Risk Management Article

Brandon Cornuke’s picture

By: Brandon Cornuke

Manufacturers work hard to minimize disruptions to their operations and invest significant resources to minimize production risk. They also are under constant pressure to find new ways to deliver more value to their customers. Sustainable business growth is critical to delivering this value. Many achieve that sustainability through experimentation.

But innovation and experimentation involve risk, which could lead to wasted resources, not meeting expectations, or a lack of return on investment. Sometimes precious resources will be devoted to experiments that will not work out. But just as there is the risk of failure, there is risk associated with not being innovative as well. For instance, the business may not stay competitive.

Manufacturers can reduce their innovation risk by linking initiatives to the unmet needs of their customers. They need to anticipate how their customers’ needs will change in the future.

Ann Brady’s default image

By: Ann Brady

Cybercrime is on the rise. And as we move deeper into the digital age, the era of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, it’s also growing more sophisticated and severe, with serious consequences. As cyber criminals become more adroit, cybercrime has touched all our lives in one way or another.

Cyberattacks can range from hacking into systems and social media, phishing attacks, malicious software including ransomware, identity theft, social engineering, and denial-of-service attacks. This is painful both personally and financially, causing untold damage and destruction, as well as leaving society and citizens vulnerable. According to McAfee, the computer security software company, the cost of these cyberattacks is increasing and amounted to about $1 trillion in 2020.

Multiple Authors
By: Oliver Binz, Elia Ferracuti, Peter Joos

In early 2021, people had already started commenting that inflation might be coming back. But few people could predict just how high it would go. In January 2022, year-on-year inflation in the OECD area rose to 7.2 percent. Consumer price inflation in the United States hit a 40-year high of 7.5 percent that same month. The ongoing war in Ukraine is now adding to these inflationary pressures.

This raises the question: How do managers deal with such macroeconomic shocks? As professors of economics and accounting, we’re naturally interested in examining how managers decipher macroeconomic signals. Are they able to understand the drivers of these signals and split them up into relevant components? And what can firms do to help their managers make the best decisions?

Steven I. Azizi’s picture

By: Steven I. Azizi

It has been more than five decades since Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted to outlaw harassment and discrimination against workers in American workplaces. Unfortunately, workplace harassment is still a serious problem for millions of workers in the country.

Different forms of harassment, whether they’re based on gender, sexual orientation, age, race, color, ethnicity, physical disability, or religious beliefs, result in a hostile work environment where workers are subject to unrelenting insults, intimidation, rude treatment, or unfair criticism.

As an employer or someone responsible for managing employees in your workplace, you can take steps to prevent workplace harassment. When an employee complains that they are experiencing harassment at work, you—the employer—have a moral, ethical, and legal obligation to investigate all such charges thoroughly without any delay.

Not many business owners realize that addressing workplace harassment can improve their bottom line. When workers feel protected and supported in the workplace, they are likely to be more productive team players and committed to achieving shared goals.

Oliver Laasch’s picture

By: Oliver Laasch

It’s been a tough few years for people who own or manage a business. Lockdowns shut down whole industrial sectors worldwide, turning profitable businesses into loss-making ones, while a lot of smaller businesses went under.

Many companies will now be hoping for a return to some type of normality after Covid. However, there are strong signals that a resumption of how things were isn’t in the cards anytime soon. The world appears to have entered into an age of accelerating grand crises.

NIST’s picture

By: NIST

To combat Covid-19 amid supply shortages in 2020, healthcare facilities across the United States resorted to disinfecting personal protective equipment (PPE), such as N95 masks, for reuse with methods such as ultraviolet (UV) light. But questions lingered about the safety and efficacy of these methods and how best to implement them.

Now, in perhaps the most rigorous examination of UV light’s effects on N95 masks yet, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have shown that these masks can be disinfected with little effect on their form or function. In a study published in the Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the researchers, with help from federal and private partners, scrutinized UV-exposed N95 masks for traces of virus and looked for changes in the shape of their fibers, ability to filter out aerosols, and other properties.

Eric Pauley’s picture

By: Eric Pauley

Organizations’ failure to properly manage the servers they lease from cloud service providers can allow attackers to receive private data, as research my colleagues and I conducted has shown.

Cloud computing allows businesses to lease servers the same way they lease office space. It’s easier for companies to build and maintain mobile apps and websites when they don’t have to worry about owning and managing servers. But this way of hosting services raises security concerns.

Each cloud server has a unique IP address that allows users to connect online and send data. After an organization no longer needs this address, it’s given to another customer of the service provider, perhaps one with malicious intent. IP addresses change hands as often as every 30 minutes as organizations change the services they use.

Mark Hembree’s picture

By: Mark Hembree

As a late Boomer, I can say my particular age group is better positioned than any to marvel at and bemoan what’s become of journalism and publishing in the last 40 years.

Not that I’m a Luddite. The advent of word processors was a boon to ham-fisted typists like me. A word processor that actually stored files? Outstanding! And then, not too much later, it was amazing to see computers that allowed editors to search lists and view layouts.

Fine, just go ahead and say it now: “OK, Boomer.” I don’t care—no one can disagree that even the world’s greatest publications have more typographical and factual errors than ever. Even well-respected, mainstream publications run articles that end with a disclaimer, something like, “If you spot an error, let us know...” which I would rate right alongside, “Your call is important to us.”

The reason for the higher rate of error is, or should be, obviously simple: Publishers spend less time (read: money) on editorial quality assurance.

You could see it coming even years before it actually happened. With the efficiencies that computers brought came corporate daydreams of massive savings on labor, and soon, “right-sizing.” Typesetters? Paste-up artists? Film strippers? Gone the way of Linotype, pica rulers, hot wax, and four-color film separations.

Del Williams’s picture

By: Del Williams

From design to prototyping to manufacturing and scaling up, manufacturing is fraught with risk. Machining of critical parts may not be on the front burner until well into a product’s development. This isn’t in stakeholders’ best interests.

Take products with semiconductors as a component, for instance. The semiconductor components themselves must be mounted in enclosures machined from various specialty metals and alloys. The reality is that a failure in an electronic-product enclosure, or a non-semiconductor component, can be just as catastrophic as a failure of the semiconductor itself.

Given the critical nature of these components, the “cutting edge” of machining now goes far beyond having the latest CNC equipment and accessories. It also means engaging at the earliest stages of the product development process using the latest in design for manufacturing (DFM), simulation, and process verification processes prior to cutting the first part.

Wade Schroeder’s picture

By: Wade Schroeder

On May 12, 2021, President Biden signed the Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. Among other items in the order was a requirement that every vendor that supplies the federal government with software must provide a software bill of materials (SBOM) with their product.

Given that the federal government spends nearly $100 billion a year on IT services, the executive order has put a spotlight on the concept of an SBOM and cybersecurity in general.

Nowhere are these issues more pressing than in the medical device industry, where lives depend on the development of safe and secure software. So today, let’s take a look at the SBOM and the role it plays in medical device manufacturing and cybersecurity.

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