Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

August 2014    |    Volume: 46    |    Number: 8

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial Engineers

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Editor's Desk

Out from the ruts

For many businesses, what The Associated Press labels the Great Recession has not passed, no matter what the U.S. government’s National Bureau of Economic Research claims.

Despite good numbers in many sectors and strong corporate profits overall, some plant managers see that their facilities aren’t running at full capacity. Receipts still lag at some sales departments. IEs have seen their plans for continuous improvement projects shelved or delayed. Standard & Poor’s has decided to cut its outlook on U.S. Treasury securities from “stable” to “negative.”

But for each bit of economic madness, there’s an IE with a method to reap order from chaos.

For example, this month’s cover story from William Lawrence examines how four companies in Jamaica faced similar downgrades in their economic performance. Lawrence is a turnaround veteran who as interim chairman helped rescue SSP APTEC, a Jamaican IT provider, from insolvency.

“Correcting for the Future,” which starts on Page 26, details moves the enterprises made to recognize their problems, cut costs, deal with internal and external sources of decline, restructure finances and align business strategy with economic realities. The article offers a decision pathway that others can follow to transform their underperforming enterprises.

More advice is available the IIE Annual Conference and Expo 2011, coming to you from Reno, Nev. The extravaganza, scheduled for May 21-25 at the Grand Sierra Resort Hotel, has more than 700 educational sessions. Sprinkled in are networking opportunities, colloquiums and pre-conference workshops.

See, there is hope for everyone. Remember that Standard & Poor’s lowered its outlook for Great Britain’s AAA rating two years ago this month. After the government enacted an austerity program, S&P revised its outlook for the island nation’s credit back to stable.

So take a look at the following pages, whether your interest leans toward value stream mapping, information technology solutions or helping healthcare networks deal with disasters. And book a trip to Reno, the biggest little city in the world.

It could be the biggest little investment you ever make.

Michael Hughes
Managing editor