OAK BROOK, IL--It is my privilege to welcome Donald B. Ewaldz, director of Bourton Group (Rockford, IL), as a regular columnist in ASSEMBLY magazine. Don's column, "Uncommon Sense", will appear each month, beginning with this issue.

Don knows manufacturing from the shop floor all the way up to the boardroom. He started out as a factory apprentice, trained as a machine tool operator, and then advanced into factory management, serving as a foreman and superintendent. Don also worked as a special machine tool design engineer, application engineer, and ultimately became general manager of a company that designed and built special machine tools.

Beginning as a member of Ingersoll Engineers Inc., Don has served as a consultant to manufacturers for the past 24 years, specializing in helping firms apply advanced technologies to streamline their businesses and refine resource strategies.

Today, as a member of Bourton Group's worldwide operations management consulting practice, much of Don's work is in helping manufacturing companies establish and maintain their strategic direction, and reduce cost and improve quality in their operations.

You will find that he does not always agree with the "generally accepted" manufacturing theories and tactics. But you will also find, whether you agree or disagree, that his views of the contemporary manufacturing scene, and his opinions about how it should be improved, are well worth your close examination.

Bourton Group originated in 1963, when the Ingersoll Milling Machine Co. (Rockford, IL) perceived that maintaining a group of independent manufacturing consulting specialists would be a valuable service to its customers. First called Ingersoll Manufacturing Consultants, the group was incorporated as Ingersoll Engineers Inc. in 1977, and a management buyout in 1988 led to the name change to Bourton Group in 1998.