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Protect What You Connect!

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Internet-of-Things

Constant Connectedness

Connected devices that IT for companies is responsible for is massive. When you think about it, 15 years ago was quite different. Today’s world includes connectivity in cars, appliances, lighting, heating, cameras, watches, phones, computers, and the list goes on! Almost everything has definitely been revolutionized.

With this constant connectedness, however, comes a significant increase in the security that is required. While Internet-connected devices provide a degree of comfort in our lives, in they also necessitate that we share more additional information than ever before. The security of this information, along with the security of these devices, isn’t necessarily certain or automatic. This means that assets, data and personal information might be at risk without your even realizing it.

Therefore how do we secure these digital assets. First and foremost, you need to have an inventory in place of all your connected devices. That is not necessarily an easy task, but it is vital to addressing security. Next is knowing what those devices are connecting to; depending on the application and the data, will determine additional levels of security. Whether it is your computer, smartphone, or other network devices, the best defense is to stay on top of things by updating to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. If you have the option to enable automatic updates to defend against the latest risks, turn that on as well On the topic of cybersecurity, there is a rampant and significant vulnerability that exists for homeowners and enterprise businesses alike.

Topic-of--Cybersecurity

Topic of Cybersecurity

In our technology-laced society, “connected things,” or the Internet of Things (IoT), are sprawling. The IoT moniker represents the plethora of internet-connected items that provide useful but narrowly focused benefits. An estimate from SecurityToday.com states that there will be 31 billion (with a b) IoT devices installed in 2020 and more than 75 billion connected by 2025! I know in my own house, my refrigerator and stove are both connected to the internet as well as my home’s thermostat, doorbell, TVs, and smoke detectors. Additionally, there are “smart” coffee makers, slow cookers, lightbulbs, speakers and the list goes on and on. Pretty soon, if a device plugs into the wall, it will also “plug” into the internet.

So, what is the cybersecurity concern that haunts every CIO and should also haunt every homeowner and manufacturer in our country? The reality is IoT devices are engineered to be functional, inexpensive, easy to setup and easy to use, but not necessarily secure. As a result, there is a rapidly growing installation base of questionably secured devices that are providing a heyday for hackers. The true vulnerability is not necessarily losing function of an IoT device to a hacker, but rather, offering a hacker backdoor access into a corporate or home network; potentially exposing valuable data for theft or destruction. This is how Target was hacked in 2013, resulting in over $200 million in losses for the company.

This is Crazy!

Stop and consider the valuable data that lives on your home or business’s network. If a hacker were to infiltrate your environment and launch a ransomware attack, removing your access to all of this information, would you be able to recover without paying the ransom? Making matters worse, what if the hacker first destroyed your backups prior to launching the ransomware attack.  Do you have offline data backups that you could use for recovery? We could stop here and write an exposé on the need to implement a resilient backup solution, but that is for another day.

With our internet of things devices, if we only focus on their functionality but ignore their inherent security risks, we are simply in the queue, waiting for our data and systems to be victimized.

Protection

In order to protect our sensitive data from hackers, we need to reconfigure our networks so that we can enjoy the functional benefits of our IoT devices while maintaining separation from our valuable data systems. The networking terms for this are segregation and isolation.

With our IoT devices, we need to consider putting our valuable assets in a “cage” in order to protect them from a possibly hacked IoT device. Additionally, since numerous IoT devices typically coexist on a network, we may also want to isolate each IoT device into their own cages to prevent a hacker from being able to continue their hack once they penetrate one device.

Stay in Your Lane

Stay-In-Your-Lane

Be it a small home network or a large corporate network, segregation and isolation is a fairly easy solution to implement, although it does take planning and requires capable hardware. There are numerous guides available on the internet to give specific instructions on how to segregate and isolate devices on specific pieces of hardware, namely firewalls, switches and wireless controllers, but we will only address this conceptually.

Internet Of Things

Segregation allows our IoT devices to operate on our network and connect to the internet, but then limits their ability to “talk” to other internal network devices. This solution effectively places a firewall between each IoT device which allows a network administrator to specifically limit the connections permitted from that device to other devices. Using segregation and isolation, if an individual IoT device was compromised, the hacker would be isolated from the rest of the components in the network.

Wi-Fi

Wired Or Wireless

Segregation and isolation also use their own unique set of configuration tools and settings. Most home and small office wireless routers have the ability to create an additional guest wireless network that is separated from the full access primary wireless network. Guest settings are a preconfigured segregation solution offered in many routers that will only permit connected systems to access the internet and will prevent them from connecting to devices on the other networks, wired or wireless. Additionally, some routers will also offer isolation which will prevent these devices from being able to see any other device connected to the guest wireless network. Consider connecting non-critical IoT devices to the guest network to implement segregation. For enterprise networks, segmentation is accomplished with virtual local area networks (VLANs), routing rules and access rules, which provides an enhanced level of customized protections.

IoT devices generally do not allow access to their built-in management tools, so we largely are unable to perform simple security functions on them, such as changing default usernames and passwords. As such, separation is our primary tool for securing these devices within our networks. Implement sensible safety protocols will help us all to live safely, securely and happily ever after.

 

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Manufacturing

7 Essential Traits to Build a Resilient Growth Strategy

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Traits to Build a Resilient Growth

 

7 Essential Traits to Build a Resilient Growth Strategy

In their recent IndustryWeek webinar “The 7 Essential Traits of a Resilient Growth Strategy,” Chris Scafario and Sylvia Wower from the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center (DVIRC, part of the Pennsylvania MEP) shared insights from their experience helping companies innovate, market and grow their businesses successfully. Together, Chris and Sylvia have delivered over 900 projects to manufacturers across the country and helped generate over $300 million in value-added impact through market research, lead generation, digital marketing and overall growth planning. Their insights and tips are especially important now and can be adapted by any manufacturer in any industry.

manufacturing-career-opportunities

The definition of 2020 is adversity, and we all have been impacted in ways we never could have imagined a year ago. It’s taken us all by surprise, yet some manufacturers are making the most of this really trying situation – even thriving and growing their business.

While we couldn’t predict all the challenges 2020 has brought, disruption and economic downturn can happen to any company at any time. Disruptions can be intimidating, but companies that put thought and resources into contingency planning and continuous improvement are often in a better position to respond to adversity. Investing in a growth strategy and marketing are important to building resiliency in your firm.

What do resilient companies do differently? Here are seven traits discussed by DVIRC’s Chris and Sylvia.

1. Astute Situational Awareness

Too many companies are oblivious to changes around them while an equal number become frozen because they don’t know how to adapt. Business leaders should be aware, alert and engaged. This means talking to suppliers in the market segments they serve. Constant awareness of what’s coming helps companies avoid being blindsided. The OODA Loop is a tool that can help: observe the current situation, orient yourself to where you want to go, decide on a path and how to handle challenges, and act on the plan to implement your decisions. Planning a growth strategy and driving change takes time and structure. Market analysis, structured product development, and consistent marketing and sales efforts make all the difference!

2. Leverage Organizational Competencies

Why do companies buy from you instead of other suppliers? Your strengths are important, but they shouldn’t be all you think about. Resting on your strengths can be profitable but leads to stagnation. Companies that need to reboot and recapture the spirit of innovation can find a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) helpful. It’s a great tool for sparking a critical dialogue with diverse members of your team. It’s also important to talk to customers and suppliers to get the external perspective. Talking to these folks can instantly clarify opportunities such as problems your firm can solve. A single success such as meeting a customer’s need can transform your company culture and your employees into innovative problem-solvers.

3. A Growth Strategy Should Be as Unique as the Business It Serves

2020 has suddenly left many companies with no customers and nothing for their employees to do. What do you do to keep the business going and keep people employed? The Doblin Model is a tool that helps companies think through the core elements of how they add value. It can enrich existing and new products and makes it easy to spot missing dimensions that will strengthen a product. The Doblin Model can also create insights about your competition. Recognizing core elements and envisioning complementary products and services can help a company diversify … or in 2020, to pivot successfully and pursue an incredibly rapid path to innovation by serving, for example, current needs for personal protective equipment.

4. Take Thoughtful Actions That Are Measured and Managed

Set key performance indicators that keep your company on track and moving forward. SMART goals help you grow by putting you on a path to selling or marketing to carefully identified target audiences. Many smaller manufacturers struggle to put structure around how they target new opportunities. SMART goals help provide a structure and a pathway to lead generation and diversification. Market scouting (more on this later) is key to this – it’s a major effort and relies on structure, goals and transparency with your team.

5. Connecting Individuals With Opportunities

Make connections that lead to growth. Imagine new markets and new audiences and go a step further to identify the individuals that you hold in high regard in those markets. You know your firm can add value, so communicate that to the right people in the markets you like. Build their trust, and you’ll be positioned for success when you’re ready to expand. And don’t forget your current customers. There are frequently opportunities within your existing customer base. Find the time to review your customers and their market segments and then prioritize the path of least resistance toward increased sales!

6. Adapt Quickly to Changing Conditions

This is sort of a cousin to situational awareness. Markets can change quickly. Customers find other suppliers. It happens. Market scouting is a process that helps you face adversity with structure. You take a hypothesis and test it to see if it’s the best way forward. Market scouting involves getting your ideas in front of the people you think will benefit from them, and then tracking data from these interviews to identify opportunities. Basically, you come up with an idea and take it directly to potential end users to see if they would use it. Market scouting is a rapid-fire way to move forward if you think your existing core competencies match the needs of other industries.

7. A Resilient Growth Strategy Energizes the Culture of a Workplace

Companies that succeed have a culture of success. Yes, the saying is true: success breeds success. If people in your organization love what they do, they will do their best. If they see your company is innovative, they’ll be innovative. The path of continuous improvement is contagious, and it makes your company a very desirable place to work. Attracting the best talent means that growth sustains itself. You really can’t overstate the impact an energized workplace has on manufacturing. The role of being resilient doesn’t fall on one person – it’s not just the CEO’s responsibility. Your company’s culture should be one of resilience and problem-solving. With that, tremendous growth can occur.

Traits to Build a Resilient Growth

Where to Start?

Take the first step forward that is most comfortable for your organization. For many companies, that’s simply a customer survey. You can also contact lost customers to see how you can earn their business back and follow up with prospects that didn’t pan out in the past. Manufacturers can often find opportunities instantly by asking customers what’s next and how they can help.

Good times for your business can change on a dime, so don’t be complacent. Start creating a resilient growth strategy for your firm. Review the tools mentioned above and pick one that feels right for your business. Work with your team – from leadership to the shop floor – and your customers throughout the process. Build resiliency and innovation into your company’s culture so if market or customer demand suddenly changes you can adapt and thrive no matter the circumstance.

Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Let CONNSTEP be your resource to help your company move forward faster.

This article originally appeared on NIST’s Manufacturing Innovation blog and is reprinted with permission.

The post 7 Essential Traits to Build a Resilient Growth Strategy appeared first on CONNSTEP.

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By: CONNSTEP Team
Title: 7 Essential Traits to Build a Resilient Growth Strategy
Sourced From: www.connstep.org/business-growth/7-essential-traits-to-build-a-resilient-growth-strategy/
Published Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2021 21:06:54 +0000

7 Essential Traits to Build a Resilient Growth Strategy

 

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Manufacturing

The Symphony of Craftsmanship: Illuminating the Enigmatic World of Assembly Line Jobs

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This article aims to shed light on the intricate world of assembly line jobs. It will explore their evolution, the skill and precision they require, the challenges faced by workers, the impact of technology, and the future prospects of this sector.

Operations Manager in Manufacturing

By adopting an objective and impersonal approach, this academic piece aims to provide an unbiased analysis of assembly line jobs. It appeals to readers who seek information without personal biases.

Through this exploration, readers will gain a deeper understanding of the symphony of craftsmanship that underlies these enigmatic jobs.

The Evolution of Assembly Line Jobs

The evolution of assembly line jobs can be traced back to the early 20th century and has since undergone significant changes in terms of production methods and technological advancements.

Automation’s role in assembly line jobs has been instrumental in increasing efficiency and productivity. By automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, companies have been able to achieve higher levels of output while reducing the need for manual labor. This has not only led to cost savings but has also allowed for the allocation of resources towards improving working conditions for assembly line workers.

Over the years, efforts have been made to enhance worker safety, reduce physical strain, and provide a more comfortable working environment. These improvements have been essential in promoting worker well-being and ensuring their freedom from hazardous working conditions.

The Skill and Precision Required in Assembly Line Jobs

Skill and precision are essential in assembly line work, demanding meticulous attention to detail and accuracy. The importance of training in assembly line jobs cannot be overstated, as it equips workers with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their tasks effectively.

Training programs provide workers with a comprehensive understanding of the assembly process, safety protocols, and quality control measures. This enables them to handle complex machinery and tools, ensuring the production of high-quality goods.

Additionally, teamwork plays a crucial role in assembly line jobs. Collaborative efforts among team members foster a sense of unity and enhance productivity. Effective communication and coordination are essential for smooth workflow and minimizing errors.

Challenges Faced by Assembly Line Workers

One of the challenges encountered by workers on assembly lines is the repetitive nature of their tasks. This repetitive nature can often lead to a lack of job satisfaction and a reduced work-life balance.

Assembly line workers may find themselves performing the same task over and over again, which can lead to a sense of monotony and boredom. This lack of variety in their work can contribute to a decrease in job satisfaction, as workers may feel unfulfilled and unchallenged.

Additionally, the demanding nature of assembly line work can also impact work-life balance, as long hours and physically demanding tasks may leave workers with little time or energy for personal activities outside of work. Balancing the demands of their job with their personal life can be a constant struggle for assembly line workers, impacting their overall well-being and sense of freedom.

The Impact of Technology on Assembly Line Jobs

Advancements in technology have significantly impacted the nature of work on assembly lines, transforming the tasks performed and increasing efficiency. The advent of automation has revolutionized the assembly line industry, resulting in a shift from manual labor to machine-driven processes. Automation has the potential to streamline operations, reduce human error, and enhance productivity.

However, this technological progress has also led to job displacement for many assembly line workers. With machines taking over repetitive and monotonous tasks, human involvement in the assembly line has been minimized. While some argue that automation can create new job opportunities in other sectors, the reality is that the rapid pace of technological advancements poses challenges for displaced workers to adapt and acquire new skills.

The impact of technology on assembly line jobs is a complex issue that requires careful consideration of the consequences it has on individuals and the workforce as a whole.

Maintenance Mechanic

The Future of Assembly Line Jobs

The future of work in assembly line industries is a topic that necessitates a careful examination of the potential implications that technological progress may have on employment opportunities and the workforce as a whole.

With the advent of automation, job security has become a concern for many workers in these industries. Technological advancements have the potential to replace human workers with machines, leading to a decrease in job availability.

However, it is important to note that automation also creates new opportunities for retraining and upskilling. As technology evolves, workers can adapt by acquiring new skills and knowledge to remain relevant in the job market.

Therefore, while automation may pose challenges to job security, it also presents the potential for workers to enhance their capabilities and explore new roles within the assembly line industries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  What Are Some of the Most Common Health and Safety Concerns for Assembly Line Workers?

A: Workplace hazards and ergonomic issues are common concerns for assembly line workers. These include exposure to harmful chemicals, repetitive motion injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, and noise pollution, which can have negative impacts on the workers’ health and safety.

Q:  How Do Assembly Line Jobs Contribute to the Overall Economy?

A: Assembly line jobs contribute to the overall economy through their significant economic impact and job creation. These jobs provide employment opportunities for a large number of individuals, thereby increasing productivity and stimulating economic growth.

Q:  Are There Any Specific Training Programs or Educational Requirements for Assembly Line Workers?

A: Training programs and educational requirements for assembly line workers vary depending on the specific industry and job role. Some employers may provide on-the-job training, while others may require a high school diploma or a vocational certificate in a related field.

Q: What Are Some of the Social and Psychological Impacts of Working on an Assembly Line?

A: The social isolation and potential negative effects on mental health are important considerations when examining the impacts of working on an assembly line. These factors can arise from the repetitive nature of the work and limited opportunities for social interaction.

Q: How Do Assembly Line Jobs Compare to Other Types of Manufacturing and Production Roles in Terms of Job Satisfaction?

A: Assembly line jobs, when compared to other manufacturing and production roles, may provide higher levels of job satisfaction due to factors such as increased assembly line efficiency, job stability, and security.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the world of assembly line jobs has undergone significant changes over time. The evolution of these jobs has demanded a high level of skill and precision from workers.

However, assembly line workers also face various challenges in their work environment. The impact of technology has both improved and posed challenges to assembly line jobs.

Looking ahead, the future of assembly line jobs remains uncertain, as technological advancements continue to reshape the industry.

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Manufacturing

Streamlining Success: The Impact of Industrial Engineering in Business Operations

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Impact of Industrial Engineering in Business Operations

his article examines the impact of industrial engineering on business operations, focusing on its role in streamlining success.

By analyzing the efficiency and productivity of various business processes, industrial engineering techniques aim to optimize operations.

Furthermore, the integration of industrial engineering principles enhances the quality of products and services, resulting in improved customer satisfaction.

Additionally, industrial engineering contributes to cost reduction and profit improvement by identifying and eliminating inefficiencies.

Understanding these effects will provide valuable insights for businesses seeking to enhance their operational performance.

Impact of Industrial Engineering in Business Operations

The Role of Industrial Engineering in Business Efficiency

The role of industrial engineering in business efficiency is a topic that has garnered significant interest and attention in recent years. Industrial engineering focuses on improving workflow and reducing waste in order to maximize productivity and optimize resource utilization.

By analyzing and redesigning processes, industrial engineers identify areas of inefficiency and implement strategies to streamline operations. This can involve implementing lean manufacturing principles, such as just-in-time production, to reduce inventory levels and minimize waste.

Additionally, industrial engineers may utilize techniques like time and motion studies to identify bottlenecks and eliminate non-value-added activities.

Maximizing Productivity Through Industrial Engineering Techniques

To maximize productivity in a business setting, the implementation of industrial engineering techniques is crucial. Industrial engineering focuses on improving efficiency and process optimization to enhance overall performance. By analyzing and redesigning workflows, identifying bottlenecks, and implementing strategies to eliminate waste, industrial engineering can significantly impact productivity.

Through the use of tools such as time studies, computer simulations, and statistical analysis, industrial engineers can identify inefficiencies and develop solutions to streamline operations. This can involve optimizing production processes, reducing downtime, and improving resource allocation.

Streamlining Processes: How Industrial Engineering Optimizes Business Operations

By analyzing workflows and identifying inefficiencies, industrial engineering techniques can optimize business processes for enhanced efficiency and productivity. Through the application of these techniques, businesses can improve workflow and eliminate waste, leading to increased profitability and customer satisfaction.

Industrial engineers employ various strategies, such as time and motion studies, value stream mapping, and lean manufacturing principles, to identify areas of improvement within a business’s operations. They focus on streamlining processes, reducing unnecessary steps, and eliminating bottlenecks to create a more efficient and streamlined workflow.

Enhancing Quality and Customer Satisfaction With Industrial Engineering

Enhancing quality and customer satisfaction can be achieved through the application of industrial engineering techniques. These techniques aim to optimize processes and eliminate inefficiencies. Industrial engineering focuses on improving performance by analyzing and redesigning workflows to ensure maximum efficiency.

By identifying and eliminating bottlenecks and unnecessary steps, organizations can streamline their operations and deliver higher quality products and services. Process optimization is a key aspect of industrial engineering. It involves analyzing and improving the various stages of a process to enhance overall performance. This can include reducing cycle times, minimizing waste, and improving resource utilization.

Through the implementation of industrial engineering principles, businesses can achieve higher levels of quality and customer satisfaction. This, in turn, leads to increased competitiveness and success in the market.

Cost Reduction and Profit Improvement: The Impact of Industrial Engineering

Cost reduction and profit improvement can be achieved through the implementation of strategies informed by the principles of industrial engineering. Industrial engineering focuses on optimizing processes and eliminating inefficiencies. It places a significant emphasis on process optimization, aiming to enhance productivity, reduce costs, and maximize profitability.

By carefully analyzing and streamlining various business operations, industrial engineering identifies areas of waste and inefficiency and provides solutions to eliminate them. This can involve reorganizing workflows, implementing automation technologies, improving supply chain management, or adopting lean manufacturing principles.

Impact of Industrial Engineering in Business Operations

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Is the History of Industrial Engineering and How Has It Evolved Over Time?

A: The history of industrial engineering traces its evolution over time, with key figures playing significant roles. The field has grown, adapting to changing needs and technologies, and continues to contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of business operations.

Q: Can You Provide Specific Examples of Industries That Have Successfully Implemented Industrial Engineering Techniques?

A: Industries such as healthcare and automotive have successfully implemented industrial engineering techniques. These techniques have helped to streamline processes, reduce waste, improve efficiency, and enhance overall operations in these sectors.

Q: How Does Industrial Engineering Differ From Other Engineering Disciplines, Such as Mechanical or Electrical Engineering?

A: Industrial engineering differs from other engineering disciplines, such as mechanical or electrical engineering, in its focus on process optimization and efficiency. It plays a crucial role in identifying and implementing strategies to streamline operations and improve overall productivity.

Q: What Are Some Common Challenges or Obstacles That Businesses Face When Implementing Industrial Engineering Strategies?

A: Common challenges and obstacles that businesses face when implementing industrial engineering strategies include resistance to change, lack of employee training and buy-in, inadequate resources, and difficulty in measuring the impact of the implemented strategies.

Q: Are There Any Ethical Considerations or Potential Negative Impacts Associated With the Implementation of Industrial Engineering in Business Operations?

A: Ethical considerations and potential negative impacts may arise from the implementation of industrial engineering in business operations. These may include issues of employee well-being, job security, and the potential for dehumanization of work processes.

Conclusion

In conclusion, industrial engineering plays a crucial role in streamlining business operations and maximizing efficiency. By implementing techniques such as process optimization, quality enhancement, and cost reduction, businesses can improve productivity and customer satisfaction while also increasing profitability.

Industrial engineering provides a systematic approach to analyze and improve various aspects of operations, ultimately leading to a more streamlined and successful business. Its impact on business operations cannot be underestimated and is essential for achieving long-term success in today’s competitive market.

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