Alicia Bowers

Alicia Bowers believes that automation software can help industrial organizations overcome many challenges, including retiring workforces, global competition, and tightening regulations. She has published in industry magazines, ranging from Food Manufacturing to Hydrocarbon Engineering, and is the recipient of a MESA Outstanding Contribution Award. Connect with Alicia on LinkedIn.

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Opposite Day

Celebrate Opposite Day and Prevent Mistakes from Happening

My kids like to say something ridiculous and then shout, “Opposite Day!” A lot of things would be great if they were the opposite. Think about this quote and your organization: “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” …and now shout, “Opposite Day!” Today, start reversing the quote about mistakes. You can do it in your plant, across local and even global processes. Here’s the essence of the opposite: “Sanity is...

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Alarm Notification

Too Many Alarms? It's Time for SuperSCADA!

What’s the biggest challenge our customers face on the plant floor? Ding ding ding—that’s right, managing alarms. Last week, we held a webinar for customers on how to increase operator productivity. We polled the audience about their greatest challenges. Here was the list of possible responses: Too many alarms Not enough operators / budget Errors during manual processes High turnover of workers / lack of skills Complexity of processes Regulatory...

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Is Your iPad Keeping You Warm At Night?

Engineers love their tech toys. In fact, those smartphones and tablets are so great they get a premium spot right beside the bed on the nightstand. It’s the last thing we touch at night and the first thing we look at in the morning. Many of us use these devices as an alarm clock. But, for people whose day job can creep into the night-time hours, they offer much more—including a better night’s sleep. With your iPad® and the Industrial Internet...

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You're Wearing That?!

Engineers get a bad rap for what they wear. It is so unfair. The truth is engineers are the coolest dressers around. With wearable technology, how could they not be? And one of the latest accessories soon to hit the plant floor is Google Glass™. At our recent User Summit , Dave Collard was not only one of the best dressed in his Google Glass but also one of the most popular. Dave, our product manager for Proficy Workflow , showcased how you can...

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Another Way to Beat the Bad Guys: 3 Steps to Perfect Patching

Have you been putting off software patches? Don’t procrastinate! Software companies develop and release patches because they are important to the user community and the health of your systems. In our continuing series on Minimizing HMI/SCADA Risk , here are some nuggets from our upcoming webinar . According to GE’s experts on security, you can ease patching by planning for it carefully. Organizing your planning into three steps can help. Step 1...

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Did You Reach Your 10-year Anniversary?

Reaching a 10-year anniversary is a bigger deal today than it used to be. After all, change comes faster and faster, which makes 10 years feel like a longer amount of time. This year, GE is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Proficy platform —our integrated, cross-application foundation. So, what have we seen over the last 10 years? (Click image to enlarge.) And, don’t forget that with great capabilities come great responsibilities. As...

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3 Steps to Maximize Your HMI / SCADA

This past weekend, I was painting my house. I love doing the second coat – compared to the first coat, it is much easier and quicker to apply, uses less paint, and is what makes everything look fantastic. The foundation is in place, and the easy second coat makes it sizzle. Your HMI/SCADA system is the same way. When I see ads for the “New SCADA,” I have to laugh. You don’t need a New SCADA. HMI/SCADA has been around for decades, and you have a...

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Do You Check Expiration Dates?

This week, my family just finished a bottle of barbecue sauce – that had expired two years ago! A friend had given us the bottle in April, and I didn’t notice the expiration until we had already finished the bottle. Ironically, I had put the bottle upside down, so we could get all of the remaining sauce and was just turning it back upright, when I noticed the long-ago expiration. Yuck! Amazingly, we were all fine. There’s probably so much salt...

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Top 10 Questions to Ask Regarding HMI/SCADA Risk

We’ve all heard that continuing to use Windows XP® can put your industrial systems at risk. But, what else is important? Here are 10 questions to ask yourself regarding HMI/SCADA systems and risk. The questions are not in any particular order, and there are many more questions that we could include. So, let’s use these to start the discussion … Are you running your application with non-default / non-Administrator accounts with low privileges?...

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My Dad, the Good News RSS Feed

My dad loves to give me articles to read – all kinds of information that he thinks will be useful or interesting to me. I’ve gotten articles from him about health, cars, bug sprays, parenting, GE, home security, 401K investments, blueberries, you name it. He always has a stack of articles to give me, sometimes even articles for other people that I’ll be seeing, with their name written at the top. He’s the original RSS. Last weekend, Dad gave me...

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Say “Bon Voyage” to the Experienced Workforce

A few months ago, I went to the retirement and going-away party for my neighbor, Don. He had worked in the same job his whole career, which is amazing to me. Now, in his early 60s, Don was leaving to sail away to the Caribbean islands – a great retirement dream that he earned. At the party, I tried to think of other people I know who stayed at one job for decades. My grandfather came to mind. Also, my parents are close behind in years at their...

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Don’t Jam the BB Gun— Make Higher Quality a New Year’s Resolution

What present did every boy want for the holidays? A BB gun – and that dream came true for my two sons. Now, these two boys, ages 8 and 10, are having fun shooting at targets, stacking up cans and seeing who could shoot a hole through a can or knock down the stack. Being the mom, of course I have to tell them to “be careful” about a million times and require a grown up with them. So far, so good! Everyone is being safe with the BB gun. I only had...

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Enable Your Workforce Through Teamwork

This month, my family participated in the Komen Race for the Cure. We were amazed by more than 10,000 people participating in just this one race in the South Carolina Lowcountry and the spirit of making a difference together as a team. We saw this spirit everywhere, embodied in the racers’ enthusiasm and in the sea of pink. On the shuttle ride over to the race, a man commented about the many boys wearing pink, including long pink socks,...

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Company Initiatives Come and Go, but Make the Gains Stick

When I joined GE, Six Sigma was a big, company-wide program, and certification was mandatory. My peers and I all completed projects, and, across the company, Six Sigma helped deliver millions of dollars in cost savings. Not every company goes as deep into an initiative as GE has done with Six Sigma. But, even Six Sigma at GE has changed. There are still Six Sigma roles, projects and training – and it is still taken very seriously, but it is no...

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