Despite a slowdown in the economy, the market for real-time process optimization (RPO) and training solutions has sustained its sales, leading one consulting firm to forecast brisk sales as the economy improves. Worldwide shipments of RPO software and services exceeded $550 million in 2002 and will exceed $925 million by 2007, says Dedham, Mass.-based ARC Advisory Group in its "Real-time Process Optimization and Training Worldwide Outlook" study. "The short-term will be a unique opportunity with risk," notes Tom Fiske, the study's author. "However, over the long term, the traditional core markets provide ample growth opportunities fueled by the strategic initiatives of companies to create a performance-driven manufacturing environment." Such initiatives include real-time performance management, which aims to help firms optimize their assets and resource utilization, as well as their decision-making, says ARC. The study is available for purchase at www.arcweb.com/res/rpo.