George Weimer has been covering business and industry for almost four decades, beginning with Penton Publishing's Steel Magazine in 1968 where his first "beat" was the material handling industry. He remained with Steel for two years and stayed for two more when it became Industry Week in 1970. He subsequently joined Iron Age, where he spent a dozen years as its regional and international machine tool editor. He then re-joined Penton Publishing as chief editor of Automation Magazine and in 1993 returned to Industry Week as executive editor. He has been a contributing editor for several publications, including Material Handling Management, where his columns and feature articles regularly generated lively discussion in the industry. He has won various awards from major journalism organizations. He has covered numerous trade shows here and abroad and has spoken to various industrial and trade groups on the current issues and events of the day as they impinge on business. He remains convinced that material handling technology and logistics are two of the major sources of productivity improvement today and in the future for all industries.
Twenty years ago, automation was perceived as a lethal weapon to use on your own employees. But as companies struggled to compete with their new, low-cost competitors, people began to see automation in a whole new light.
Accurate calculation of "dimensional weight" is carrying greater, well, weight in parcel shipping rates. That's leading to greater interest in tools that measure up to the demands of high-speed cubing and weighing.
Companies have little trouble justifying investments in equipment used to make goods—it's understood that machine tools, assembly equipment and the like are necessary to create wealth. But when it comes to material handling equipment, it's a different story.