It is not often that I get to sit at my desk in complete silence and just “plan” for an extended period of time. Those times when I do sit down and plan, however, are the times when I feel as if I truly have accomplished something.

The planning stage is one that all too often gets pushed aside or perhaps not given as much time as it deserves. Sometimes it can be difficult to justify this all-important process-or at least to place it at the top of the list, because the day-to-day pressure of your “real job” gets in the way.

Mapping out your projects and timelines for the days, weeks or years ahead can help take some of the stress and guesswork out of the picture. We also know that planning budgets and creating production quotas are not a luxury, but a necessity.

It’s invaluable for management to sit down and strategize about cost-cutting measures, return on investment plans or spending for the first quarter and beyond. Such contemplation and careful planning can help minimize those high-pressure, in-the-moment decisions that can push you over budget and under production.

With 40% ofQualityreaders citing increased importance placed on quality, compared to three years ago, according to our 2009QualityCapital Spending Survey-planning your strategy and long-term goals becomes even more important. Manufacturers surveyed estimate a large spike in spending for 2009 at $4.46 billion.

Explanations for the expected increase in spending may include increased equipment costs and pressure to stay competitive in a global market.

In addition to the 2009QualityCapital Spending Survey, this issue ofQualityMagazine features our 2009 Plan Book, designed to help you focus on the big picture. What are other manufacturers spending and how do you compare? Take a moment, shut your door and let the thoughts flow.

Many of you do take the time to carefully plan your spending and budgets for the coming year as demonstrated by the 74% of survey respondents that reported being spot on when it comes to budgeting. Nearly three-fourths of respondents to our 2009QualityCapital Spending Survey estimated that they hit their 2008 planned budgets when measured against actual 2008 spending. Thirteen percent said they actually came in under their 2008 estimated budgets when compared with actual spending for the year. This type of planning takes time, experience and focus.

As you plan your roadmap for the years ahead, I’d like to hear your thoughts, experiences and successes. You can e-mail me at [email protected].


TheQualityMeasurement, NDT and Vision & Sensors Conferences are full of hands-on technology updates, real-world insights and strategies-and they’re now open for registration! Be among the industry professionals expected to attend on May 4-7, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. For more information, or to register,