From the Editor

Good News Ahead

It's the end of the year, and the tendency of most is to look back on the year. Certainly 2004 was a good year for many in manufacturing. Steady gains in production, increased loosening of budgets by manufacturers and increased activity reported by suppliers of equipment, software and services.

Those involved with quality were not immune from this trend. Most suppliers reported gains early in 2004, and by the end of September, these same suppliers reported selling equipment off the floor at trade shows-something that has not occurred for several years. Manufacturers also reported they had so many projects to go forward with, after a couple of years of most being frozen, that they were struggling with prioritizing them. That's a good problem to have.

But, in looking backward, one may miss the excitement that lies ahead. And 2005, for those involved in quality and Quality magazine, looks to be promising.

On page 42 is Quality magazine's 2005 Spending Survey results. We project an 8% increase in spending during the coming year, to almost $3 billion. This is almost a return to pre-September 11, 2001, levels. Almost every equipment and software category is expected to see gains during the coming year. Our survey is no small matter. Quality magazine reaches nearly 40,000 manufacturing-only plants in the United States. We have our finger on the pulse of manufacturing.

What do these numbers mean in light of the overall manufacturing picture? It means that barring any unforeseen incidents, 2005 will continue to build on the successes seen during 2004. It means that the economic recovery that started under President George W. Bush will continue to characterize the economy. Read the entire article to get all the details.

As for Quality magazine, there is much to which we are looking forward. First of all is a new addition to the Quality magazine team. Maggie McFadden joins us as associate editor. Maggie has experience in both consumer and technical magazines. She has worked with various engineering communities and knows how to make the information relevant to readers.

Quality magazine is also looking forward to bringing you the IDW Conference on May 9 to 13, 2005. Partnering with conference founder Ed Pritchard, I invite you to be a part of the conference. The four-day event brings international experts to Nashville, TN, for leading-edge sessions on metrology. We have been involved with this conference since its inception because we have believed in its mission of advancing quality. Strengthening our commitment in 2005 is indicative of how increasingly important measurement issues will become as manufacturing technology advances.

As you continue to invest in quality technology and techniques during 2005, Quality magazine will be investing in you. At this time of the year, it can bring about fond memories to look back at the passing year, but I believe that more excitement is to be had by looking forward to what awaits us in 2005.

Tell me what you believe manufacturing will be facing in the coming year by writing me at

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Charles J. Hellier has been active in the technology of nondestructive testing and related quality and inspection fields since 1957. Here he talks with Quality's managing editor, Michelle Bangert, about the importance of training.
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