there.

QSI Corp. to distribute Beijer Electronics HMI products in the U.S.

QSI Corp., a U.S. manufacturer of rugged human machine interface and mobile data terminals, entered into a strategic alliance with Beijer Electronics (Stockholm Stock Exchange: BELE), an independent developer of human machine interface (HMI) technology, to offer Beijer Electronics hardware and software to industrial automation industries in the United States.

QSI Corporation will offer Beijer Electronics’ full line of iX operator panels along with Beijer Electronics’ software on QSI’s select new products, both designed for industrial automation. This alliance allows QSI to capitalize on Beijer Electronics’ market knowledge and innovative hardware / software. Beijer Electronics will, through its alliance with QSI, broaden its market scope and expand its footprint on the U.S. market.

Located in Malmo, Sweden, Beijer Electronics offers high-tech solutions in industrial automation and robust data communication. Its product offering includes operator panels and information software for system designers and OEMs in various industries ranging from building automation, marine and offshore to oil and gas, packaging machinery and food and pharmaceuticals.

Groups aligning for single standard Lean Certification

ASQ (American Society for Quality) is joining with the triune of organizations that currently are responsible for the Lean Certification program. The program was launched in 2006 by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence and The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence in response to the market need brought forward by their members and constituents.

The alliance partners claim that the SME-AME-The Shingo Prize-ASQ Lean Certification is the only true lean certification available as an independent, third-party assessment of knowledge and experience. Other programs on the market frequently use the term certification, however, they are really certificate programs – programs that confer a certificate upon a candidate based upon proprietary criteria, curriculum and/or training.

The SME-AME-The Shingo Prize-ASQ Lean Certification is independent from any prescribed curriculum, is overseen by practitioners in the field, and follows standards for professional credentialing programs. It incorporates a rigorous investment in continuing education and practice of lean through a recertification process that occurs every 3 years.

The Lean Certification has three levels: Bronze Certification emphasizes the tactical aspects of Lean; Silver is based on integration of Lean; and the Gold focuses on Lean’s strategic facets.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers remains the managing partner of this alliance and will continue handling the administrative aspects of the program.

Lifestyle Tips

Here are some ideas I’ve been collecting from a number of sources.

Leo Babauta at ZenHabits lists 34 ways to share with the world. You should be able to pick out a few that you can do. In fact, I know that many of you already do some of these.

Liz Strauss at Successful and Outstanding Bloggers asks How will you change the world by noticing someone else?

Mary Jaksch writes in Goodlife Zen about why greatness exists in you and how to tap into it.

Great quote on GigaOm this morning, “A self-disciplined employee will have the patience to conduct routine business routinely, the talent to respond exceptionally to exceptional circumstances, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  – Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin group of companies, which includes Virgin America.

Other thoughts

Great to see Jerry Yen, one of the founders and the inspirational leader for years of the OMAC group, post some thoughts about the future of OMAC. He’s on the supplier side now, no longer at GM. But still has valuable insights.

There’s a new blog in the automation arena–Sensor Technology–brought to you by some product managers at Balluff. So far it’s informative and non-commercial. Interesting.

ERP News

ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning, is hitting my radar recently. You know, this is the software application suite known by the colloquial term of “SAP Pain.” There’s huge consolidation in this market, famously by Oracle, but also by Infor. But these remain huge applications that are difficult to implement.

Houston Neal at the Software Advice Blog did a survey (not scientific, but interesting) asking about implementation strategies–big bang, phased rollout or parallel adoption. Phased rollout won by a narrow margin over big bang. Check out his analysis.

The movement toward cloud computing and software-as-a-service keeps growing as companies try to pare down the software bloat. Sarah Lacy at TechCrunch writes about a “surprise” remark by Marc Andreessen (original Web browser developer, now VC) that he is starting to invest in a new wave of enterprise software companies. Look for more announcements in the future.

Then there’s a software company in this latter category that is poking fun at the big boys with a series of polished vignettes starring Kevin Pollack and Ray Wise. They have published two episodes so far. Cute and entertaining.

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