I’ve written perhaps thousands of articles covering more topics, in more industry and tech sectors, than I can tell you, or you need to know. But this page will give you a little taste of what I can do. Just know the writing’s just the last step, and the tip of the iceberg, in what I bring to my work. Visit my About/contact page for more info, and to email me. Or smartphone me at (773) NOW-OKAY. —B
I have a long history of writing about IT and automation and their convergence under the umbrella of digital transformation. That’s a topic covered by SmartIndustry in print and online. Feature stories in 2019 have covered new research (from SAS, Deloitte, Intel and IDC) on the significant advantages leaders of global firms are having by applying AI with their IoT networks in what researchers have dubbed AIoT, the Artificial Intelligence of Things. I’ve also covered edge computing developments for which Intel shared some Twitter and LinkedIn love (as shown at bottom of this blog post). I also covered a new vision for connected field service that could bring new growth to a manufacturing economy plagued by product commoditization and a looming global downturn.
Other stories covered industrial IoT adoption as well as a new solution space so new there’s no real name for it yet to my knowledge. I call it asset lifecycle modeling, which melds aspects of PLM, BI/analytics and 3D/AR/VR to turn entire industrial facilities tracked assets from initial engineering design through decommissioning. Shorter pieces have touched on advanced 3D automotive R&D, robots in consumer packaging and lots more.
As organizations have become connected, so has the need to reimagine how outsourcing will change the nature of products, which led me to also cover management strategies in pieces including this expert panel discussion. As an editor and later a communication consultant, I wrote on “Standardizing Customization” — Part One and Part Two — to show how CPGs can foster better data-driven collaboration between their ERP systems and their vendors’ systems. I have also dug down into the trenches of process automation — with hundreds of writings on sensors, controls, networks and wireless connectivity solutions for age-old engineering and operational problems.
Some blog articles are short, some are long, depending on client needs. I’ve done very short, tightly focused pieces like this post on carton board grade for a packaging supplier, slightly longer pieces such as a topical item telling Walmart suppliers why there’s no need to ‘freak out’ when a supply chain pundit told them it was “time to panic!”
I’ve also written and ghost-written longer blog articles as required for complex topics such as the aforementioned feature-length piece on “standardizing customization,” and an implementation update featuring L’Oréal (see below section on “Success stories”).
One of my favorite blog accomplishments came when I connecting a software client’s message with Peerless Media’s Supply Chain 24/7 to create a landing page and topical blog piece, “The Supply Chain Link Both Walmart & Amazon Are Both Missing.” Clive Purchase, 24/7’s Director of Online Operations, who said this story, linked to my client’s landing page, earned 140 white-paper downloads in the first 10 days — very impressive for a specialized, high-level audience.
On the homepage of this site, I occasionally share personal views on anything from guitars to robotics to AI. I’ve yet to brand and content-market my personal writings, but I’m still young. Maybe one day.
Success stories, a.k.a. case studies or use-cases, impart credibility by letting readers learn how their peers met industry-wide challenges. It’s a tricky business to get major end-user companies to go public amid NDAs and legal department lockdowns. I’ve dealt with this issue for years. The solution: diligence, diplomacy and at the heart of it all, good content. For example, when a major food brand withdrew from publicity for its success with a EDI-to-ERP collaboration project, the story stood on the strength of its content, including two other project participants. (Click to see the two versions I placed, as edited by Food Logistics and Food Engineering.)
When some success metrics are available but the source is still sensitive to over-disclosure, I found ways to green-light stories by positioning stories in a larger, business context. For instance, “Lessons from L’Oréal: Growing through Agility, Visibility, and Collaboration” leveraged success metrics gleaned from a presentation to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. And while I was unable to do any new interviewing for “Mass Customization for a Ready-to-Eat CPG Giant,” I was grateful to get some help from related press coverage and SEC filings. There is always a way to add value and enhance audience engagement.
When I was Editor of Contract Packaging magazine, I wrote “Steeped in service, poised for growth” showcasing Damron, a minority-owned tea supplier to McDonald’s. The fast feeder wouldn’t go on record, but again, I found other sources, including public disclosures from the McDonald’s diversity program to fill the gaps.
Not all companies are as secretive. The startup, Back to the Roots, wanted to be known for its innovation, and I was able to spread word of the company’s first retail foray: getting Whole Foods to buy it’s home mushroom “farm.” Working for the PMMI team, I posted the story online, in print and used it as the centerpiece in one of several post PACK EXPO lead-gen email newsletters.
Reports & White Papers:
I’ve written white papers and reports to help market Siemens, GE, Honeywell and many other companies. Examples include reports on 3D/VR visualization and a favorite old chestnut on industrial cybersecurity that MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service — James Bond’s boss! — used it as a behind-the-firewall educational resource. As with most forms of the writing I do, the writing itself is the tip of the iceberg, following reading, research, interviewing and any other tasks needed for production and digital or print distribtion and promotion.
I’ve planned, managed, edited, ghost-written, written and shepharded e-books through production and distribution, as well. Length varies from brief aggregations of repurposed articles to projects with more than 100 pages featuring all-original content from multiple sources. In turn, the e-book becomes an engine of content marketing as excerpts are drip-fed to audiences to bring more users to register and download the full book. There can be many moving parts to these projects, and I’ve had a hand at executing and managing most of them. One example: PMMI Media’s Packaging World Playbooks. The one I’m most proud of is the one I managed most comprehensively, a Food Safety Playbook. The below graphic includes just a glimpse of two templates I created for content and production planning.
I’ve written thousands of articles, and all manner of content. Opinion/analysis columns, news, newsletters, content management, SEO-aware A/B test copy, curated graphic-heavy galleries…and related B2B media/marketing work. If you want to know more, contact me for details. —Bob.