Published: Mar 1996
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THERE IS BUT ONE SUBJECT yet to cover-the most important quality factor of all: people. The best-equipped laboratory in the world is worthless without a qualified, trained, and motivated staff to operate it. Perhaps the “container” (robotic) labs will one day challenge this state of affairs in some industries, but until that day arrives management must continue to hire, train, and motivate human beings to work as metals analysts. And in those labs that must deal routinely with the nonroutine, it is unlikely that even future heuristic computer systems can eliminate the workforce. In fact, based on the heavy dependence on reference materials by much of industry, there is reason to believe that the near future may see some increase in personnel as classical techniques are recreated, phoenix-like, from their own ashes.