This is an original article by Ken Voytek, Chief Economist at NIST MEP.
Written by Celia Paulsen, NIST.
Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered robots, 3D printing, the Internet of Things (IoT)...there’s a whole world of advanced manufacturing technology and innovation just waiting for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) who want to step up their digital game. Unfortunately, manufacturing digitization can present some fundamental challenges, like added cybersecurity risk.
Have you had a chance to sit back and think about how the pandemic has changed your long term business goals? Although we are still not out of the woods yet, now may be a good time to think about revising your strategic plan to account for the recent disruption.
During these unprecedented times, one group stood out for their contributions to society. Those at the frontlines! Nurses, doctors, grocery store clerks, and manufacturing associates. “Production” associates, as this recent article points out, deserve our appreciation for providing us with the goods and services we need. Arguably risking themselves in the process!
As Illinois manufacturers settle back into a “new normal” there is no shortage of responsibilities weighing on our minds. One area that can easily get overlooked as we move through this uncertain time is your Quality Management Systems (QMS). With our focus elsewhere, new procedures or training can get implemented without proper documentation. We can get behind on our internal auditing schedule. Or we lose sight of action items from prior meetings and audits.
If you could do one thing to prevent someone from contracting COVID-19, would you? If you could do one thing to help put the economy back on the path to recovery, would you? Well, you can! And, it’s a simple thing to do. Anyone can do it. But a lot of people aren’t.
If it is that easy, why isn’t everyone doing it? Good question. But here is all you have to do – wear a mask. It’s that simple. It doesn’t have to be fancy – a simple cloth face covering can make a big difference.
As businesses open back up everyone’s attention is on keeping their employees & coworkers safe. While CDC guidelines regarding face coverings, frequent hand washing, and disinfecting protocols are the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19, there are other ways for organizations to slow the spread. The ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) formed a task force to provide guidelines on how a building’s HVAC systems can help slow the spread.
Standard work means determining and documenting the ideal process to produce correct and consistent results. It represents the best sequence and the most efficient methods to perform a process. It is considered a way to achieve the highest possible degree of consistency in any process. The purpose is to ensure that everything is done by everyone in a similar manner and carry out the work that achieves the highest quality, best service, and lowest cost possible.
In the world of Lean Manufacturing, this definition and adherence to Standard Work has resulted in positive, repeatable results in a variety of industries. In today’s Covid-19 environment, practitioners with years of experience in industry strongly believe that Standard Work will and should be one of the foundational tools to develop, implement, and maintain strategies to combat the Coronavirus in a manufacturing environment.