Operations Article

Celia Paulsen’s picture

By: Celia Paulsen

October happens to be (among other things) Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dental Hygiene Month, National Bullying Prevention Month, and my personal favorite, National Pizza Month. Plus, it’s Halloween! But I digress. We’re here to talk about cybersecurity.

Every manufacturer should hold cybersecurity awareness training for all its staff at least once a year. Many people are spooked by the mere mention of the words “cybersecurity” and “training,” so October could be an appropriate time for it. Your training should, at a minimum, cover relevant company policies such as your IT security, information security, and physical security.

Over the years many of us have taken this type of training and learned to dread it: Training where someone gives the exact same cybersecurity speech they gave last year, and then hands out a paper for you to sign saying you were there. A real snooze fest. This kind of training does its job as far as meeting the bare minimum but has little impact on actually molding employee behavior.

Eric Stoop’s picture

By: Eric Stoop

Data can transform manufacturing. It’s also a term that continues to prompt discussions within the industry. People have been saying it for years now, and there is plenty of empirical evidence: Data are the way forward in business generally and manufacturing in particular.

But right now, when people talk about data, they often mean either data analytics or automation using artificial intelligence (AI), a technology that is ‘fed’ with data. Often, these discussions focus on marketing and the customer experience, or on cutting business costs by automating specific processes.

All of these things are important, and many of them can be useful to manufacturing businesses, but they don’t entirely represent the potential of data in manufacturing.

What’s more, amidst talk of crunching numbers and automation, it has become too easy to lose track of the human element. But most plants still rely heavily on human behavior, and on processes undertaken by people. If these aren’t done correctly, the business will become inefficient at best, and catastrophically dysfunctional or dangerous at worst.

Jérôme-Alexandre Lavoie’s picture

By: Jérôme-Alexandre Lavoie

On Sept. 24, 2020, Creaform released the latest products in its R-Series scanners and software, which can increase productivity by detecting and addressing issues using automated dimensional quality control.

The lineup includes the new MetraSCAN-R BLACK robot-mounted optical CMM scanner, four different models in the CUBE-R 3D scanning measuring machine, and the brand-new VXscan-R digital twin environment software module that represents a key element in the company’s turnkey automated quality control solution suite.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

More than 80 percent of U.S. food manufacturing plants operating today were built more than 20 years ago and may lack safety features. The average age of manufacturing assets and equipment currently in operation in the United States, according to IndustryWeek, is close to 20 years, and since 1990, the age of assets has virtually doubled.

This means equipment such as conveyors, pallet jacks, and tuggers represent myriad potential safety hazards. Addressing those issues means that more maintenance, more labor, more training, and more certifications are required, all of which come with a steep price tag.

Multiple Authors
By: Claire Harbour, Antoine Tirard

In 2005, Fast Company published the now famous article, “Why We Hate HR.” Echoing a popular workplace belief, the authors asked why HR was broken and how it could be fixed. Human resources has evolved since then, with some corporations starting to think differently about the “people function.”

One hallmark of this thinking is that HR should be led by someone with strategy and operations experience. As a result, an increasing number of companies have appointed chief human resources officers (CHROs) from business functions. Yet, the debate remains open whether this novel practice is wise. As experts in career and talent management, we set out to shed light on this question by meeting business leaders who switched to the top HR role.

Engineering wellness and engagement at Flipkart

Where Krishna grew up, in Southern India, the most esteemed careers were engineering, medicine, and chartered accountancy. Six months into a degree in engineering, Krishna dropped out when he realized he hated it, a rare move in his community. Instead, he pursued the loftier discipline of pure mathematics.

NordVPN Teams’s picture

By: NordVPN Teams

The FBI reported earlier this year that complaints of cyber attacks received by its cyber division had risen to almost 4,000 a day—a 400-percent increase over pre-coronavirus numbers. In one four-month period (January to April), 907,000 spam messages, 737 incidents related to malware, and 48,000 malicious URLs—all related to Covid-19—were also detected by one of INTERPOL’s private-sector partners.

Hardware-reliant, legacy, and even hybrid network infrastructures have suffered terribly from a lack of quick-fix solutions. These solutions are necessary to facilitate the exponential increase in remote “offices” that require adequate protection.

“One of the things that’s changed is that corporations no longer have control over the infrastructure their employees use for work,” says Juta Gurinaviciute, chief technology officer at NordVPN Teams.

Although no network is immune to attacks, a stable and efficient network security system is essential for protecting data.

Ayman Jawhar’s picture

By: Ayman Jawhar

As a business leader, you probably think similarly to McKinsey about what makes a great product manager (PM): a perfect combination of skills like business acumen, market orientation, and technical skill as well as soft ones... the usual suspects.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your position), just as our management thinking is becoming outdated and requires reform, we also need to update our view of this ultimate management role.

Dawn Bailey’s picture

By: Dawn Bailey

I recently listened to a Ted Talk by Simon Sinek, author of the book Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (Portfolio, the Penguin Group, 2009), and it caused me to reflect on some key questions in and related to the Baldrige Excellence Framework, as well as leadership in general.

Celia Paulsen’s picture

By: Celia Paulsen

A survey from 2014 found that small and medium-sized manufacturers do not like to compromise on quality when it comes to communications devices, vehicles, or tea (yes, tea—the survey respondents were probably British) but were more likely to skimp when it came to things like manufacturing equipment. Whether it is a new computer for the office or a welding station for the shop floor, purchasing new equipment is a decision about risk. A poor purchasing decision can result in a waste of resources and possibly a safety or cybersecurity incident.

Before you purchase or otherwise acquire a piece of equipment, whether it be a CNC machine or a cell phone, there are a lot of things to consider: How will it be financed? What special safety or cybersecurity concerns come with it? What will maintenance look like? How long is it expected to last?

It can be easy to overlook some aspect of risk involved in a purchase decision when overwhelmed with options. It can be especially difficult to know what to buy when comparing three different products that seem very similar.

NIST MEP has created a pre-purchase guide that might help.

Eric Weisbrod’s picture

By: Eric Weisbrod

The idea of digital transformation can be scary. The growth of technology is outpacing a comfortable pace of adoption for many manufacturers. But remaining content with the status quo often means being left behind. Digital transformation has become an imperative to give manufacturing organizations the flexibility and agility required to overcome business disruptions and adapt to rapidly changing and demanding global markets.

Digital transformation of quality management is a process that depends on something you already have: quality data. Your quality management system is key to optimizing all your quality operations, including supplier and materials management, production processes, quality checks, packaging, and shipping.

InfinityQS calls this holistic approach “manufacturing optimization.” It starts with improving the way you use data to answer the strategic, big-picture questions that truly matter to your business.

Limits of the status quo

The barriers to transformation are often a result of operational and resource challenges that typically boil down to one thing: everyone’s plate is already full. Whether managing and maintaining servers and IT projects, or running day-to-day production, no one has the time to take on new transformation projects.

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