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Translating Safety

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Too often corporate leaders and safety professionals speak very different languages. Learn how to overcome this language barrier.   I recently consulted with a group of safety professionals who wanted help explaining to their corporate leaders how their function added value to the organization. I helped them explain the financial, legal exposure, and PR benefits of good safety in terms C-suite executives would understand. Almost all the terminology I used was foreign to the safety professionals. There was no philosophical difference between the leaders and safety professionals; safety priorities were a subset of executive priorities. The two groups simply ...
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The manufacturing industry is in the midst of a digital renaissance, broadly known as Industry 4.0. In this age of advanced machinery and computers, companies have become increasingly reliant on automation technologies such as robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence. Just as physical robots revolutionized the factory floor, digitization and automation are now playing a significant role in transforming back-end business processes. This digital shift is referred to as robotic process automation (RPA). The Nuts and Bolts of RPA RPA does not actually involve physical robots, but rather utilizes intelligent “software robots” ...
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Boeing Co. and Airbus SE, swamped with orders for new jets, are struggling to deliver them all on time - in some cases angering customers and delaying payments. Airbus has missed a number of deadlines for deliveries, forcing airline customers to find alternatives, change routes, or cancel flights. It has delivered fewer planes than it did by this time last year, despite promising 80 more this year. The missed deliveries mean delayed payments, since most cash changes hands only upon delivery. That has hit Airbus's closely followed cash flow over the year. Boeing hasn't missed any deliveries and says it won't. But it is straining with the same supplier shortfalls ...
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Keep, track, and trend failure causes to optimize your maintenance program.   The study of failure for the purpose of improving asset reliability in a maintenance program starts with the relationship that failure has with function. At the highest level in the reliability structure, equipment and components have a specific function or user-designed task to perform. An asset’s function can be broken down into two elements: its purpose and the process it will perform. With any undesirable deviation or change in these elements, the user-defined function will have a functional failure. A functional failure is the inability to perform the expected function ...
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When you think of hacking, you might think of viruses or ransomware attacks where computers are unable to operate unless a bitcoin is paid to an anonymous cybercriminal. In the manufacturing sector, the reality isn’t quite so public. First, the practical physical realities of the industrial landscape are challenging. With industrial devices, an exploit of a single, simple software vulnerability can have serious consequences. Depending on the actual setup and security posture of the target, smart factory attacks could severely affect critical goods, risk lives on the factory floor, and generate massive financial damage. Second, 2017 research by Verizon revealed ...
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Americans have stepped up their purchases in recent months, which is encouraging given some hesitance in opening their wallets earlier in the year. Indeed,   personal spending   increased by 0.3% in July, extending the 0.4% gains seen in both May and June. Overall, consumer spending has remained a bright spot in the economy, with personal consumption expenditures (PCE) soaring 5.2% over the past 12 months. At the same time, personal income rose by 0.4% in July for the second consecutive month, with 4.7% growth year-over-year. For manufacturers, total wages and salaries edged up to $892.9 billion in July. Over the past 12 months, manufacturing wages and ...
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An issue in the manufacturing process needs a solution. It could be mechanical equipment reliability and integrity, or inadequate process equipment performance and resulting failures, or another complex issue. How do you select the solution? I remember years ago being told in no uncertain terms by a major oil company that the staff did not care how good the technology performs; if it cannot fit with the company skillsets and work processes, then it cannot be successful. Let’s look at what that means. Technology, Methodology, Workflow Any solution to manufacturing and production problems must involve an intimate interplay of the intrinsic technology, ...
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Most associations in North America are challenged with training the next generation of leaders for their member companies…not the Metal Treating Institute.  MTI’s YES Management Training program is an interactive, engaging, challenging program.  Since 2007, almost everyone who has participated in the program has stated that it was life changing for both them and their company. The YES program is for any individual, at any level from furnace operator to the company President, who wants to go to the next level of in leadership abilities and learning how to build how to build high-performing teams. Planning for the 2019 YES Management Training Program ...
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Small changes in training can lead to big results.     Buying safety equipment and getting workers to use it are two entirely different things. Anecdotally, almost every safety professional I’ve spoken to finds it much easier to go shopping for the latest hard hat and safety glasses than getting workers to comply with PPE requirements.   There’s the usual advice to improve compliance to provide new, more comfortable PPE that looks good, but what happens when you’ve purchased new protective equipment that fits well and looks good, but it still doesn’t get used when it should? There are several often-overlooked ways to get workers to wear their PPE. ...
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Today’s organizations face a perfect storm of fraud related risks – internal, external, regulatory, and reputational. In PwC’s latest Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey , we gathered responses from more than 7,200 clients and third-party participants across 123 territories – with more than 800 responses from manufacturing companies – to learn how they are affected by fraud and what their future plans are. While the numbers were generally in line with the global average, a few things stood out specifically for manufacturers. These organizations are wary of internal fraud, viewing asset misappropriation as one of the largest threats to their future levels ...
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With unemployment low and wages creeping up, companies have an incentive to become more efficient — an exercise that tends to drive economic progress. HICKSVILLE, Ohio — For Anthony Nighswander, rock-bottom unemployment is both a headache and an opportunity. For businesses and workers, it could be the key to reversing one of the country’s most vexing economic problems: slow productivity growth. Mr. Nighswander is President of APT Manufacturing Solutions, which builds and installs robotic equipment to help other manufacturers automate their assembly lines. Lately, business has been booming: With the unemployment rate now below 4%, he says he gets calls ...
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Cutting-edge technology gives a glimpse into the future of how things will get made, and what manufacturers must do to stay relevant.   The industrial world has been in the throes of digitization for well over a decade. Primarily through enterprise resource planning (ERP) and manufacturing execution systems (MES), critical planning, scheduling, warehousing, inventory management, and logistics processes have been automated and simplified. But these gains have been restricted to technology silos, supporting separate functions of the factory rather than improving the performance of the plant — and its extended supply chain — in a broader way. Those days ...
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A new era in additive manufacturing, or “3-D printing,” is at hand, with major implications for adoption of the technology and for business models that companies can use in taking the plunge. In the three years since I last wrote about the field for HBR ( “The 3-D Printing Revolution,”  May 2015), additive’s growing capabilities, together with expansion in both the materials available and the supplier ecosystem, have made it possible to affordably produce a much broader range of things—from the soles of running shoes to turbine blades—often in much higher volumes. The technology provides an unprecedented ability to customize products and respond quickly to shifts ...
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How you can better use your CRM system to think beyond traditional channels and master the fundamentals of engagement with end-users.   Not so long ago, manufacturing was singularly about making things. Manufacturing companies would develop and create a product, hand it off to a series of distributors or partners, and then collect their cut of the profits. No more. The  Harvard Business Review  published a pivotal article in 2010 called "Rethinking Marketing," in which the authors outlined what used to be standard practice: make a product, find a market for it, and find a way to sell to that market. But, as the article pointed out, this no longer works. ...
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With industrial equipment repair costs and complexities on the rise, many manufacturers have been rethinking their maintenance repair and operations (MRO) processes. While they’ve often viewed these activities as a cost center, more manufacturers are using technology and strategy in MRO to drive value. Many are using IoT sensors and cloud-based analytics programs to optimize maintenance and predict failures. Some are even moving to equipment-as-a service models that don’t just sell equipment but include service and uptime. These new MRO trends are impacting the parts supply chain in many ways, demanding components and parts in a rapid, just-in-time ...
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In the energy industry, we talk about natural gas storage a lot. It’s a term that frequently comes up in articles , we include it every week in our APPI Energy Advisor, and power markets rise and fall based on the weekly report submitted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, we rarely discuss what natural gas storage actually entails, how it is measured, and who controls it. In this article, we’ll discuss what natural gas storage means, why it is important, and how APPI Energy utilizes that info to better serve our clients. The basic principle of natural gas storage is, at its core, the principle of supply and demand. We store natural ...
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How have you seen Industry 4.0 impacting manufacturing companies? The phenomenon of Industry 4.0 is steadily transforming the world of manufacturing. Like the adoption of mechanization and mass production in the 19 th century, manufacturing companies are now using computers, automation, and robotics in the 21 st . We’re seeing a transition from machines with computers in isolation to machines with on-board computers that are communicating or being controlled by other computers. And this control is not generated from an operator’s input but as an automated response to data received from a variety of external, but related, sources. It’s important to understand ...
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Control system's hardware, design and programming can simplify maintenance.                              There are many sides to maintenance in a manufacturing plant. Some involve mechanical components, and others define the procedures and processes needed to service them. The list of mechanical considerations is long, including material selection, surface treatments, bearing selection and implementation, pneumatic actuator sizing and selection, fixture geometry, serviceability, and critical adjustment features. The control system is just as important of a piece of the maintenance puzzle as the mechanical side. The control system itself can aid in machine ...
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As cyber-attacks continue to increase in number and escalate in complexity, companies are looking to hire hard-to-find cybersecurity experts to help secure their needs. Here’s a look at the four most in-demand cybersecurity skills for 2018 and beyond.   There were more data breaches last year than any year on record, and that trend shows no signs of slowing down. First, it was Yahoo which recently announced that all 3 billion user accounts (not 1 billion like initially reported), were impacted by a data breach in 2013. Then, we saw data breaches and cyber-attacks hit Uber, Saks Fifth Avenue, Equifax, and even city governments in 2017. Considering that ...
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Managers have many excuses for not performing preventive maintenance. Those who can find the time can benefit their facilities. This June marks my 40th year as a maintenance professional. During that May-June time frame, I also graduated from engineering school and got married. I figured out the engineering thing pretty quick, the maintenance thing took me 15-20 years to understand, and I’m still working on the marriage thing and probably will be for a little while longer. Throughout the years, all of us in the maintenance management business have been criticized. Those making the comments might have plenty of reasons to be critical, and their comments ...
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