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From the Editor: In-plants Everywhere

July 2011 By Bob Neubauer
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I'm on my way home from the IPMA 2011 conference in Charleston as I write this. After spending four days with in-plant managers from around the country, it's a little sad to have to say good-bye to them all and head back to real life.

Always a great event, the conference seemed even livelier than usual this year. Attendance was up 42 percent, and there were 44 first-time attendees. I saw lots of managers I haven't seen in years, a sign that travel restrictions are easing up. This fostered an almost celebratory mood among attendees.

I was busier than I've ever been at a conference, between taking notes and pictures at sessions, shooting video and talking with managers about their in-plants. (Here' a link to those videos.)

The educational sessions were very informative—and there were a lot of them: more than 30 total. I was constantly on my toes, trying to attend as many as possible, to bring all the latest information back to you.

In one presentation on how to get CFO approval for new equipment, Charlie Holden of HISD recommended the BLUF approach: Bottom Line Up Front. In other words, your proposal should include the ROI and payback period in the first paragraph where your CFO will see it right away. (Watch video interview with Charlie Holden after her session.)

Opening keynote speaker Dr. Jairy Hunter Jr. woke the crowd up when he said, "When you lose the joy in your profession, you're headed for real disaster." His message: don't just try to survive until retirement; keep looking for new opportunities for your operation to thrive.

Marianne Morrison, of InfoTrends, started the second day off stressing that print alone is no longer enough; it needs to be integrated with social and mobile media to help foster engagement and interaction. She gave examples of how companies are using QR codes and text messages to do exactly this.

I gave a presentation about how in-plants can add value to their organizations, and showed examples of numerous new services I've seen in-plants offer. Several in-plant managers gave sessions detailing how they have transformed and improved their in-plants:



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