Author: infomedia

4 Tips for Fire Prevention in Manufacturing

It’s easy to get complacent about the sparks that fly around a manufacturing workplace. With things like welding happening all around us, sometimes we forget that sparks are a real safety hazard – and they can ignite a fire if we’re not diligent about fire safety.

Read on for four tips to help your manufacturing workplace prevent fires.


TIP #1: WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING

Even if it’s just a small welding job, protective clothing is a must. Sparks can be caught in collars, cuffs, or pockets, which is why personal protective equipment (PPE) is so essential during the welding process. Not wearing the proper attire can result in a very serious accident, even if the job seems like a simple, low-risk operation.

TIP #2: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Do you know how far sparks actually fly? The answer is about 35 feet – and they can stay hot enough to be a fire hazard, too. While it’s not usually possible to have that wide of a safe zone, it is possible to consider potential problems within that space, and make protective changes accordingly.

TIP #3: REMOVE COMBUSTIBLES WHEN POSSIBLE

It takes sharp focus to weld, which means that welders can easily be unaware of combustible items nearby (think flooring, partitions, and walls). Welding must be performed away from gasses, chemicals, plastics, or other flammable materials – even heavy dust vapors can pose a hazard. Welders must be aware of everything within the danger zone and take precautionary measures before beginning the job.

TIP #4: KEEP CRACKS AND CREVICES TO A MINIMUM

Hot metal can tuck itself away in cracks or crevices around a welding area, causing major problems. It may not be possible to seal every crack in the building, but even taking care of some of the more obvious ones can really help to reduce the risk of a fire. Keep working fire extinguishers nearby and make sure your employees know how to use them


WE TAKE FIRE PREVENTION IN MANUFACTURING SERIOUSLY

Safety is very important to us here at O’Neal, and we’re not willing to compromise when it comes to preventing fires on our manufacturing floor. That’s just one of the ways we strive to achieve the highest standard in the industry – and when you work with O’Neal, you’ll see just how far we rise above the competition. Learn more about us today.

Closing the Skills Gap

Manufacturing has come face-to-face with a skills gap as older workers retire and younger workers are few. There will be an estimated 3.5 million manufacturing jobs left vacant over the next 10 years, and as many as 2 million of those jobs could go permanently unfilled as retiring workers take decades of experience with them.

How can we solve this problem and close the skills gap? Read on to find out.


DEDICATE MORE FUNDING TO TECHNICAL TRAINING

One of the reasons behind America’s skills gap is the lack of funding for proper training programs. This issue has prevented students across the country from accessing the education they need to succeed in careers like manufacturing. Even though we desperately need young people to go into these fields, they don’t – and because there isn’t enough funding for trade skill programs from middle school through university, many students aren’t gravitating toward those lines of work.

The action step here is simple: students need to understand that trade skills are a viable alternative to the traditional undergraduate, graduate, office job career path. They may even find that skilled trades are more fulfilling work and offer more opportunities. But they’re not likely to understand these things unless trade education improves.

CHANGING THE CONVERSATION

The second half of this equation is the stigma many people have regarding skilled trades. Often, people who work in utilities, manufacturing, or the like are seen as “unsuccessful” – but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Not only do skilled trades offer a large amount of job security, they also provide opportunities for career advancement. Many people who work in fields like manufacturing report high levels of satisfaction in their work, citing good pay, good benefits, and a feeling of fulfillment. The issue, though, is that careers like medicine and law are still seen as more successful – and until that changes, the skills gap will likely remain a problem for our country.


THE IMPORTANCE OF MANUFACTURING

Here at O’Neal, we know firsthand the positive effect a thriving manufacturing industry can have on a city. We believe wholeheartedly in what we do, and we’re looking for that next generation to take O’Neal another hundred years into the future. Interested in learning more about who we are and what we do? Find out more about us today.

The Importance Of Supply Chain Managers

Many years ago, I managed an onsite VMI (vendor managed inventory) location for Class C items at a global agricultural equipment manufacturer. Think of Class C items as fasteners, or nuts and bolts – typically higher-volume, low cost, and “less critical” production components.

Listening for customer feedback in that environment was easier because I was “inside the machine.” Still, today, I hear customers say, “No news is good news,” and it reminds me how an engaged, consistent supplier can affect the supply chain. In today’s ocean of distractions, the best suppliers often manage their business with few ripples, and respond the best when waves hit.


THE CRITICAL ROLE OF SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGERS

Regardless of Class A, B, or C product classes, when a big enough wave struck – a critical quality problem or overseas freight stuck at the port causing a “Line Down” – the effect was the same. Supply chain managers stepped in to help resolve the issue expeditiously. My response was critical to managing the relationship. Taking proactive steps to mitigate inevitable, yet unexpected, issues in a B2B relationship shows a commitment and understanding of a shared mission.

Supply chain managers at large equipment manufacturers have cross-functional roles, including:

  • Planning
  • Purchasing
  • Production
  • Transportation
  • Storage & distribution
  • Risk mitigation
  • Supplier development

They execute strategy and help create a foundation to achieve company revenue targets, reduce costs, and implement change. They create solutions.

FILLING THE SUPPLY CHAIN TALENT PIPELINE

Industrial production will always ebb and flow, which creates challenges in managing the labor force. When an industry is in growth mode, supply chain roles are a prime area of professional advancement.

(For more information on industrial production forecasts, the Manufacturer’s Alliance for Productivity and Innovation publishes a quarterly report that provides a detailed look at the health of the domestic manufacturing sector.)

Many global OEMs have defined strategies for managing talent pre- and post-growth cycle. A typical scenario includes targeting industrial or materials engineering graduates for entry-level engineering positions, then coaching them on the fast track to supply chain management (SCM) roles during growth cycles.

The main challenge in filling the talent pipeline is determining how to transfuse the shop floor experience of retiring SCMs. Theoretical training is valuable, but has its limits. Drilling holes for 8 hours a day or being a part of a manufacturing team that “does what it takes” for customers — each provides a very different learning environment.

THE EDUCATION FACTOR

As a supplier of metal components, fabrications, and weldments to OEMs, one of our most prized commercial roles is facilitating knowledge transfer. It’s not uncommon for a new “Supply Chain Manager-Fabrications” to ask why a hole tolerance of .003″ is consistently unachievable cutting 1/2″ plate on a sheet laser.

On a handful of occasions, we’ve opened up our plants to recently-promoted SCMs for tours to discuss the many facets of fabrication, from cutting technologies and post-weld machining to launch and order fulfillment processes.


INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE?

We’ve gained an immense library of tribal knowledge over the last 90 years. Any of our7 North American locations are available for tours to learn more about basic or advanced metal fabrication.  Get in touch with us.

3 Benefits Of Supplier Consolidation

You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “less is more,” but does that apply to supply chain integration – and if so, how? It may seem like using fewer suppliers would put a manufacturer in a less stable position, both in terms of bidding competitively and risking the possibility of one of those suppliers going out of business.

However, because supplier consolidation happens after the bidding process, that shouldn’t be an issue – and if you’re only using trusted suppliers, you shouldn’t have to worry about them going out of business. Due diligence goes a long way in making supplier consolidation a reality, and once you’ve decided to do it, you can reap the following four benefits.


#1: WORKING WITH A SMALLER POOL OF TRUSTED SUPPLIERS

The whole purpose of supply chain integration is better communication, so it makes sense that working with fewer suppliers would help to facilitate that. If they’ve already proven themselves enough that you have decided to work with them, then why not work with them even more closely? If you find a supplier who consistently comes through for you, take full advantage of everything they have to offer.

#2: BETTER RAPPORT WITH SUPPLIERS

When you give your suppliers more of your business because you trust them, it puts you in a great position with them. They’ll offer you preferred pricing, more access to extended services, and priority service over less dedicated customers. You can also expect better access to upper management and a greater willingness to provide customized or small shipments.

#3: EASE AND EFFICIENCY WITH SHIPPING

When you consolidate suppliers, you’re ordering more items – and ordering them more often – from those suppliers. This makes ordering and shipping more streamlined, and cost-effectiveness is greatly improved. Shipments can be combined, and because you’re ordering more often, you’ll need to keep less inventory on hand. Essentially, your suppliers will become like an extension of your company, and you’ll get to know their people almost as well as you do your own.


LOOKING FOR A TRUSTED SUPPLIER? CONTACT O’NEAL TODAY!

We play an active role in helping our customers maintain a global level of competitiveness by focusing on reliability and offering a world-class supply chain combined with a high level of expertise. Ready to start a conversation? Contact us today.