New Tools Of Our Trade

For its February meeting, our local chapter of the PMPA asked my publisher, Travis Egan, and me to do a presentation for its members at our Cincinnati offices. My assignment was to talk about technology trends in our industry encountered in my travels.

For its February meeting, our local chapter of the PMPA asked my publisher, Travis Egan, and me to do a presentation for its members at our Cincinnati offices. My assignment was to talk about technology trends in our industry encountered in my travels. Travis presented some of the new media tools available to take advantage of the emerging technologies.

Apparently we did all right because nobody walked out or threw things at us. In fact, as a result of the Cincinnati meeting, we have been approached to take our act on the road to several other local PMPA chapter meetings. The experience brought home to roost the ongoing need in our industry for good, reliable and relevant information.

The blessing and curse of the Information Age we find ourselves in is information—there’s simply too much. If you Google “manufacturing,” a universe of 235 million pages is available to browse. Narrow the selection to “cutting tools” and 12.1 million places are at your fingertips. “Metalworking manufacturing” gives you 566,000 pages to peruse. While searches can be narrowed, one could still wear out many boards surfing in this sea of information.
Once the Internet morphed from a cool novelty to a viable tool, the electronic world discovered the importance of content on the Web as being more than words on paper. As the search engines burgeoned, users demanded ways to drill down to the stuff they were interested in. The question is, “How does one sort through millions of sites? Where does one find relevant content?” 

At its heart, editing a trade magazine is about making choices. These choices relate to the trade that the magazine represents. In our case, it’s precision machined parts manufacturing that we focus on. We select from products, processes and services that are relevant to the audience that receives our publication.

As electronic media has evolved, the selection process provided by the technically trained editorial staffs of magazines has become more valuable than ever because it is in part how visitors looking for specific information can cut through the largess of the Internet.

We call this concept integrated media, and it works like this: An important genesis of relevant Internet content is the magazine. Every month, new products, processes and services are presented in its pages. Readers look through the issue and find items that they didn’t know about or processes that can be of use.

To help the reader delve more deeply into a given topic, we have peppered the magazine with links to the Web where additional topic-germane content resides. It’s a rifled approach to more information rather than a shotgun. Moreover, the pages to which you are sent link to still more information, enabling you to zero in on your topic of interest. We continuously upgrade the site with information from various sources so it’s not just a repository of past articles from the magazine. It includes papers, videos, slide shows and articles to help research the topic of interest. With interactive forums, you can ask and answer questions in a peer-to-peer venue.

A key benefit of using this integrated media in your research efforts is your anonymity. While certain information about your visits can be tracked, your identity cannot. Nobody can contact you about your interest until you are willing to be contacted. Literally, as you research an item online that you find in PRODUCTION MACHINING, no salesman will call until you ask for the call.

By the time you have created your short list of possible sources, you are armed with information to make a much more informed purchase or implementation decision. And like the evolving technologies and techniques for which you subscribe to PM in the first place, the functionality of the Internet continues to fulfill its promise of unbridled access to information. At the same time, we continue to refine our integrated media process to make the Internet work better for you and your business.