The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) now has a monthly e-newsletter called "Lean Directions." The newsletter will focus on lean manufacturing, defined by SME as "the ability to apply the right tool, at the right place, at the right time, while remaining flexible and nimble."

"Lean Directions" will contain up to five articles each month. It will have expert advice, tips from lean implementers, updates on lean manufacturing developments around the world, resource guides and more. A recent article was "Hybrid Lean for Made-to-Order Shops." It discussed ways lean manufacturing can be successfully implemented in smaller shops.

The newsletter is free. Log onto www.sme.org/leandirections to view the current issue. Web site visitors may also enter their e-mail address to receive notification when new issues are posted. A database of back issues are also maintained.

  • Greenheck's QD (Quick Delivery) program is now online. At www.greenheck.com, simply click on "Order Online" and you're into QD Online. The site allows visitors to order stock ventilation equipment 24 hours a day. The site is easy to navigate, with all of Greenheck's most common fans and accessories. A customer can pick up orders at a local representative's warehouse or have it shipped directly from Greenheck. Most items will arrive within 24 hours.

  • Farmington, Mich.-based Foremost Duct has a new web site. At www.foremostduct.com, visitors will find product and service information, company news, and Foremost's featured product lines, including round, rectangular and oval ductwork plus accessories. Also on display is information about applications, technical specifications and pricing.

    "Customers (will) have immediate access to a broad range of information about our products," said Foremost President Jerry Liddell. "Our web site was created to not only present product information, but also to reflect the diversity of Foremost Duct."

  • MetalAire has enhanced its web site, making it easier for visitors to get in-depth information about the company's air distribution and air terminal products. The site is full of engineering and technical details, including product performance, sound data, dimensions and installation specifics. Point your browser to www.metalaire.com.

  • The Radiant Panel Association (RPA) has overhauled its web site, giving it a new look and an expanded list of features. A library of technical papers are now available. A members only section contains RPA newsletter archives, chat rooms and more. The site is at www.rpa-info.com.

  • Owens Corning now has a web site promoting its MiraVista specialty roofing line. The site is aimed at contractors, builders, architects and homeowners. It includes technical information, installation instructions, contractor and distributor locations and more. A special section called the "MiraSpec Design Package" provides architects and specifiers with timesaving tools when using MiraVista products, including 2-D and 3-D texture maps, hatch patterns, construction details and specifications.

    The site provides valuable product and application information for contractors, according to Brain Chambers, marketing manager MiraVista. "This web-based design package provides downloadable information which can easily be integrated into architectural drawings and specifications, Chambers said.

    See for yourself. Go to www.miravistaroof.com.

These two web sites work together to help meet the needs of hvac contractors and fabricators. At www.buyduct.com, contractors looking for ductwork and spiral pipe manufacturers can locate fabricators in their home state or region. And at sister site www.efabshop.com, a fabricator selling rectangular ductwork and spiral pipe can receive for online quoting and ordering of custom ductwork and fittings. To date more than 500 contractors and 45 fabricators nationwide have signed up. Check it out.

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