Tips for Improved Operators with IT Technology

January 30th, 2013

Improving your IT operator’s effectiveness on the job may be easier than you realize. With technology readily available, you may find it easy to get more with less time and effort. There’s no doubt that the industrial floor is changing. Businesses are employing new technologies at a very rapid pace, as they work to increase productivity while also working to maintain strict regulations. Efficiency and visibility in real time is a must, but it is not always that easy to put into place.

Technology Is Everywhere. Operators are using technology in various aspects. It is being used as a collaboration tool. It is being used for analytics, mobility, and visualization.

Consider the Possibilities

How is technology available to help the new generation? Consider the range of possibilities.

  • Mobile clients and location awareness are present. Operators are no longer stuck working in the control room. They can take their interface (whether in the form of a smartphone or a tablet computer) with them.
  • Alarm management, the thorn in the side of any operator, can be effectively managed through technology as well. In fact, in today’s traditional environment, about 75 percent of all alarms are considered noise. Intelligent alarm notifications ensure that the alarm is known about, and that information is delivered about it, but without the noise factor in play.
  • Managing security in the new age is possible too. Infrastructure and manufacturing locations are potential targets for all sorts of threats, including hackers. With the use of technology, operators can create a safer location for everyone at the location as well as for intelligence. Securing data and transfers is a main component of managing the business today.
  • Improving real time operations is a key component to the IT operator’s job. With tools like Real Time Operational Intelligence, it is possible to improve response. It works to bridge the gaps in the various systems in play on the floor. This includes things like analytics, security, and mobility. Integrating these can help to create powerful information in real time.

Is intelligence important to today’s operator? It most definitely is. Not only is the industrial floor now churning out products with fewer people, but added restrictions and limitations mean more for those people to think about and handle during the workday. When technology is added to the game, though, things change. It becomes more possible than ever to effectively manage the floor.

Finding the right technologies to fit your business is a critical step in maintaining your business operations. By providing operators with tools like smartphones and tablets, they can literally take business with them and handle it all on the go. So, too it’s important to make sure your company hires the best operators who are comfortable using this technology. This improves productivity, reduces risk factors, and makes the operator’s job easier to do overall.

Enjoy our previous posts on the topic of technology in the workplace.

To Cloud or Not to Cloud – The Pros and Cons for Business

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Manufacturing Makeover | Developing Your Employer Brand

January 25th, 2013

When it comes to manufacturing, it’s impossible not to think that the US brand has changed. It used to be that everyone bought and was proud of items that were “made in America” but things have changed significantly. What once was a symbol of quality and expertise lost its footing when other countries, promising lower operating costs, stepped into the picture. For those companies that want to drive business back, it’s essential to consider remaking a brand.

What Others Are Doing

Some companies realized long ago that business was turning to China and other outsourced countries because they could get the product for less. They worked hard, but some companies have managed to change their brand from “made in America” to “cheaper than China.” That’s getting attention. In fact, by changing their marketing message, many of these companies are seeing significant growth and are hiring to manage that growth.

The Perception of Manufacturing Jobs

Even though the US currently hovers around an 8 percent unemployment rate (as of December 2012), the manufacturing industry has jobs that are going unfilled. Why is this? It’s become people no longer want to get the training necessary to fill those positions or, if they have it, they do not want to take those positions. It’s due to bad perception about manufacturing jobs as a whole.

To change this, some programs are putting put in place to focus on STEM (the implementation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) into the curriculum. What people must understand, starting with school-aged future employees, is that manufacturing isn’t a dead industry. It’s just not more high tech than it used to be.

Education is definitely the place to start when it comes to changing the branding of manufacturing as a whole. However, there’s more to the process. What does your employer brand offer?

  • What does your company offer that can compete in some way with the competition?
  • How has your marketing message changed to reflect this to lure in new customers?
  • What steps has your organization taken to beef up the roll call?

Many companies are taking real action to improve the image of marketing both on the large scale and within their local industries. It’s making a difference, too. By making US manufacturing a good thing in the eyes of the talent in the US, it’s far easier to fill positions. It’s also the same way to get more business. Stark Talent offers staffing solutions for manufacturing businesses, while they grow and need to add more employees. Take the time to learn more about our manufacturing staffing services in Texas and Alberta, Canada.

Improve Manufacturing Operations | Manage Change

January 18th, 2013

In manufacturing, change is a part of the job. No matter the industry or position, things change. As an employee, it can be hard to swallow change, especially when it means learning something new or setting a new goal. Before you can lead your employees through such changes, you need to be ready to face them yourself.

To Improve You Must Change

There is always going to be change. In order to see any improvement, you need to see changes occurring. Companies cannot improve especially in today’s economy without making changes that affect the bottom line, the product, or the results. The key factor to remember is that it’s not about processes, but about focusing on people instead. What can you do?

One step in the right direction is to talk to the people that are actually involved in the processes that you plan to change. Gather applicable information from these employees (not from surveys or other plans.) The employee, in most cases, often knows exactly what you can do to improve the operational process to get the results you want. This is the information you need to have if you want to make changes to improve efficiency overall.

Why Don’t They Do It?

Why don’t managers talk to employees more often to gather this information? Many believe that employees will criticize the system, often the one that the current manager has put into place. That means the manager ends up with the blame on his shoulders. Some employees are unwilling to share the truth for fear of stepping on toes.

The key to overcoming this is the job of the manager. He or she needs to push aside the defensive attitude and realize that some processes may no longer be adequate or even effective in the current situation. How can you fix this problem? Don’t look at it has something you did wrong.

Seek It Out

It’s a good idea for managers to not only be willing to hear criticisms, but also to take steps to seek it out. That’s not always something people will do easily. Yet, by becoming an effective communicator and learning from employees (the ones on the job floor doing the work) it is possible to see continuous change improvement this way.

By creating the type of culture that encourages this type of behavior, for the employees not only to do their job but also to be critical thinkers, far more can be accomplished. It’s a great way to see change that starts with the people in the business. Hiring a temporary workforce who understands the aspect the change in manufacturing can be one way to handle this challenge. Stark Talent gives you tools to manage change in your staffing needs, with customized staffing support and quality employees on-demand.

Risk Management Opportunity in Manufacturing | Manufacturing Staffing Texas

January 11th, 2013

Supply chain management is risky and every manufacturing executive knows this fact. Yet, within this risk, there are opportunities for making positive changes for workflow processes, agility, and product quality in an ever-changing market. In many cases, this can also open up new market opportunities that can increase revenues.

Supply Chain Managers Understand the Risk of Supply and Demand

For the average supply chain manager, understanding global supply and demand is part of the process of being great in this role. Working in a volatile market is part of the job title, because it takes a smart professional to spot trouble ahead. When the supply of materials is limited or runs out, production can grind to a halt. This means having the foresight to plan for volatility by seeking new opportunities and alternatives all the time.

There will always be ups and downs in supply chain and asset management, yet outside of material supply changes, one of the most frustrating aspects of this is a staffing shortage. When the market is good, there is a demand for more personnel, yet when the market is not so good, the need for staffing diminishes. How can one remedy this area of risk management, yet remain on top of market fluctuations?

Temporary Staffing is an Opportunity to Reduce Risk

A solution that many industrial companies turn to is that of the temporary staffing outsource model. By working closely with a preferred staffing vendor, like Stark Talent, it’s possible to reduce or eliminate at least part of the risk associated with market fluctuations. Having a never-ending supply of quality manufacturing workers can help alleviate the stress of risk management.

In fact, many manufacturing companies have turned to temps for managing project work during peak production periods, to reduce the need to go into recruiting mode when things pick up or lay-off employees when things suddenly slow down. Staffers are pre-screened with experience in manufacturing so they are more productive from day one, making this an even more positive experience for all.

Identifying risks in supply chain management can also open up the doors to new and innovative ways of handling workflows, such as the use of technology in manufacturing. Opportunities exist in many areas of manufacturing that can be streamlined through well-developed products.