Environmental health and safety regulations affect all manufacturing plants whether they utilize a software platform or not. More and more facilities are looking for cloud-based solutions and ways to optimize resources to remain competitive in the industry. Managing environmental health and safety manually is prone to human error, and can consume a significant amount of work hours that could instead be directed toward other, more productive tasks. Cloud-based solutions free up the hours workers and operators spent searching for documents or compiling data into reports. Your facility may already have a system in place for monitoring environmental health and safety issues but may be looking for a genuinely cloud-based, integrative solution. You may not have a digital process, or software program at all. However, as EHS regulations tighten and fines are increasing, the cost of not taking EHS seriously is on the rise. Attempting to monitor EHS manually is an impediment to continuous improvement. The average manufacturer pays nearly $20,000 per employee per year to comply with federal regulations. Knowing how expensive noncompliance can be, is environmental health and safety software that important? Let’s look at what it is and what it can do for your facility.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” —Benjamin Franklin.
What Is Preventive Maintenance?
Even the best-built equipment will break down over time and need maintenance. Much like taking a car in for regularly scheduled oil changes, preventive maintenance is planned maintenance that a facility performs on its equipment to reduce the risk of failure. Also sometimes referred to as preventative maintenance, the goal is always to incur a lower cost in the present to prevent a higher cost from equipment breakdown in the future.
Specifications are the standards or the minimally accepted requirements for important features (or characteristics) of a product. Many manufacturers also set their own specifications. The confusion between specification compliance and quality can lead to financial loss, wasted time, and so on. For example, a product can fall within specifications but still prove unsatisfactory for clients. Additionally, manufacturers that rely solely on meeting specifications can miss out on opportunities to create more cost-effective processes. Thus, applying several statistical principles can immensely help a company identify ways to positively reform a process and product. By moving beyond the gauge parameters of specifications, manufacturers can boost quality with an efficient, optimized, and cost-effective process that performs better and satisfies the customer base.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first reached the U.S. in the spring of 2020, it disrupted businesses, forcing many people out of employment. While some employees could work remotely, many roles didn’t accommodate work-from-home arrangements. To cushion its citizens from the hardships of being out of work, the U.S. government established the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security (CARES) Act. This move played a role in shaping the future of work—for many people, the financial benefits extended well into 2021. Stimulus checks and additional unemployment assistance helped many families and individuals in need during shutdowns, but many employers faced labor shortages even after businesses were back up and running.
When I enter a manufacturing plant, the first thing I look for is paper — clipboards, paper forms, folders, envelopes, binders, etc. The presence of these items on the plant floor is a telling indicator of the plant's maturity and operations.
Don't get me wrong, I love paper, and it has many uses. As a technology, few alternatives are faster, more flexible, and cheaper to implement than paper. Paper itself is not the problem, but it is a crucial symptom pointing to deeper challenges in the factory. My goal in helping Operations improve their efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability is not "to eliminate paper," however that is the inevitable result.
For several years, the Canadian government has been planning a revamp of its health policies. As in many other nations, chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and high blood pressure are ongoing health concerns. Improved science has linked diet to these public health issues, thus spurring a need for an update to nutrition labelling — a change that hasn’t been made in over two decades.
Moreover, consumers are also changing their eating habits. They’re more educated than ever and are becoming increasingly aware of nutrition facts. The new labelling requirements aim to give consumers the information they need to make educated decisions about nutrient and calorie intake.
People are human, and mistakes are an inherent part of any process involving them. In manufacturing environments, operators juggle many tasks at once, including running machines and interfacing with systems.
Unfortunately, human error also has the potential to affect safety and quality outcomes in industries like Food & Beverage or Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG). Human error accounts for nearly one-fourth of all unplanned downtime. It can cost manufacturers millions, impede quality, and wreak havoc with compliance. Factors such as attention, memory, alertness, illness, and fatigue all play into human error and can trigger GMP violations.
In many areas of the U.S., businesses are reopening and companies are finding ways to adjust to new operational norms in this second phase of COVID-19. For food and beverage companies, there are many complexities to consider. While many things within manufacturing companies are changing, priorities such as safety and quality remain as important as ever.
To balance these priorities while adjusting to the evolving expectations of customers and employees, many companies are embracing remote operations. Although there are aspects of manufacturing which can’t be conducted offsite, with the right technology, a significant portion of business can be taken out of the facility. With this approach, companies can minimize the number of people entering and exiting the plant to control risks, keep employees satisfied, and respond to customer demands through new, automated solutions.
Manufacturing facilities, rely on OEE—overall equipment effectiveness—as the single best metric for identifying losses and benchmarking progress towards improving the performance of their equipment. Measuring OEE helps managers determine the percentage of manufacturing time that is genuinely productive.
Correctly measuring overall equipment effectiveness OEE in a manufacturing facility delivers several key benefits. By adding sensors to capture run, down, and cycle times, OEE allows facilities to increase production line availability, performance, and quality. The focus of this article is to understand why measuring OEE is so valuable in particular.
Business Intelligence for Your Food Facility
What if you could oversee the operations of your entire business from the phone in your pocket (or in your hand, right now as you read this)?
What if you could LINK to the real-time performance of your business’s food safety, quality and operations with the same ease that athletes track fitness activity through a Fitbit?