Times change. The business climate changes, from week-to-week, month-to-month, and year-to-year. As a process control engineer, what should you do differently, in different business climates?

In the current economic recession, many businesses are experiencing “soft demand”. In other words, they can’t sell everything they make. In many plants, this leads to a slow down or partial shutdown.

In this business climate, it is often more important to be the “low cost producer” of products.

What can you do to help? Here are some ideas:

1. Pay attention to costs. Energy costs, in particular, can often be reduced through better control tuning and control strategies.

2. Find out how to help the plant transition between production rates or between products. In many plants, there is a great deal of waste during these transitions.

3. Work on projects to improve yield and efficiency. If you need money for these projects, be ready to explain the cost and the benefits in economic terms.

4. Use downtime to accomplish small improvement projects and to train others.

5. Update your resume. Always have a “plan B”. If there is a downsizing or plant closing, you want to be ready for it.

These should help you and your business to weather the storm. Remember to pay close attention…the business climate will changes again.

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