Archive | February, 2012
Newer Capabilities Can Provide Substantial New Ways to Provide and Extend Mobility Applications and Value
Mobile devices and applications are obviously spreading like wildfire across business generally and supply chain operations, and not only using smart phones.
Many mobile workers in a supply chain context, especially those in route delivery, field service, and other logistics applications, need a more rugged device than a traditional smart phone, as well as other capabilities to meet supply chain related application requirements.
Jim Hilton, a director of industry solutions for the food and beverage sector at Motorola Solutions, noted in a recent Videocast on our Supply Chain Television Channel (sponsored by Supply Chain Services) that today’s more rugged mobile devices often can support broadband calling and we apps from leading national services providers, and then can also provide a number of capabilities that smart phones normally don’t have. To that end, on the broadcast Hilton offered a list of nine “must have” that companies considering mobility solutions should consider in picking a system provider and specific devices for mobile employees.
1. Wide Area Network/Broadband Capabilities: “Right now, there is something happening out there in the field that if someone else in the organization knew about it right now, the operation would be improved,” Hilton said on the broadcast. This can support development of real-time alert capabilities that can create more responsive supply chain organizations. Hilton notes these alerts can be both “passive” – the system itself determines there is an alert that needs to be communicated -or “active,” in which the user takes action to send the information based on their operations. Hilton said many companies and third party software developers are creating software that handles these passive alerts, and which makes it easier for users to send active alerts.
“We think that connecting all these mobile workers in a wide area network leads to competitive advantage,” Hilton said.
SCDigest Dan Gilmore noted that many companies are very interested in getting insight from the field in terms of customer plans, market conditions, etc. to support demand planning and sales and operations planning processes, and that mobile applications should be developed that make this as easy as possible.
2. Personal Area Networks: This refers to having more complete capabilities on the user as he or she do their jobs, including not only mobile devices with data capture capabiliites, but also printing capabilities and potentially other features and devices. This can enable the user to get the job done more efficiently in many cases, Hilton said. “The culture often is to just leave it [the printer] in the truck,” Hilton said. “But if I am the manager, I would take action to have that full system stay with the person.” He noted that today, the mobile devices and the printer can often be worn on the belt comfortably for delivery drivers and field service managers. “You gain productivity,” he added, and sometimes better customer
3. Video Capabilities: Here, Hilton is talking about the ability to play videos on the device, noting they can be used for field training, to present a message or promotion to a customer, and dozens Hilton said we are going to soon see new capabilities around image or video analytics. For example, a direct store delivery person could take a picture of a shelf-set,
and software would automatically determine if it was in compliance with the manufacturer or retailer’s planogram.
4-5. Hands-Free Data Capture and Voice Directed Applications: Hilton combined 4 and 5 together, because they are really two sides of the same coin: the ability to use voice-based applications on the field the way workers in the distribution center are increasingly doing to gain productivity and accuracy, Voice systems involve the ability to capture data in a hands-free mode by speaking information, such as a SKU number or other data, into a wearable microphone connected to a mobile devices, so that both hands are still available for handling product or other tasks. Similarly, “commands” or other instructions can be sent to the mobile workers via voice as well. There is also another approach to hands-free on the data capture, and that is to use a “ring” type of scanner connected to a terminal worn on the belt. While these capabilities have proven very valuable in DCs for tasks like order picking by enabling an associate to use both hands all the time, versus picking up and putting down a terminal with a bar code scanner, Hilton believes this hands-free approach can also provide real benefits in many field applications as well.
“Your adding more ways to get the same data capture done, and with these two ways (voice and ring scanners), I keep on working,” Hilton said. “I don’t to stop and write or stop and pick up the terminal to scan.” He added that he has seen some field mobility software providers starting to add voice capabilities to the applications. He sees lots of potential especially in direct store delivery.
6. Imagery: Hilton said it may be a cliché, but in reality a picture often is worth a thousand words. “How much time is spent in the field doing check-out tasks or other activities that if they used an image, that work would go away?” Hilton asked, noting that every Motorola mobility deviceincludes a very high quality camera – but that those capabilities often weren’t leverage by users asmuch as they might be. That’s because the image capture part is easy, Hilton said, but automatically sending that image to where it needs to go takes more thinking and application development, noting this is another reason why having wide-area capabilities is so important. In a local area context, Gilmore noted he has seen several retailers that are using imaging capabilities to capture “compliance” violations by vendors on inbound shipments, with that image then being automatically sent to the appropriate retailer compliance managers and then ultimately the vendor to document the issue, so there is proof of the reason for a chargeback.
Hilton said we are going to soon see new capabilities around image or video analytics. For example, a direct store delivery person could take a picture of a shelf-set,
and software would automatically determine if it was in compliance with the manufacturer or retailer’s planogram.
7. Practical Use of GPS: Hilton believes the logistics industry is just at the start of its potential uses of GPS technology. Even though GPS is becoming highly prevalent, Hilton believes a lot more can be done with it. Navigation capabilities are the foundation, of course, and can be beneficial even for companies that have delivery trucks doing standard “milk runs” that visit the same stores or delivery points each trip. He said staff turnover and unexpected road or traffic conditions can drive the need for GPS-based navigation capabilities.
But maybe more novel is the concept of “geo-fencing,” Hilton said. With those capabilities, the software can basically put a boundary fence around an area any field worker should operate in – either generally, or based on the specifics of that day’s stops or deliveries. If the mobile worker strays beyond that virtual fence, alerts are generated. There are many other opportunities for productivity enhancing applications with GPS, Hilton says. He added that there are also opportunities for asset management using GPS – for example,
scanning an asset bar code tag that confirms the asset is where it is supposed to be in terms of precise latitude and longitude.
8. Data and Voice Convergence: Tied to the wide area capability, Hilton notes that today there really isn’t the need for a mobile worker to carry both a cell phone and a data capture/application terminal – one device can do it all, and it isn’t the cell phone that can do the data capture well in most cases. But, the data terminal can provide full cell phone capabilities. “I can double use that handheld device as a very good cell phone,” Hilton said. “When there is voice communication and data communication in one device, it is very efficient.”
9. Mobile Payment Capabilities: It doesn’t fit everywhere, Hilton said, but an increasing number of mobile apps are going to need to process payments some of the time. This is especially true for field service applications or home delivery where an end consumer is receiving the service or product. That allows cross selling, up-selling, and obviously immediate settlement of the amount due, Hilton said, versus leaving a bill or accepting a check. In the Q&A after the formal broadcast, Ken Boyd, director of marketing for Supply Chain Services,
a data collection and mobility solutions provider and Motorola partner, said that he is seeing companies investing in technology in those areas that have a impact on the customer, whether that is directly via some of these mobility applications, or wireless systems in the DC that improve picking and shipment accuracy. “A lot of what we’re seeing our applications that are customer-centric and tie manufacturers anddistributors closer to their customers,” he said.
Some six thousand Americans are killed at work each year, and a University of Georgia study suggests the culture of the workplace can be a critical factor in reducing or increasing risk of injury.
Researchers determined a worker’s perception of safety and the work-life balance established by businesses has a significant effect on work-related injuries.
“We’ve known for some time that certain occupations are more dangerous than others due to a variety of physical and other hazards,” said study author Dave DeJoy, Ph.D. “But in the last 20 years, there has been growing evidence that management and organizational factors also play a critical role. That is, actions taken or not taken at the organizational level can either set the stage for injuries or help prevent them.”
DeJoy and his colleagues examined U.S. safety climate perceptions among a diverse sample of occupations and worker groups — from offices to factories — and to highlight the factors linked to injury.
The results were published online in January and will be in the March issue of the Journal of Safety Research.
Investigators discovered that well-managed companies can decrease injuries by 38 percent as worker opinions improve.
A worker’s perception of a positive safety climate can decrease injuries by 32 percent. In the survey, questions pertaining to the safety climate assessed worker perceptions on the importance of their safety in their work organization.
“We can design the best safety controls, but they must be maintained, and that falls on management,” Smith said.
Researcher found that the work culture including policies and procedures that applied to day-to-day operations were factors that define a safe environment.
“Enacted policies and procedures-not formalized ones but those acted upon-define a climate of safety.”
DeJoy agrees. “Injury is a failure of management. Organizations who blame individuals for injuries do not create a positive safety climate.”
In addition to factors identified by the study to decrease injuries, work-family interference was established as a significant risk for occupational injury.
“We used to think work was one thing and family was another, but now there is a realization that work-life balance affects performance and productivity,” DeJoy said.
The study looked at the mutual interference between job and family demands. In situations where work interferes with family life or family demands affect job performance, they found that the risk for injury increased 37 percent.
Consistent with previous studies performed by the Department of Labor Statistics, they found whites had higher injury rates than blacks, but both had lower rates than the “other” category, which is predominately made up of Hispanics.
“These results provide guidance for targeting interventions and protective measures to curtail occupational injury in the U.S.,” said co-author Todd Smith, a recent graduate of the Health Promotion and Behavior doctoral program at UGA..
DeJoy was part of a team of researchers that worked with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to put together a quality of work life survey module that featured a number of scales and measures assessing different job and organizational factors.
This module was included as part of the General Social Survey and administered to a national representative sample of American adults.
In the current study, DeJoy and his team assessed occupational injury risk in terms of socio-demographic factors, employment characteristics and organizational factors for 1,525 respondents using data from the quality of work life module.
The study identified race, occupational category and work-family interferences as risk factors for occupational injury and safety climate and organizational effectiveness as protective factors.
“The data suggests effects are pronounced and generalized across all occupations,” said Smith, who spent 12 years as a workplace safety consultant before starting his graduate program at UGA.
“Most prior research on organizational factors has focused on single occupations or single organizations,” DeJoy said. “There has been a clear need to examine these factors across a diverse array of occupations and employment circumstances to see how generalizable or pervasive these factors are.”
The nine factors they examined were participation, work-family interference, management-employee relations, organizational effectiveness, safety climate, job content, advancement potential, resource adequacy and supervisor support.
Source: University of Georgia – Athens
A new study will examine whether groups such as immigrants and older workers are more vulnerable to injury in the workplace, and why this is so.
The Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) recently awarded the study a development grant.
Senior research fellow Dr Peter Smith, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash University, said that his project would develop a way to measure increased risk of injury or illness among specific groups of workers.
“Subgroups of the labour market, for example younger workers, new workers, immigrants and other minorities are often considered vulnerable in terms of injury risk,” Dr Smith said.
“Yet this grouping of workers as ‘young’ or ‘new’ and so on, does not identify the specific characteristics that put these workers at higher risk of experiencing a work-related injury.”
“This study will help us understand how the social and structural context at work can lead to an increased risk of injury and will help to develop preventative activities in the future.”
Dr Smith has extensive experience conducting research related to work injury and its consequences using both large population based survey and administrative workers’ compensation data.
“My other main research area is to examine the implications of the ageing labour marking in Australian on workers’ compensation systems,” Dr Smith said.
“This project seeks to better understand important questions related to work injury and its consequences within the context of the ageing Australian labour market.”
Between 1985 and 2008 the per cent of the Australian labour force represented by workers over the age of 55 years increased from 9.2 per cent to 15.2 per cent.
“Despite this large demographic shift in the labour market, very little attention has been paid to understanding the implications that the ageing workforce in Australia will have on occupational health and safety prevention programs and work-injury compensation systems,” Dr Smith said.
To address this need, the objective of Dr Smith’s research program is to examine trends in work injury rates and the consequences of work injury across age groups in Australia.
ISCRR is a joint venture between Monash University, WorkSafe Victoria and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC).
| News release
wired by noodls on 20/02/2012 07:26
An independent review has concluded that the lack of a safety culture in the state may be the chief problem behind an overly high number of job fatalities. Wyoming averaged one workplace death every 10 days over the last 10 years. Thousands of employees have sought work in the state’s booming oil, gas, and mining industries.
Occupational epidemiologist Timothy Ryan was hired by the state Workplace Safety Task Force that is charged with developing recommendations to address the high rate of occupational deaths.
Ryan reviewed fatality data from 1992 through 2008, studied fatality case reports, and spoke with hundreds of employees working for companies of various sizes. Among his conclusions:
- There is a breakdown in safety-related communication among upper management, supervisors, and employees.
- Employees report that the safety training they receive is not enforced on the jobsite.
- Employees are told to “get the job done” and safety protocol and rules are not enforced.
- On any one jobsite there can be a wide range in safety standards.
Although nonfatal injuries decreased from 2001 to 2008, Ryan notes that major injuries remain a problem, with the number of hospitalizations increasing. While emphasizing that no single solution will remedy the situation, Ryan issued recommendations, including:
- Encourage continuity of ongoing efforts.
- Develop a data monitoring system for the collection and timely analysis of occupational information.
- Promote OSHA courtesy inspections.
- Support efforts by industry to develop, monitor, and enforce safety standards and practices.
Safety.BLR.com Feb 14 2012
Seven workplace deaths in Nova Scotia since the beginning of the year have prompted the provincial government to issue a warning about safety in the workplace.
Between 2007 and 2011, an average of 25 workers died on the job each year.
Marilyn More, the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, said that given those numbers, so many deaths so early into this year is cause for concern.
“This is a tragic start to 2012 and all of us must take immediate action to avoid further injuries, illnesses and deaths in our workplaces,” More said in a statement.
“Whether one works on a hectic shop floor or a seemingly safe office, we need to change our ‘I’ve done this a million times so it must be safe’ mind-set.”
This year, two truckers died in separate motor vehicle accidents, two fishermen drowned while checking on lobster crates at low tide, a farm worker was killed by a falling tree and a man who was sandblasting was crushed underneath equipment he was cleaning.
All of the incidents are being investigated.
The seventh workplace death was of a shipyard worker who had a fatal heart attack on the job.
“We’ve seen seven fatalities and six of them have been acute deaths, so things like motor vehicle accidents, incidents at work with either falls or things falling on people,” said Jim LeBlanc, the executive director of Occupational Health and Safety for the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
“We’re not seeing the typical type of activity that we see in workplaces.”
In recent years, almost half of all workplace deaths were caused by chronic illnesses, such as heart or lung disease. So far this year, only one workplace death resulted from a chronic illness.
“Employers and employees need to remain vigilant to the risks facing them at work,” said LeBlanc.
“In so many investigations, we find that most injuries could have been avoided if more consideration had been given to the task and how it was to be done.”
CBC News – Posted: Feb 14, 2012 11:04 AM AT
RED tape connected with proposed national workplace safety laws will drive up the cost of a new home by tens of thousands of dollars, the construction industry has warned.
The sector has lined up behind volunteering groups, which claimed last week they could go to the wall because of the consultation and reporting requirements that accompany the proposed national occupational health and safety regime.
A report by consultants Hudson Howells, commissioned in South Australia by the Housing Industry Association, says the compliance cost associated with OHS laws could drive up the cost of a new single-storey home in that state by $20,690, and of a double-storey home by $29,335.
Extrapolating from SA data provided by the HIA, the report says compliance costs associated with the laws could wipe up to $16 billion a year off national productivity and cost as many as 120,000 jobs.
While the report concedes there are also benefits to a single national regime, it questions the federal Labor government’s claim of a net annual benefit to the economy of about $250 million, arguing there is no data to back this up.
But whatever the duelling economists say, Adelaide cladding sub-contractor Stuey Hampton is in little doubt about the impact the OHS laws will have.
“This will kill us,” he said yesterday. “It will wipe out independent contractors.”
Mr Hampton, 39, who employs three tradesmen, says workplace authorities should be chasing down and prosecuting unlicensed operators, not making life harder for the honest contractors.
An example he gives is a requirement in the new laws that, as a “high risk operator”, he must complete a “safe work method statement” whenever he sets up his equipment, then revise it whenever “relevant control measures are revised” — a situation he says will exist every time he moves his ladder.
“I can try and pass those compliance costs back on to the building firms,” said Mr Hampton.
“But are they going to be prepared to pay?”
Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten yesterday acknowledged contractors such as Mr Hampton have real concerns about the laws, which have so far been implemented in Queensland and NSW.
“My intention is to reduce the amount of red tape,” he said.
“I’ve clearly got to reduce the amount of paperwork small business has to do in connection with OHS compliance. The states remain the regulators but we’ll be asking them to co-operate.”
Mr Shorten said he particularly wanted to reduce the paperwork associated with weekend work. “Like the rest of us, tradesmen and contractors deserve to spend a lot of time with their families at weekends.”
Peter Goode, managing director of mining and infrastructure giant Transfield Services, said uniform laws should be positive for the construction sector, but there was a danger states would import their pet regulations back into the system. “As with all these things, it’s about the implementation,” he said.
Imre Salusinszky, NSW political reporter
- From: The Australian
- January 23, 2012 12:00AM
BOONE—It’s hard to miss the safety vests and hard hats hanging in Dr. Timothy D. Ludwig’s faculty office. The brightly colored objects are mementos from his visits to gold mines and construction and manufacturing sites around the world.
The professor in Appalachian State University’s Wiley F. Smith Department of Psychology is known as the “Safety Doc” for his research and consulting work related to industrial and employee safety. He was recently listed as one of 101 leaders in the field of industrial/environmental health and safety in the widely read Industrial Safety & Hygiene News.
Ludwig’s research in recent years has focused on behavioral safety – how to change the safety culture within an organization by developing an environment in which employees and leaders value safety.
His expertise has taken him to Bogotá, Nigeria, South Africa, Australia, Indonesia and even the Arctic Circle to talk to company executives, employees or workshop participants about implementing safety culture change.
While almost everyone knows the potential outcome of unsafe behavior, such as failing to wear a hard hat or protective clothing, it’s the perceived inconvenience of safety practices, including being hot or uncomfortable, that often impedes following safety rules.
“The immediate consequence of being safe is that it often takes longer, is less comfortable or it is not supported by coworkers. So these immediate consequences lead the worker to choose the path that puts them at risk,” Ludwig said. “I preach don’t blame the worker. We need to solve the environmental problem that’s motivating workers to feel they have to be at risk.”
When employees begin to “own” safety in the workplace, changes in at-risk behavior occurs, Ludwig said. Especially when “you use peers as the motivators of safe behavior,” he said.
Examples of engaging employees rather than punishing them when safety practices aren’t followed include establishing programs in which employees create lists of risky behaviors and then observe their peers and provide positive feedback when safe practices are followed – a practice called behavior-based safety.
“You go from the negative consequence of having peers suggest shortcuts to safety to having the immediate consequence of having your peers watching you in a positive way and that changes the culture,” Ludwig said.
“When employees begin to have conversations about safety when managers aren’t around, and they are no longer talking about ways to take safety shortcuts, then you have changed the safety culture in the workplace,” he said. That change can lead to an environment in which workers proactively report hazards, close calls and minor injuries that might otherwise go unreported and uncorrected, he said.
Ludwig often uses stories, which he calls parables, to illustrate his points when addressing audiences about safety. His stories often relate to interactions with his sons when he tries to teach them about skateboarding or driving safety. He knows his lessons have worked when his sons turn the table on Ludwig if they see him failing to follow his own advice, such as wearing eye and hearing protection when mowing the yard.
Ludwig posts his safety lessons on his safety blog at www.safety-doc.com and writes quarterly for Industrial Safety and Hygiene News. He also publishes his empirical research in scholarly journals such as the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, which he serves as editor.
Ludwig said that when workers and managers embrace a change in a company’s safety culture, the results can be dramatic. While implementing the change is typically a three-year process, companies tend to report a 70 to 80 percent decrease in incidents when the culture change is accepted.
Posted 9 February bu ASU News
When the media reports that an unsafe product has caused illnesses and deaths, every segment of the supply chain is scrutinized. Illnesses arising from contaminated products garner headlines and Congress reacts by convening hearings and proposing legislation that can alter our businesses practices and legal processes.
We all can remember news stories about contaminated products in the supply chain that made newspaper front pages and the TV news, including cantaloupes tainted with listeria bacteria, toys painted with lead paint from China, and sales of counterfeit Lipitor.
By Joel Anderson – DC Velocity
Third-party logistics warehouses are an integral part of the supply chain. We store and handle products for every sector of the economy, providing many value-added services, which include managing national and global supply chains for our customers. The facts show that we handle well over 99.99% of products safely and securely without any disruptions.
There are many entry points in the supply chain where contaminated, adulterated or counterfeit product can be introduced. There are good actors and bad actors, and a criminal element seeking to take advantage.
The 3PL warehouse industry strives to maintain our part of the supply chain safely and securely. We pursue every measure, for example, to ensure that food product we handle does not become contaminated or adulterated. We invest substantial amounts of time, money, and training resources in practices and procedures to ensure product safety.
Too often, however, when Congress shapes legislation to address issues in global and interstate commerce, lawmakers fail to recognize the role of the 3PL warehouse in the supply chain. Lawmakers and regulators view the supply chain as a linear, one-dimensional set of transactions between a buyer and a seller. However, the modern supply chain is a complex, collaborative, value-creating network with many intersecting patterns of movement between the beginning and end points. Failure to recognize this distinction results in faulty attempts at legislative and regulatory solutions.
Legislation does not always recognize and appropriately address the emerging role of the warehouse-based 3PL. For example, the 3PL never takes legal title to the product, nor does it have legal authority to choose the buyers or the suppliers of the product inside the box. Therefore, legislation that places the same responsibility on a 3PL as on the manufacturer or other supplier misses the mark, holding a 3PL responsible for things it has no ability to control.
At the same time, by not recognizing the actual role of the 3PL in the supply chain, such legislation misses the mark by losing the opportunity to hold 3PLs accountable for those actions that are within their purview – those relating to the appropriate care and handling of the product as it moves through the distribution process.
The solution is to increase the knowledge of policymakers about how the supply chain works in real life. IWLA seeks to accomplish this by facilitating site visits by congressional staff and agency officials to our members’ facilities. We show them how our members track and trace every shipment, down to a single package, and in the case of medical supplies, down to each prescription bottle. These visits by congressional staff and agency officials help them understand the nature of our role and what we do to execute and implement recall orders. It illustrates just how our portion of the supply chain works to ensure product integrity.
Another solution to misguided policymaking has been to insist the 3PL warehouse industry has “a seat at the table” when industry and government meet to set supply chain policies. The days of expecting our customers to represent our interests in the arena of public policy are long gone.
This approach enabled IWLA to secure the position of the 3PL in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and the Food Safety Modernization Act. In addition, we are undertaking the same sort of site visit and process inspection with FDA officials who will implement the FSMA. We also are working with others in the pharmaceutical supply chain on a federal policy proposal that replaces the patchwork of inconsistent and inefficient state laws.
The bottom line: It is our members’ record of integrity and professionalism that allows IWLA to show how the supply chain can work to provide the utmost protection to the consumer. As advocates for the warehouse-based 3PL industry, it is vital for us to demonstrate to Congress and regulatory agencies that we not only talk the talk, but we walk the talk, that we do our part and we do it well.