What We're Reading

What we're reading: Justifying compressed air upgrades, examining lubrication certifications, and 25 companies leading digital transformation

Aug. 9, 2023
Thomas Wilk explores his top 3 articles from the most recent Plant Services issue.

Quick, what are the five best movies you’ve seen? How about the five best books you’ve read? The five best current baseball players? Rock bands? Travel spots?

If you’re anything like me, you love Top 5 or Top 10 lists like these where someone takes the time to share their view of the world with you. The lists are like lenses through which we get an idea of how the list-maker sees the world. For example, the item at the top of each of my lists for those questions would be: Woodstock, Gravity’s Rainbow, Shohei Ohtani, The Blasters, and the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

Of course, if that person is an expert in his or her field, even better – that’s when the list changes from subjective to objective, becoming even more useful as a snapshot of knowledge and expertise to learn from, and/or a starting place for our own research into the topic. Why listen to some stranger talk about their favorite things when you can tap into the knowledge of a Julia Child on food or a Rick Steves on travel?

That’s why I’m very excited to share three articles of this kind with you in the Jul/Aug issue of Plant Services. Our cover story this month is by compressed air expert Ron Marshall, who was inspired by an insight he came to early in his career: that most of his customers did not view compressed air energy efficiency as their primary concern.

“In fact,” he writes, “many plant managers would willingly spend three or four times more on energy if only their systems would work properly.” His article outlines eight other (and often higher) priorities that managers respond to when you know energy cost is not their highest priority.

Next is an article exclusive to Plant Services on the Top 25 companies leading digital transformation in industry. The article and full report were prepared by Marianne D’Aquila, director of research at ARC Advisory Group. Her ranking comprises three main components – financial indicators, transformation indicators, and collective intelligence – using information drawn from both public data and ARC research initiatives.

As you’ll see in the article, the final result is less of a list and more of a window into the key digital choices that industry leaders are making to operate and deliver value to customers. The chart on p.27 goes beyond a numerical list, and arranges the Top 25 to show which industry verticals are the most digitally active. Marianne also focuses in the article on digital advances made specifically in asset management. (The full report is available for download at https://bit.ly/2308-TOP25).

Finally, this month includes an Ask The Experts showcase with expert practitioners and consultants in the area of industrial lubrication, who explore the value and benefit of achieving higher-level professional certifications (specifically the MLA II and MLT II). There’s definitely a difference between Level 1 and Level 2 certs, and Plant Services is proud to partner with the International Council for Machinery Lubrication to share this article with you.

I just wish I had asked all our contributors about their favorite movies too.

About the Author

Thomas Wilk | editor in chief

Thomas Wilk joined Plant Services as editor in chief in 2014. Previously, Wilk was content strategist / mobile media manager at Panduit. Prior to Panduit, Tom was lead editor for Battelle Memorial Institute's Environmental Restoration team, and taught business and technical writing at Ohio State University for eight years. Tom holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from Ohio State University

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