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Security & Privacy in the Digital Age

Monday, April 11, 2016
posted by IMT-Webmaster

security-and-privacy-in-the-digital-age-webThe digital nature of today’s world has impacted all aspects of daily and professional life, including everyday operations within the manufacturing sector. From 3D printing to a new social media emphasis in B2B marketing, all aspects of manufacturing are quickly changing. One of the most recent and most concerning shifts involves security and privacy, with manufacturers increasingly finding themselves at risk of security breaches. A report from PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO survey found that digital technologies ensuring enhanced cybersecurity were deemed among the most important tools of the mobile age by 78 percent of CEOs.

Enhancing security and privacy is no easy task, especially given the rapidly-changing nature of the digital landscape and the swiftness with which hackers adapt to new security protocol. However, there are several steps manufacturers can take to minimize security risks. A few key approaches for enhancing security are detailed below:

New Technology and New Security Risks

The increased integration of advanced technology into everyday products is a boon for consumer engagement and satisfaction, but it is accompanied by numerous risks that were, at one time, nonexistent. Manufacturing.net highlights in-vehicle WiFi as a prime example of this problem. Drivers continually demand in-vehicle connectivity, but this opens up these businesses to a whole host of hacking risks. There is no easy solution, but careful consideration of the risks that may accompany a new product or feature is a good start. From there, manufacturers can implement controls designed to minimize the potential for future hacking.

cloud-security-webSecurity and the Cloud

Cloud technology has greatly enhanced mobility within the manufacturing industry, but the security and privacy risks that accompany this approach to data storage should be of great concern to manufacturers lacking advanced security systems and protocol. At minimum, all information stored on the cloud should be accompanied by several layers of protection, including firewalls, secure OS, and audit trails. Physical security protocols must also be considered, with potential safeguards including CCTV surveillance, several points of automated authentication, and the use of guards at all access points.

Intellectual Property and Inside Breaches

Intellectual property is one of the biggest areas of vulnerability for the average manufacturer. Although the potential for outside security risks should be carefully monitored, many manufacturers are at far greater danger of inside security breaches. Thus, it is important to assess how much access various individuals have to sensitive information. A variety of controls and layers can be implemented in order to minimize the risk of inside security issues.

The exciting opportunities of the digital age are, unfortunately, accompanied by numerous security risks. There is no way to completely eliminate these hazards, but the potential for security breaches can be greatly reduced through the implementation of enhanced physical and cybersecurity systems.

 

Sources

Forbes.com – Article

Manufacturing.net – Article

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Women in Manufacturing

Sunday, February 28, 2016
posted by IMT-Webmaster

women-in-manufacturing-webEven though there has been considerable progress in labor force participation especially when it comes to women in manufacturing, I think the percentage of women drops significantly as you look higher in the manufacturing ranks. Despite concerted efforts among co-operations, overall this picture has not improved for years. It is clear that women are over-represented in among unpaid home workforce and informal sectors across the board.

In the USA for example between 1970 and 2009, women went from holding 37% of all jobs to nearly 48%. That’s almost 38 million more women in the workplace. Without them, the economy would be 25% smaller today. McKinsey & Company (2011) argue that this is equal to the combined GDP of Illinois, California and New York. It is important to remember that an expanding workforce and rising productivity are two most important factors that drive GDP growth.

According to McKinsey & Company there are factors that limit women’s rise to the top in certain corporations. These are the need for personal achievement, more money and recognition just like men. Lack of role models, exclusion from the informal networks not having a sponsor in upper management to create for them opportunities is also an obstacle.  The assumption that women cannot handle certain jobs at the same time attend to family responsibilities is another limiting stereotype that managers use to deny women opportunities. Lastly women have their own limiting beliefs that hamper their development- such as waiting to attain more skills or just wanting to be asked.

Advantages on having women in the workplace

According to Zeneger Folkman, a corporation that researches on leadership, women in the workplace do rate higher than their male colleagues on 12 out of 16 characteristics required in manufacturing. Women significantly outscored men in taking initiative and being result driven. Below are additional areas showing why keeping a woman in the work place is being smart:

  • Women will often chose to remain in certain jobs when efforts are made to make them feel valued professionally.
  • Unlike men, women value the prospect of pouring their energies into making a difference and working closely with colleagues. They never want to give away that satisfaction for anything else.
  • Women are naturally good at listening than men. This is one vital skill that is critical in managing people if managers need to optimize productivity from employees as well as keep customers. According to Dr. Susan Sherwood, this is so because women are more discussion oriented than men who more often than not just want to take action. Men tend to communicate through activities rather than conversations.
  • Women are better listeners than men, and this is exactly the skill that women in manufacturing need to manage the workforce and clients. This is imperative because workers want bosses in who are willing to listen, feel and act from a knowledge point of view. This way they know that their challenges and grievances are being handled better.
  • Women are also better at consensus building unlike men who are would like to give directions. The obvious male dominated commanding leader  that runs from top to bottom is being phased out by women in the workplace who are willing to listen more. Female leaders are more likely to lead through influence that comes as result of building supportive relationships.
  • Women being mothers are traditionally more likely to be more tolerant with their employees than men. They are less likely to jump into instantaneous conclusion or make decisions too quickly or take action too soon. When people wait they will make more informed decisions.

Bottom line – A healthy workforce is a blended workforce where the right people are placed in the right positions.

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Meeting Expectations in a Challenging New Market for Light Fixtures

Monday, December 21, 2015
posted by IMT-Webmaster

meeting-expectations-in-a-challenging-webIn a world of social media and instant sharing, new trends and styles spread like wildfire through the internet. For this reason, it is important for those who work in metal manufacturing to be up to date on the latest and greatest in terms of style, effectiveness, and quality.

Any interior designer will say, lighting is the key to tying a beautiful room together, and whether that lighting is custom done or simply just something unique that can be found in a store, it’s sure to be a very important aspect of a room, that touches everything. Of course, at the center of every creative lighting fixture is a precise, well done piece of metal manufacturing. Truly the heart of any light fixture, among other things, masterful metal working. Of course, manufacturing said lighting fixtures can be a challenge. It’s hard to balance beautiful and trendy design with sustainability and business figures. For this reason, a proper metallist is needed, not just one who is able to fill an order quickly, but one who is able to be precise, and able to share a vision to meet a specific goal or trend. Creativity is not something that many people think of when the words metal fabricators are spoken (I know in my case it isn’t), but this is something that very much needs to happen in our modern day. Interior design is nearly a hobby, and there are countless blogs, Facebook groups, or Pinterest pages dedicated solely to perfect and modern interior design. These trends and styles spread through the populous very quickly, and for this reason, people who sell products meant to be used in interior design need to be up to speed with them.

Sourcing a metal manufacturing job can be a tough choice. International work can be cheaper, but at the same time it takes additional time to be completed and shipped. when working on the bleeding edge of unique and decorative designs and lighting fixtures, it’s vastly important to find a group which understand and work in mind with the needs of home decor specialists and enthusiasts. Effectively, if there is a need for vast amounts of creativity and attention to detail and trends, a domestic manufacturer such as Kryton Engineered Metals is the choice. People who care about getting things done right the first time, and in time to ride the wave of trends that can come and go so quickly in modern home decor.

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Kryton’s Place in the Changing Manufacturing Industry

Monday, June 29, 2015
posted by IMT-Webmaster

krytons-place-in-the-changingWhile strong underpinnings are an integral key to success in any industry, an ability to weather the storm and grow with the times are also necessary components.  American manufacturers capable of accomplishing this then serve as the “go to” business model ~ ever-affirming that a steadfast commitment to provide quality, exceptional products matters most. Kryton Engineered Metals is one such phenomenal manufacturer; here’s why:

Company Faces Challenges Head-On

When Kevin Harberts, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Kryton Engineered Metals started his company in 1982, it was just a dream fueled by a “can do” attitude. Kryton  has experienced tremendous business growth over the past 30+ years, but finds himself challenged by the recession that is hanging on in the Midwest. “Growth is hard, and growth is a challenge,” Harberts said. “It requires strategy and patience and an ability to keep both yourself and your entire company motivated and focused on keeping things moving forward in the right direction.” Kryton  repeatedly relies on a “make it happen” philosophy to meet customer demands while moving in a positive direction.

Looking for Record Growth by 2017

Business growth is a challenge even in the best of times, but when an economy is mired in a slump it makes the task just that much harder. Harberts looks for Kryton Engineered Metals to double in size by 2017, but he’s not expecting the growth to be easy. “We realize the process is going to be very strategic and is going to require a change in training and an overall change in the culture of our company,” he said. He’s looking to expand his sales base globally now that the company is the major supplier in North America. That doesn’t mean advancing globally won’t be a challenge. Europe’s economy continues to struggle. Metal exports to the region have dropped from 24% of all exports to just 9%. China is predicting a bad year as well, which, when combined with a strengthening dollar, means bad news for metal exports. Strengthening U.S. demand could offset a weakened picture overseas.

The Painted Vision Provides Clear Picture of Future

By providing a clear mission statement and spelling out the responsibilities on the shoulders of each employee, Kryton  paints a picture of the roadmap to business growth.

  • Accountability,
  • Integrity,
  • Improvement,
  • Quality,
  • Teamwork, and
  • Enthusiasm

are the values that make up the building blocks of Kryton’s  planned growth. The company focuses on exceeding customer expectations by utilizing continuous process improvement and building relationships with clients. “Kryton very much so has its eyes on the future. And, that’s why I liked the idea of instituting the Painted Vision idea,” Harberts said. “It’s a way of getting employees on board and in the loop.”

Business Growth at 12% Over Last Three Years

Through Kryton’s commitment to customer satisfaction on all levels, the company has experienced a 12% rise in profits in the last 36 months. Much of that is due to a satisfied customer base, but a good part of the growth goes back to the creation of the Z-team, a unit of super sales pros that keep the work flowing into the manufacturing group. The rise in sales translates into more modern equipment, better wages and expansion.

A Clean Facility is a Growing Facility

Visitors to Kryton’s manufacturing center constantly comment on the cleanliness of the facility. An organized and clean shop floor lends itself to more efficient production and reflects the pride the employees have in a job well done. Despite the constant hum of machinery and buzz of activity on the manufacturing floor, there is a real sense of teamwork between different departments and shifts.

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Maintaining Your Equipment

Monday, June 22, 2015
posted by IMT-Webmaster

maintainance-of-equipmentThe maintenance of a CNC laser cutting machine can often be overlooked when making the decision to purchase a laser cutting machine. However, the cost of maintenance should be factored in when deciding on investing in a CNC laser cutting machine. It’s important to look at all the factors of managing the maintenance of a laser cutter machine. Being aware can help to cut the costs of operating the equipment for the lifetime of the machine.

One factor to be aware of is keeping spare parts in stock. The best way to do this is to create an agreement with a machine tool builder, or even a third party builder to maintain a modest supply of important spare parts that are critical to maintenance. Stay away from keeping the more expensive parts in stock. Parts can get damaged or misplaced in the storage process and in the end, it’s not worth the risk. The downside to this is when a part does need to be replaced and it’s not onhand, production stops. To minimize this risk, make sure the supplier stocks the parts locally and can be counted on to make a prompt delivery. Steps can also be made to oversee the CNC laser cutting machine to spot problems before they need work in order to make a order for the part before it breaks.

To create more peace of mind for the owner of the CNC laser cutting machine, extended warranties and insurance for the equipment will ensure that if anything were to go wrong, the owner is covered. Make sure to be knowledgeable on what the warranty actually covers and what the contract terms are. This will make it easy when the time comes to file warranty or insurance claims.

To ensure that the proper maintenance is managed for the CNC laser cutting machine, it’s recommended that the maintenance schedule is followed that is provided by the machine builder. The team in charge of maintenance should also keep a record of what maintenance has been provided and conditions of the machine should also be noted. By following these tips, the maintenance of your laser cutting machine will be kept up to date and the likelihood of machine breakdown and a pause in production will be kept to a minimum.

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