Impact Dakota Blog is a blog dedicated to supporting North Dakota’s manufacturing community improve People, Purpose, Processes and Performance. Entries provide information on opportunities, new ideas, quick tips, celebrations of success, and well, frankly, anything to help you become a better manufacturer.

March 23, 2017

In early 2016, the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) published ISO Technical Specification (TS) 15066, which outlines safety requirements for collaborative robots. The American National Standards Institute, ANSI, adopted ISO/TS 15066 later that year as ANSI/RIA Technical Report R15.606 (RIA is the Robotic Industries Association). These documents outline safety functions that maintain a safe distance between people and active robots, and limit the transfer of forces and pressures should contact between a person and a robot occur. Robots that adhere to these requirements are considered inherently safe.

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March 16, 2017

In today’s highly competitive marketplace, meeting customer demand isn’t enough. Small and mid-sized manufacturers must have a continuous pipeline of new sales in order to thrive and grow. However, it is becoming more challenging to connect with key decision makers to accomplish this. Technology is constantly evolving and has changed how people communicate, research products and parts, and make purchasing decisions. In comparison to the past, your target audience now has more control over the sales process. The internet enables them to easily research information and pricing at the blink of an eye. Caller IDs, gatekeepers, spam filters, and “no soliciting” signs are making it more difficult for manufacturers to proactively connect with prospects. And the nonstop barrage of advertisements and sales pitches are making it more difficult to become memorable.

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March 9, 2017

As a business owner, your days are full and the years pass quickly — before you know it, retirement is not far away. If you’ve worked hard to build your own business, a well-thought-out plan for passing the reins to a successor can provide peace of mind. Whether you transition your company to a family member, a long-time employee or a new buyer, a succession plan can ensure a smooth transition that helps secure your wealth and your legacy.

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February 23, 2017

Can you imagine yourself behind the wheel of a new luxury SUV? It’s hard not to spend $50,000-plus in this day and age of high tech vehicles. Of course you purchased it with certain performance, styling and comfort requirements in mind, but, at the end of the day your ultimate objective was to provide a reliable means to take you from point A to point B. What if, after the first few miles, your pride and joy started running rough? The capacity to achieve that ultimate goal is severely diminished. Naturally, you’ll take it back to the dealership, they plug it in to the computer and they diagnose a simple fix—just one spark plug was defective. That small piece of material costs about $19 (100,000 mile platinum, of course), but it essentially transformed your $50,000 SUV into a piece of junk. It doesn’t matter at all if it has the finest fuel delivery system and transmission that money can buy. If just one component is malfunctioning, then the performance of the whole machine is limited to the performance of that component.

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February 16, 2017

In North Dakota's extremely competitive business environment, organizations are realizing the need to fully utilize employees' knowledge and skills to gain the advantage over competing companies.

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February 3, 2017

ISO certification has been the “talk of the town” for various manufacturers. The topic has been particularly popping up because for the first time since 2008, the ISO 9001 industrial and commercial standards are being upgraded. These standards are reviewed every five years, and this review is extremely important as changes to the marketplace occur.

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January 26, 2017

One of the recent 2-day kaizen events that I facilitated included improving the warehouse operations at a manufacturing facility. This was a hands-on project and we got rid of obsolete items and consolidated many partially filled boxes of products which resulted in 50% more storage space. This, in combination with the reconfiguration of warehouse layout and adding of surplus rack system from a sister company resulted in a net increase of close to 70% in warehouse storage capacity. This helped the company to avoid building an addition to the warehouse which was estimated to cost about $100,000.

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January 20, 2017

I don’t normally watch horror movies, but there is a correlation between the movie “Saw” and ransomware, in particular a variant called JIGSAW. This is pretty scary stuff — the first thing you see is the creepy image of Billy the Puppet from the horror film “Saw” on your computer screen, then you find out that your data is no longer yours.

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December 22, 2016

As another year draws to a close, it is natural to look back and reflect on the challenges and accomplishments we shared, individually, organizationally, and as an industry.

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December 14, 2016

As the clock strikes midnight and we turn the page on another year, manufacturing around the world is pursuing a future vision for business that will transform the rule of competition, how work will be performed, how companies will be organized, and how leadership must lead.

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