Archive for September, 2010

Winter is coming: check your Dock Seals.

September 28, 2010

Dock Seals keep out the cold

Yes, the fall weather has finally arrived and it’s good to take some time off to enjoy it.  As we all know, the winter months will soon be upon us. For manufacturing sites and distribution centers, dock doors are a huge drain on heating bills. Every time a truck pulls in to load or unload, the dock door comes up and all the heat goes out into the winter air. A dock seal creates a barrier between the truck and the dock opening to prevent the huge loss of warm air.

Dock Seals are a very reasonable investment, ranging from $700 to as much as $2000.  In the dock seal world, “you get what you pay for” is the rule. Buyers should take a close look at the performance versus the cost. The performance of dock seals range from as low as 250 cycles, a cycle being each time a truck pulls in/out, up to 10,000 or even more cycles.

If you have a dock that only gets 1-2 trucks a day, then a lower cost dock seal may be all right for you. For high traffic docks, high-performance materials are a better investment. Make sure your vendor lists a cycle rating for any seal quoted. Please keep in mind that higher performance seals also use pleating, double stitching, weather resistant wood backing and other features to extend the life of the seal and prevent damage.

So, now is the time to take a look at the dock seals on your building and get the repaired or replaced before the cold weather sets in.

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The Challenge of the Aging Workforce

September 24, 2010

I am a big fan of CBS Sunday Morning. I finally watched the episode that aired a couple of weeks ago and that program contained a really interesting story about BMW. They have recognized that their workforce is aging and that they may need to make some changes to accommodate older workers. By 2020 16% of the population will be over 65 years of age, so this is a problem common to all US companies.

BMW took one production line and staffed it with people approximately 47 years of age, since they expect their workforce average age to be 47 in 2017. They just talked to the people on the line and asked how the company could make improvements for them. The company purchased custom shoes for everyone on the line and installed wooden floors, since aching feet were a universal complaint. They also added lighted magnifiers for people that were inspecting parts and new computer screens that offer larger type. One man requested a place to “stretch” when he began to feel fatigued, so they built some bars on a nearby wall so he can go over and limber up.

In total, BMW spent a measly $50,000, including lost time. Here’s what they got in return; Absenteeism dropped below the plant average; Productivity increased 7% and defects dropped to ZERO. The program was so successful, that they are expanding it to other production lines and other plants. That’s a great productivity plan for any company.