Zane Patalive’s picture

By: Zane Patalive

Meet Humphrey. Humphrey is a gray squirrel that a friend of mine rescued as an abandoned baby squirrel. For weeks, my friend and his family nursed the young creature by hand. While Humphrey was growing, he became very friendly with the family members, often perching on their shoulders and snuggling in their arms for naps.

Humphrey was permitted the run of the house and had a basket for his sleeping quarters, which he often used at night. As time passed, he grew strong enough to survive on his own, and the family released him back into the wild to enjoy the life of a healthy gray squirrel. Having grown fond of his human family, Humphrey built a nest in a tree just outside their back door and still hops on laps and shoulders while the family sits together outside.

The ‘tail’ of two cities

So how does a story of a rescued squirrel connect with the timely topic of cybersecurity? There is a rampant and significant vulnerability that exists for homeowners and enterprise businesses alike, and in many ways correlates with Humphrey’s story.

Deborah Blumberg’s picture

By: Deborah Blumberg

In the summer of 2014, Aruna Ranganathan was doing postdoctoral research at a garment factory in Bangalore, India, when she noticed that some worker stations—but not all—were equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, a tool used to quantify workers’ output.

Ranganathan, now an associate professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, wondered how the technology impacted workers’ productivity, a topic that’s received little attention.

So she spent the next several months embedded in the plant, then analyzed multiple years of the factory’s data to find out. Ultimately, she discovered that when companies quantify simple tasks, productivity goes up. Quantifying complex work, however, has the opposite effect: It drives productivity down.

What’s behind this phenomenon? When workers completing simple tasks have their work quantified, they’re more likely to turn the experience into a personal game, a concept known as “auto-gamification.” They compete against themselves to increase efficiency, even when there’s no reward for doing so and no punishment if they don’t.

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.

Tim Mouw’s picture

By: Tim Mouw

To establish a successful quality control program, you need good instrumentation, robust software, and trained users. But even with everything in place, there are some common pitfalls to watch for when using a spectrophotometer to analyze color quality.

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.

Zach Winn’s picture

By: Zach Winn

Millions of cocoa farmers live in poverty across western Africa. Over the years, these farmers have been forced to contend with geopolitical instability, predatory loan practices, and a general lack of information that hampers their ability to maximize yields and sell crops at fair prices. Other problems, such as deforestation and child labor, also plague the cocoa industry.

For the last five years, however, cocoa supply chains in villages around the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, and Ghana have been transformed. A suite of digital solutions have improved profitability for more than 200,000 farmers, encouraged sustainable and ethical production practices, and made cocoa supply chains more traceable and efficient.

The progress was enabled by SourceTrace, a company that helps improve agricultural supply chains around the world. SourceTrace offers tools to help manage and sell crops, buy and track goods, and trace products back to the farms where they were made.

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.

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