What does it mean when you cast a ballot? Some simply consider it their duty to weigh in, others do it
And your winners are...
BUILDINGS & GROUNDS
Floor toppings, surfacings, coatings
Paints and industrial coatings (except flooring)
Roofing materials and systems
Electric motor drives, variable speed
Electrical circuit breakers
Power monitoring hardware/software
Uninterruptible power supplies
Chemical feeder equipment
Valves and actuators
HEATING & COOLING
Heat transfer fluids
Cranes and hoists
Cylinders, hydraulic and pneumatic
Hydraulic power equipment
Seals and isolators
Infrared non-contact thermometry
Motor and circuit condition monitoring
Nondestructive test equipment
Ultrasonic condition monitoring
Equipment, rental and lease
EAM/CMMS software and systems
TOOLS & SUPPLIES
Aerial work platforms
Communication equipment, person-to-person
Personal protection equipment
so they can say they did, and a few just want to be heard regardless of whether or not they have anything to say. But the best voters are both well-informed and eager to use that knowledge to guide others, support good works and thereby influence the course of history.
Ensuring reliability and maintaining industrial facilities takes many talents. Along with a real grip on the technologies and eccentricities of your plant and equipment, you must have a good understanding of manufacturing principles, finances, people and more.
One of the most important tools in your belt is your hard-won knowledge of what works. Through real- world experience, you’ve found products and brands you can rely on to give the best combination of performance, durability, low maintenance and reasonable cost.
But no single plant professional is expert in every one of the myriad categories of equipment, software and services necessary to properly support today’s plant. Where do you turn when it’s time to identify a new source for one of the less familiar needs of your facility? Who do you want to consult -- your purchasing department? Your local reps? Magazine editors? The Web?
How about the technicians, supervisors, engineers and plant managers who read Plant Services? That’s who we polled to determine our 2006 Plant Services Readers’ Choice Awards (see sidebar, “The will of the people”).
The plant professionals who took the time and made the effort to complete our lengthy, fill-in-the-blank survey worked hard at it. For each of 60 categories, they decided whether or not they had the experience to name the supplier who, in their opinion, delivers the highest value as defined by the lowest estimated life-cycle cost. Then they decided who that supplier would be, typed in the name, and moved on.
What does it take to “offer the highest value?” No respondent was able to fill in all the blanks – most felt qualified to fill in less than half the categories. Clearly, naming the best supplier isn’t a casual decision.
Today’s industrial facilities increasingly rely on vendors to not only deliver high-performance, rugged, durable equipment and expert services at rock-bottom prices, but to back those products and services with competent, immediate, 24/7 support. Only the strongest suppliers can generate the loyalty that leads to place in our Readers’ Choice Awards.
Determined solely by readers’ responses, the awards you’ll find on the following pages name the vendors that provide the highest value in categories from alignment instrumentation to vibration analysis and aerial work platforms to welding equipment.
If you’re not sure which belts take the least adjustment, whose paint is last to peel, what EAM/CMMS package is the best buy, or where to turn for value in any of our 60 categories, the 2006 Plant Services Readers’ Choice Awards arm you with a quick reference to the preferences of your peers.
A veritable Who’s Who
The fill-in-the-blank format of the survey means every supplier has an equal chance -- the choices are not limited to a selection of entries determined by vendors, editors or other people who are not practicing MRO professionals.
Every vendor named in the accompanying list has been designated as offering the best value by a significant number of respondents (3% or more). We do not ask who offers the second or third-best value, so each company included is rated number-one by a statistically significant following.
On the survey, we ask end users to vote only in those categories where they have personal experience. A vote for a specific company should mean the respondent has found its products to be better than other companies’ in that category.
Since more respondents have experience with companies that have higher installed base or market share, the results are inevitably biased toward the larger companies. Furthermore, there are certainly small companies that don't make the list, no matter how excellent their value, just because they are relatively unknown. If you have a favorite smaller supplier, consider yourself fortunate and don't be concerned that they aren't in our Readers' Choice Awards.
While we ask respondents to write in the name of the company, some write in the names or numbers of specific products or software packages. We do our best to recognize and translate these responses into company names.
In short, Plant Services Readers' Choice Awards offer a reference list of brands that readers like you say offer benchmark value – a veritable Who's Who of plant equipment, software and service providers.
Thanks and congratulations
We’ve done our best to get experienced plant professionals, people who have the necessary perspective and wisdom to judge, without prejudice or penalty, who makes the best stuff for industrial maintenance, reliability and asset management.
We express our heartfelt appreciation to the hardy respondents who took the time to share their valuable wisdom by selecting our winners.
And we congratulate each vendor listed in the following 60 categories on being recognized for delivering the highest value in our 2006 Plant Services Readers’ Choice Awards.
The will of the people
In November 2005, we e-mailed survey invitations to 40,000 qualified Plant Services subscribers asking them to “identify those suppliers you recognize as offering the best value in their product category: the products that deliver the combination of functionality, durability and low maintenance that add up to the lowest estimated lifecycle cost.”
We asked them to name vendors only in categories where they have sufficient experience to feel qualified to respond. The results are uninfluenced by Plant Services editors, sales staff or advertisers. We prevented vendors from participating in the poll, and electronically secured the survey against both multiple responses from the original addressee and unauthorized votes from anyone not on the qualified subscriber e-mail list.
Thanks to the many readers who undertook the survey, the 2006 Plant Services Readers’ Choice Awards give deserved recognition to some of the best vendors in the MRO universe, and offer a solid, valuable reference you can use to help you make critical buying decisions.
Have a story to tell?
This year, Plant Services is holding a competition for the best application stories. If you have a practice or implementation you’re proud of and are willing to share it with your fellow plant professionals, warm up your keyboard and visit www.PlantServices.com/thismonth for guidelines and details.
Subscribers will be given the opportunity read your story, weigh its usefulness and value to industrial plant performance, maintenance, reliability and asset management, and vote for the best applications.
The contest is open to anyone with a good story and the right to tell it. Keep it short, and don’t worry about style or grammar – we’ll edit as required. Stories that meet the guidelines will be posted on www.plantservices.com, announced via our e-newsletters and in the magazine, and included in our electronic ballot system. Voting will take place in October, and winners will be published early in 2007.