The New Retool: Pivoting Manufacturing to be Ready for Anything


Experts say that because of changes forced on the manufacturing industry by the pandemic and a new administration, we’ll begin to see the evolution of manufacturing as an industry that’s more responsive and adaptive to both markets and consumers.

As the COVID-19 pandemic exploded around the globe, it’s not surprising the industry that makes personal protective equipment (PPE) rapidly ramped up production. The demand for N95 respirators and a range of other vital protective equipment like faceshields, gloves, atmosphere-supplying respirators (supplied-air respirators (SARs), self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs) and combination SARs/SCBAs) and protective garments initially overwhelmed supply.

A video from the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA)—“Beyond the Mask”—shows how the PPE industry responded to the unprecedented challenges posed by the worst public-health crisis in a century.

“Beyond the Mask” reveals the behind-the-scenes work involved in getting PPE into the hands of those whose lives depended on it. “In January, … Read more...

How Quality 4.0 is Changing the Future of Business: Part II

Industry 4.0 and Quality 4.0

In our previous blog on Quality 4.0, we introduced the ways in which the principles of Industry 4.0 have impacted the practice of quality. In today’s blog, we’ll look at the first of a series of case studies to see how this revolution plays out in today’s organizations.


Maintenance 4.0


Equipment failure in a manufacturing environment can disrupt cash flow and productivity. Not only do machine repairs cost money and time to repair, but there is also a cost to sitting idle. Time and money are lost through decreased productivity and missed deadlines, while rushed work (for example, immediately after recovery from the failures) can lead to additional product defects or safety hazards. While traditional maintenance techniques react to machine failures only after they occur, Maintenance 4.0 offers the opportunity to collect data to predict and prevent machine downtime before it occurs, potentially protecting millions of dollars of productivity … Read more...

How Quality 4.0 is Changing the Future of Business: Part 1

Quality 4.0
What is Industry 4.0?


Industry 4.0 is one of the most frequently occurring terms in contemporary business articles. Entering “Industry 4.0” into the Google search engine produces 298 million hits in English alone. Many technology companies are talking about it, promoting it, and selling it. However, defining what it means and who it impacts can be a difficult task.

The concept of Industry 4.0 was introduced in 2011 at the Hannover Fair. This project, launched by the German government, was dedicated to the accelerating digital transformation in Germany’s manufacturing industries. Also referred to as Smart Manufacturing or Smart Production, the concept derives from the “fourth industrial revolution,” which is the modern culmination of industrial macrotrends since the late 1700’s:

  • Industry 1.0: the introduction of machine production to replace manual production in the eighteenth century.
  • Industry 2.0: the introduction of electricity, railroads, and the telegraph to augment machine production in
Read more...

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Construction Industry in the United States

COVID-19 and Construction

New research released by the Center for Construction Research and Training focuses on the economic impact of COVID-19 on the construction industry through September 2020, examining construction spending, new residential construction and the well-being of small businesses.

A recent report published by the Center for Construction Research and Training notes that COVID-19 has had a “stark impact” on the U.S. economy and many industries, including construction. “Impact of COVID-19 on Construction Businesses and Productions,” published by researchers Samantha Brown, MPH, Raina D. Brooks, MPH, Xiuwen Sue Dong, DrPH, found that while stay-at-home orders aided in “flattening the curve,” they had stark impacts on U.S. workers and businesses, including construction.

The pandemic hit some sectors of the construction industry harder than others, researchers reported. Overall construction spending dropped $68.4 billion from January to May and increased by $44.7 billion from May to September in 2020, remaining about $23.7 billion below January … Read more...

How Zebra’s Rugged Mobile Devices Can Drive Worker Connectivity, Optimize Workflows and Enhance Operations in EHSQ

Zebra's Rugged Devices and EHSQ

When staying connected can mean the difference between making life-and death decisions in real-time or in near-real-time, EHS leaders can rest assured that they can turn to rugged devices as the solution.

Do your employees need to stay connected to their Intelex platform and applications when they are working in high-risk environments where a standard device can be damaged easily? If so, we’ve got some great news for you!


Enter Rugged Devices by Zebra Technologies


Zebra Technologies, a pioneer in the rugged technology market, is making strides by addressing the connectivity issues that many business leaders currently face with their field workers. They produce intrinsically safe rugged mobile computers, which, due to their reinforced outer casings coupled with their robust built-in software intelligence, can withstand extreme conditions and can operate with minimum disruption. Examples of their mobile computers include: handheld, wearable and vehicle-mounted computers, tablets, mobility DNA apps and handheld Read more...

World Quality Day: COVID-19 Accelerates Push for Quality Maturity in Life Sciences

COVID-19 Quality Supply Chains FDA

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges to quality and supply chain management within the life sciences industry. Drug shortages caused by unprecedented supply and demand pressures continue to be significant challenges for many life sciences companies today and for the general public at large as the pandemic continues to escalate.


The Fragile State of the Pharmaceutical Supply Chains in the US


According to a recent report by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), the US domestic pharmaceutical supply chain remains in a state of heightened vulnerability, with almost three quarters of the critical drugs required to treat COVID-19 patients facing significant shortages. The current shortages have brought quality management into the spotlight for many life science organizations and have tightened the focus on issues of quality maturity across the larger pharmaceutical manufacturing value chain.

Beyond supply chain disruption, additional factors including implementation of new public health safety protocols, … Read more...

Learning through Proven Methods: Driving Business Resiliency by Applying Best Practices in Lean

Despite juggling competing priorities, building resilient systems and processes within their organizations continues to be top of mind for business leaders today and is anticipated to be so for the foreseeable future. As such, the first logical step is to turn to existing methods and approaches that have been proven to be effective—of these, lean is a strong contender.


Starting from the Beginning: The Definition of Lean


Defined as “a way of providing maximum customer value while minimizing effort, equipment, time, and waste in the production system,” lean is based on five principles:

  1. Value is defined according to the customer’s perception of it.
  2. Organizations must map the entire value stream and eliminate anything that doesn’t contribute to customer value.
  3. Products and services must flow smoothly to the customer with no interruptions.
  4. Customer requirements pull value upstream along the process.
  5. Perfection with no waste is the goal of the production system.
Read more...

Making Worker and Pedestrian Safety a High Priority: Guidelines to Use When Developing a Robust Walking-Working Surfaces Program

As the saying goes: “Safety isn’t expensive, it’s priceless.”

Falls on level – slips, trips and falls – can be some of the most debilitating and expensive injuries workers can suffer and contribute to a surprising number of worker deaths each year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that “on average, slips, trips and falls cause nearly 700 fatalities per year.” As such, it’s become increasingly clear that this requires attention as well as improved practices and programs.

OSHA’s Standards and Recommended Practices


Designed to protect workers from injuries caused by problematic walking-working surfaces, OSHA updated its existing standards in 2017 and now include training and stricter risk mitigation practices and procedures (e.g. more inspections). Organizations ultimately are responsible for ensuring that they develop walking-working surfaces programs.

Effective Walking-Working Surface Programs: Insights and Tactical Recommendations by Industry Experts


With over 25 years of experience under his belt, Scott Gaddis, … Read more...

Strengthen Your Organization’s Workplace Safety Program by Incorporating Electrical-Focused Checklists

Protecting workers, particularly around hazardous energy, is an important aspect of workplace safety. Electrical and lockout/tagout hazards can be deadly or cause serious, disabling injuries, so it is important to train workers and follow standards and company guidelines about working around electricity and energized equipment.

Intelex Technologies and Predictive Solutions have developed ‘Don’t Be Shocked: An Electrical Safety Checklist‘ to provide insight into managing electrical hazards. As reported by The Electrical Safety Foundation International, there were 160 worker fatalities related to electricity in 2018. During that same period, there were 310 recordable electrical injuries in the construction industry alone. These numbers only reinforce the need to refine, expand and enforce safety-related guidelines in the workforce, and the free checklist can help you do that.

The Backbone of Most Workplace Safety Programs: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Key Standards and Controls


To ensure that they are compliant to … Read more...

Leveraging ISO 45001:2018 to Build a Strong Foundation to a Sustainability Framework

For over two decades, achieving sustainable practices has been top of mind for decision makers in many industries and the oil and gas industry is no exception. In fact, it appears that the need to meet this objective has become more critical because of volatility in the industry, a disrupted supply chain due to COVID-19 and falling prices. That’s not to say that it is not achievable – it just requires a strong framework, followed by thorough execution.

In the Insight Report, “Leveraging ISO 45001:2018 to Build a Strong Foundation to a Sustainability Framework,” author Chris Ward quotes Sun-Tzu, a Chinese military strategist, who shrewdly observed that “In the midst of chaos, there is opportunity.”

“This has never been so true; the way forward for the oil and gas industry is to provide sustainability through applied technology in an efficient and reliable way,” writes Ward, an ex-UK regulator … Read more...