In all the reports covering the terrible earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan last month, there has been a general agreement that the damage inflicted would have been much worse if it were not for the strict building codes and rigorous training in place in the country. One need only compare the damage rendered by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake in Japan to that of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti for evidence of that.
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Regular earthquake and tsunami drills will have instilled in many Japanese people the knowledge of how best to survive in such situations, while buildings constructed or retrofitted to include additional bracing, rubber pads and hydraulic shock absorbers have also no doubt saved lives. Evidence, if you needed it, that R&D is fundamental and your innovations are important. The example from Japan shows that prevention is better than cure, something that is oft repeated and applicable across the cement plant, whether we’re talking about maintenance or even emissions reduction. For updates on the impact of the earthquake and tsunami on the cement and construction industries in Japan, and the potential ramifications for other regional markets, please visit www.worldcement.com and search 'Japan'.
In the last few weeks, I have been travelling across Europe visiting a number of equipment suppliers. It has been interesting to listen to the different perspectives on the industry’s progress out of recession, the key markets, the impact of political uprising in the Middle East on business there, and the importance of the internet when attempting to attract new orders. While some remain convinced that those people making the decisions to purchase new equipment are not likely to do so based on the online presence of the supplier, others are looking further down the road to when the Facebook generation is at the helm of big business. When that day comes, do you want to be the one arriving late to the social networking party?
As regular readers will know, World Cement relaunched its website about 18 months ago, with a view to becoming the number one portal for information for the cement industry. The website is freely accessible, no registration is required, and no one will hound you for a magazine subscription once you’re there – although of course, if you would like to join us on a regular basis, you are more than welcome. Subscribers benefit from the knowledge that they will receive every issue without fail. A digital edition is also available for subscribers to download up to two weeks early for those unable to wait for the print copy. In this spirit of innovation and accessibility, this month sees the launch of our brand new iPhone App. Freely available to all, the App – available for iPhone and iPad – is the perfect way to keep up-to-date with all the news from across the international cement industry, in a handy, easy-to-read format. I urge you to visit the App Store today and download it so you can see it for yourself. (Then go and tell your friends and colleagues about it, and make sure they download it too!) Let me know what you think of it, and what else you would like to see from WORLD CEMENT, by emailing me at email@example.com or on Twitter by mentioning @World_Cement.