Spot the Buzzwords

June 2, 2003
A game you can play during vendor presentations

One of the many services your humble editors provide (and like to believe is important to you) is identifying and exorcising the gross marketing-speak and overstatements that too often pepper vendors presentations, supporting documents, and press releases.

Green eyeshades down, we pore over the reams of materials we distill into each issue looking for words and expressions like "easy," "ideal," "perfect," "seamless," "instant," etc., in contexts that are just too irritatingly, transparently unbelievable to allow to sully our editorial pages. If you want to see them, read the ads.

This months cover story is inspired by a presentation at ARCs Strategy Forum this past February on Driving Operational Excellence in Manufacturing. While editing the article (which, like most of our end user, consultant, and system integrator-submitted pieces, was remarkably free of marketing-speak), I couldnt help but remember and smile at the introduction to another great presentation in the same session, given by John Rezabek, lead control engineer, BP Lima USA.

When vendors call and come in to propose their products and services,oops, "solutions"--Rezabek and his associates like to play what they call BS Bingo. It helps keep them awake and attentive, and you can play, too! Just identify 25 words or phrases that make you roll your eyes, arrange them in a different random order on a five-by-five matrix for each participant, grab a pencil, and take a meeting. Like regular bingo, when you hear a word or phrase thats on the grid, circle it.

The first participant to get a complete row, column, or diagonal of five circles wins. You might not want to raise your hand and shout out "BS Bingo!" but thats a detail I have to leave to you.

You can use Rezabeks (shown), or come up with your own list of favorite expressions.

Whether or not you choose to play BS Bingo, I hope youll take some time to cruise through this issue. From the cover story treatment of gap analysis through calculating the benefits of improved control to identifying, understanding, and correcting the ill effects of misbehaving control valves, its chock-full of ways you can use your craft to improve your plants profitability and justify your paycheck,and maybe even a bigger one when the results come in.

Thats no BS.

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