Keeping Manufacturers Humming

Who would have imagined it? Honeywell International Inc., an Old Economy manufacturer of aerospace systems and factory controls, has become an unlikely early leader on the Web. The company has been quick to identify how to deliver entirely new products and services. Example: Loop Scout, a service Honeywell offers to help plants like oil refineries diagnose problems in their processes. Clients send their production data over the Net to Honeywell, which sorts things out in a matter of hours. It's just one of the services on Honeywell's Web site. The site also offers training software--a sort of flight simulator for manufacturing plants that puts trainees through a variety of scenarios to teach them how to respond to plant problems. While Honeywell has long sold customized training software that can cost more than $1 million per manufacturing site, smaller customers can now sign up for as little as $1,000 per month. Honeywell is even adding products from competitors in the hopes of making the premier one-stop shop for plant managers and engineers. If this takes off, dull old Honeywell could become a New Economy star.

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