Content By Ryan E. Day

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By: Ryan E. Day

Every so often an event, invention, or idea is so momentous it changes the face of entire industries. In some ways, the global response to Covid-19 has been such an event. In the case of metrology, however, it has only underscored that the foundational requirements of test and measurement remain unchanged. The trick is how we attend to those requirements in times of social and professional distancing.

Immediate challenges

The manufacturing industry worldwide is being challenged on an unprecedented scale. One has only to look at the OSHA’s Covid-19 Guidance for the Manufacturing Workforce, or listen to the drumbeat of continuing trade wars to get an inkling of what manufacturers may have to deal with on their way to meeting their test and measurement requirements. And yet, product is still being produced. And that product is being inspected.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

Writing a press release is easy. Writing a great press release takes some thought. And great press releases can draw more potential customers into your sphere of influence. Fortunately, writing great marketing copy isn’t all that complicated. Include these three elements and you’re well on your way to writing a great press release.

What is it?

Identify what is the one product, service, event, or piece of information you are sharing. Write down what that one thing is, and then whittle away anything that isn’t necessary. Your headline is often the “what” of your press release. (See figure 1.)

In order to be great:
Make it brief. Stay away from extraneous adjectives and adverbs. Just say what it is. Nobody takes your “awesome” and “the best” seriously in any case.
Make it clear. Don’t leave any question what the “it” is that this press release is promoting. Stay away from obscure or proprietary acronyms. If you must use an acronym, be sure to also spell it out. (See figure 2.)
Make it first. Do not bury that one thing with your company spiel or this year’s tagline.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

An organization can achieve great results when everyone is working together, looking at the same information generated from the same data, and using the same rules. Changes can be made that affect a company’s bottom line through operational improvements, product quality, and process optimization. There are quality intelligence (QI) solutions that can help reveal hidden opportunities.

Companies can save money and improve operational efficiency by effectively focusing resources on the problems that matter most from both a strategic and tactical perspective. A proper QI system makes this practical in several ways.

The QI advantage

With a QI system, data are captured and analyzed consistently in a central repository across the organization. This means there aren’t different interpretations of the truth, and there is alignment among those on the shop floor, site management, and corporate quality.

Alignment is possible because of a positive cascade of events:
• Notifications are sent to the appropriate people, and workflows trigger the required actions. This means people are appropriately accountable for addressing issues. Those issues can then be analyzed to understand recurring problems and how to avoid them.

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By: Ryan E. Day

It’s no secret that manufacturing companies operate in an inherently unstable environment. Every operational weakness poses a risk to efficiency, quality, and ultimately, to profitability. All too often, it takes a crisis—like Covid-19 shutdowns—to reveal operational weaknesses that have been hampering an organization for a long time.

The nature of the problem

It is not just a manufacturing company’s production facility that faces operational challenges, either. The entire organization must address a host of risks and challenges; shifting consumer and market trends necessitate improving agility and responsiveness; dynamic and global competition force innovation not only in product development, but also service and delivery; evolving sales channels, including online outlets, challenge established profit margins. And these challenges are not going away any time soon.

The real problem, however, lies not with the challenges themselves but with a company’s reluctance to see the operational weakness that makes it susceptible to a particular risk in the first place.

Ryan E. Day’s picture

By: Ryan E. Day

The Covid-19 pandemic is disrupting business across the globe, and supply chains are being stressed to their limits by sudden and drastic increases in online commerce. As organizations strive to continue delivering physical product, the industrial internet of things (IIoT) is being considered as a sensible part of dealing with the massive strain on supply chains.

Supply chain efficiency may not be the hottest topic around, but more than one organization has made dramatic improvements to their profit and growth portfolio by rethinking outdated supply mentalities and methods. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has been making quiet inroads to supply chain efficiency for quite some time, and with online commerce at an all-time high, every benefit of IIoT is only compounded.

Tracking vs. supply chain visibility

As important as tracking is, there are other aspects of the shipments to be considered. Temperature, excess vibration, angle, and tampering are among the conditions that are vital to certain products in transit.

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By: Ryan E. Day

As shelter-in-place orders make work-from-home (WFH) the new normal, some organizations are struggling with the transition to working as a remote team. But there are companies that have been doing so for quite some time, and we can benefit from their experience.

Covid-19 is forcing thousands of organizations to implement WFH programs, and it may well become a more common model in the future for a variety of reasons. Eric Doster, CEO of Dozuki, and Jennifer Dennard, COO of Range, have been working within remote teams for years. Their insight is built on experience, and we’re fortunate to have them share their hard-earned wisdom in this quick video touching on asynchronous communication, tribal knowledge, and isolation syndrome.

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By: Ryan E. Day

Although Covid-19 shelter-in-home edicts usually use the terms “essential” and “nonessential,” most business owners think of doing business as essential for survival. Many organizations don’t have the resources to temporarily suspend business. They must find new ways to get it done.

In a Think with Google article, Gina Shilavi outlines ways people are dealing with the new, albeit temporary, reality of social distancing within a business context. “From troubleshooting poor internet connections to equipment hacks to sharing creative ways for remote team collaboration, [Youtube content creator’s] advice is resonating [with viewers],” she says. “In the past week alone, searches for 'telecommuting' in the U.S. reached an all-time high on Google and YouTube, with no sign of slowing down.”

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By: Ryan E. Day

The internet of things, or IoT, is a phenomenon that merges real-life devices with online control. Think smart home systems or maybe the FordPass Connect app. The manufacturing industry has already begun to leverage this idea to monitor heavy industrial equipment and analyze data from multiple machines and even multiple facilities. The information gathered helps manufacturing companies make more informed decisions concerning things like maintenance, operating expense, and asset utilization. Now this has given rise to the term, industrial internet of things, or IIoT.

The IIoT builds on IoT with sensors that monitor things like vibration, power consumption, and run times. Manufacturing equipment is now more readily available in IIoT-ready configuration, and there are numerous devices to retrofit existing machinery to an IIoT ecosystem.

Todd Mirzaian, director of sales at Ibis Networks, talks about smart plugs

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By: Ryan E. Day

Lean: an employee-championed method of waste reduction. Six Sigma: a robust method of defect reduction. Embracing both methods provides organizations with multiple tools for continuous improvement. Developed for manufacturing, lean Six Sigma has now been recognized by government agencies as a practical way to realize their outcome goals.

Improving response time for client services

Expediency is always crucial to the well-being of government services clients. California’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and Washington state’s King County Treasury Operations are two organizations that were motivated to explore more efficient processes to reduce response times for client services.

The improvements these teams sought to bring about would require changes in the way things were done, but change is not always easy, and the way forward can be elusive. New ways of doing things require new methods. For organizations as large and complex as these government agencies to effect positive change, robust tools are needed.

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By: Ryan E. Day

Lean looks at ways to reduce waste and improve flow. The principles are relevant to virtually every organizational sector and vertical. It’s no surprise, then, that so many organizations tout lean and devote resources to lean initiatives. But, too often, there is a tendency for a company to promote lean initiatives before it has really developed a lean culture. How about yours? Is it truly striving for a lean culture, or just paying lip service?

A lean culture is born when progress is made within four separate dimensions: cultural enablers, enterprise alignment, customer-focused results, and continuous improvement. If you’re not sure where your company stands on the lean continuum, walk through the following exercise and see what you discover.

Read the statements below each category and assess how frequently your organization exhibits these characteristics and behaviors. Respond to the statements with something along the lines of: almost always; sometimes; rarely; and almost never.

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