Automation Insider: All Eyes On Asset Performance

garymintchellYou may have noticed a change in my byline. At the beginning of September, my partner Glen Gudino and I joined Applied Technology Publications as Executive Directors. Glen will lead the publication’s sales teams; I will set strategic direction and coverage, as well as lead the editorial, electronic-media and finance teams. After founding Automation World magazine and leading it for 10 years, there were new challenges to conquer. The Manufacturing Connection is where I write about general manufacturing and operations management software. Maintenance Technology is where I’ll emphasize my automation and plant expertise.

I’ve just returned from attending six different conferences in four weeks. During my travels, a number of industry leaders provided me with input on what they see coming up and on where we should position Maintenance Technology. A review of the magazine’s readership and other expert insight added to that input. All this information is going into the creative mix as we position our publication to capture the thought-leadership position for the next 10 years.

That said, some of you also may have noticed a subtle change in the title of the magazine last month: the addition of “Asset Performance.” This is a signal of the direction we’re heading. When we look at where our readers are, the term “maintenance” seems to be too limiting by itself.

Maintenance and reliability are really about uptime—or asset availability. At least half of you have broader responsibility than that. Many are also concerned with maximum asset use—throughput. This fact is often in conflict with asset availability, which can lead to internal conflict among operations and maintenance teams. Throw in engineering and IT functions and those plant conflicts increase. We want to find the “win-win” among the camps. That’s asset performance. Obtaining the best performance from your assets leads to operational excellence and increased plant profitability. 

You’ll find the same great columnists and technology discussions in the magazine as in the past. But we’ll bring an increased focus on stories about how plant professionals have implemented technologies that enhance asset performance. We’re also broadening the coverage of technologies so that you can learn about all the great tools that exist to help you perform at maximum capability.

Speaking of great tools, the Invensys software user group was held the week before I wrote this column in October. My first breakfast meeting there was with Saadi Kermani, who promptly had me load the SmartGlance app on my iPhone—and begin playing with it. You can do it, too, just to get a glimpse of where mobility is going. Go to the App Store in iOS, Android or Windows 8, search for SmartGlance, and download. (You can listen to the podcast conversation I recorded with Saadi at

The good folks from Avantis, the enterprise asset management (EAM) part of Invensys software, have been pretty quiet publicly for a long time. Luckily, their management has encouraged them to increase promotion of their brand and product. You’ll see more from this group soon.

By the way, I love conversations. Send a note any time. You can also find me on LinkedIn and follow me on Twitter at @garymintchell. Check out the Maintenance Technology group on LinkedIn—ask questions and participate. As our Website undergoes improvements, there will be increased opportunities for you to voice your opinions. MT

Gary Mintchell, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , is Executive Director of Applied Technology Publications. He also writes at

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