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Soaring demands, shrinking resources (sidebar)

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Although respondents to this exclusive salary and job satisfaction survey were as diverse as their companies and industries they occasionally spoke in a unified voice. That was especially true when they were asked what they would spend more time on if they could. For the most part many of the same answers appeared over and over. This is a list of the most frequent responses:

o Planning/strategizing for the future

o More up-front project engineering time

o Process improvement

o Training operators/department/self

o Devising package standards/specs

o Analyzing cost reduction opportunities

o Keeping current with new technologies

o Evaluating new suppliers

o Supplier/customer/peer visits

o Automating operations

Respondents were also asked what prevents them from performing those tasks. Here the responses were even more universal. In fact the winner for the number one time-sapper that crosses department company and industry lines: Dealing with emergencies or in the vernacular of our respondents "putting out fires." Other common responses are listed below.

o Too many capital projects

o Too many new product launches

o Continual scheduling changes

o Time/budget/staff limitations

o Too many day-to-day details

o Wearing too many hats

o Too much paperwork

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