Vision & Sensors

From the Editor: Serendipity and Success

December 22, 2009
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Welcome back to Vision & Sensors, and happy New Year! I hope Santa was good to you, and that your holiday season created more treasured family memories than havoc. The economy may seem to be full of surprises, but at least the start of 2010 looks to be more promising than the start of 2009.



Welcome back to Vision & Sensors, and happy New Year! I hope Santa was good to you, and that your holiday season created more treasured family memories than havoc. The economy may seem to be full of surprises, but at least the start of 2010 looks to be more promising than the start of 2009.

With the New Year, people often make ambitious resolutions that are all but impossible to keep. (For example, witness the year my uncle said he wanted to grow more hair and a smaller nose.) But despite the tendency to set overly optimistic goals, now is a great time to take stock of the year, and set manageable goals.

Did you set any personal or professional goals last year? If so, how did 2009 turn out?

It may be time to determine some concrete goals for 2010 and write them down. As the proverb goes, “The palest ink is better than the best memory.”

And specific goals are important. With the typical health-related goals-get in shape, eat better, avoid swine flu-aim for small and manageable chunks: run a 5-k race, try new vegetable recipes, get vaccinated.

These same ideas can apply to your plant. While it is great to aim to be the Quality Plant of the Year, start with something smaller. Reduce scrap and rework, improve on-time delivery or evaluate processes. And we encourage you to apply for next year’s Quality Plant of the Year award.

As I write this column, I am off to visit our latest Plant of the Year this week, and I’m looking forward to the visit. In visiting plants across the country, I have noticed a few things. Namely, the employees are people that set goals and make plans. Their quality processes are the result of careful, intentional effort. In other words, I have not seen a great connection between quality and serendipity.

As Alice in Wonderland realizes, if you don’t know where you want to go, how will you get there?

When Alice asks for directions and admits she isn’t sure where she is going, the Cheshire Cat interrupts with: “Then it really doesn’t matter which way you go.” Imagine saying this to your GPS system.

As integrator Ned Lecky, a new member of our editorial board, recently told me, it is best not to say, “I want everything to be running better.” Instead, determine that you want a new system to inspect a certain number of parts in some amount of time, with only a certain number of mistakes.

Although you may want the plant to run problem-free all day and every day, as a first step, aim to improve your understanding or use of the technology.

To that end, mark your calendar for these shows this year: Quality Vision & Sensors Conference in Orlando, FL, March 22 to 25, The Vision Show in Boston May 25 to 27 and Vision 2010 in Stuttgart, Germany, November 4 to 6.

The Quality Vision & Sensors Conference will provide a first-hand view of success with its exclusive plant tour of Lockheed Martin’s Orlando Facility. For more information, visit www.qualitymagconference.com.

Further information on the Automated Imaging Association’s Vision Show in Boston can be found at www.machinevisiononline.org and the Stuttgart show information is available at http://cms.messe-stuttgart.de.

Have a great 2010 and let me know your goals for this year. And if you do manage to grow more hair, please do send photos.

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