Decoding industrial jargon

Every discipline lays claim to its own peculiar jargon and operational concepts, many of which might not slop over into other fields of human endeavor. Hence, retreating into a prolific use of one's own secret language can make it difficult to communicate important information to others who might have a stake in the outcome of any collective initiative.

Consider the perhaps extreme example of having to face what might be serious surgery only to have your physician explains it to you exclusively in anatomical and biological terms, none of which are used in the ordinary language we use every day. Another surgeon would understand precisely, but the rest of us not steeped in the healing arts are left befuddled.

Consider a more down-to-earth example. Your maintenance department is adopting the latest and greatest of computer technology that promises to blend the CMMS, EAP, and every other possible industrial software system that mankind has ever devised. Part of that initiative would, quite naturally, involve the good folks driving the forklifts, working the loading docks, and supervising that just-in-time movement of materials around the plant site.

They have their own jargon, the IT department has its own buzzwords, and it’s questionable how much of these subsets of English words and phrases overlap. We need a secret decoder ring to ensure that the communication taking place between those two entities is effective.

It might be instructive for the material handling department at your plant to review the “Glossary of Material Handling Terms and Common Terminology in Industrial Automation” that’s published by Bastian Material Handling, Indianapolis, Indiana

Much of the terminology listed there will be common knowledge to those on the plant floor, but there quite a few terms that are part of the IT storehouse of jargon. When the computer folks come calling, at least you’ll be in a position to understand what you’re hearing.

On the reciprocal side of the conversation, maybe you could pass this blog along to your plant’s IT department so that its denizens will know what in the dickens you folks are talking about. All in the name of effective communication, don you know.

Without a doubt, you know of other online resources that focus on glossaries of industrial arcane. I’d sure like to know which you feel are the best. Let me know.