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Pepperidge Farm Forklift Safety Kick Off Video.

June 17, 2014 Leave a comment

Pepperidge Farm made a concerted effort to raise awareness for Forklift/Pedestrian interaction.  I put together this video as a kick off.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Production Jobs…More than the sterotypes suggest.

January 29, 2014 Leave a comment

I have been working in production now for six years and have come across a similar reaction when describing my job to friends and family. That well it won’t be forever look and the consoling words that come from the desk jockeys who have never operated an industrial machine in their lives can be infuriating.
Indeed the fairytale of WWII factory workers building the equipment to safe the lives of American soldiers overseas has long since devolved away to an all time low, in my almost humble opinion. Low Education, Loves physical labor, bottom of the barrel…such is the stereotype of the American factory worker.

I started looking around the web for some comforting news about the image of factory workers. My google search first turned up a yahoo answers page. The question (What is the stereotype of a factory worker?) was answered by three people:
1.PepperEva said, “They had some tough luck. Maybe they made bad choices, maybe things happened that they couldn’t control, maybe they like working a factory. Maybe they want to run one some day. I generally just think, huh, a job. I doubt I’ll get a steady job doing what I love. I’ll probably take the work I can get and do what I love in my free time.”
2.Apple Jacks said, “uneducated.”
3.Vanessa said, “Poor.”

…not a very reassuring find for the image of the factory worker.

The Actuality

As I was bouncing around safety blogs and came across an article in http://www.impomag.com that gave some stark facts that describe the reality of factory workers. The article was written by Nancy Syverson, Managing Editor. It is entitled, “Who Works in Your Plant? A Profile of Today’s American Factory Worker.”

Today’s factory workers are educated and well paid

Syverson’s article had some facts:

Myth: Factory workers are low paid.
•Fact: According to recent reports, the average manufacturing wage is $54,000 per year, 18% higher than the average U.S. wage.

Myth: Factory workers are high-school dropouts.
•Fact: Some 78% of the manufacturing workforce has a high-school or greater education.

Myth: Factory jobs require vocational education, which attracts students who are less qualified in other areas.
•Fact: According to NAM, today’s manufacturers seek a range of skills that include hands-on abilities as well as math, science and computer use.

Myth: You have to be a union member to work in a factory.
•Fact: Unions represents only about 20% of all factory workers, down from 25% five years ago. Currently 22 right-to-work states give factory workers the choice of belonging to a union or not.

Myth: The burden of benefit costs have been shifted to the employee in manufacturing as in other industries.
•Fact: More than 80% of manufacturers still pay the bulk of employees’ medical benefits, including dental.

Myth: Factory work requires physical labor and can be dangerous.
•Fact: Certain factory work will always require physical labor, but automation and ergonomic awareness have reduced that type of work, resulting in a 40% decrease in workplace injuries over the past decade.

Using current demographic data, a new picture of the modern factory worker emerges. Tough, hardworking and determined, America’s factory workers are faced with challenges that often require more smarts than strength.

Some further digging found an article published in http://www.breakingout.net by Kevin Wells. His article Why It’s Important to Cut Loose contrasts working in production and working in a cubical. “The term “factory workers” doesn’t have to be taken literally,” Wells says, “Most people in the Western world nowadays are actually office workers, but – same difference. In the West, office work is the new factory work. When I worked in offices the people I encountered were pretty much the same as the old factory worker stereotype. It makes not a jot of difference whether you are blue collar or white collar.”

My Experience

I work with Pepperidge Farm in Bloomfield Connecticut, where we make an enormous amount of Bread and Stuffing.  I can count a half-dozen other employees I personally deal with daily on the production floor that have at least a Bacheller’s degree. Pepperidge Farm pays better than most jobs in the area and we all know that there are lists of people waiting to get a shot working here. The factory uses more machines than manual labor, which creates the rise of computer savvy machine operators. These operators are highly skilled problem solvers who invest themselves in the million-dollar machines they operate.

Yes the American factory worker is in dire need of a PR campaign. This down-and-out reputation does not reflect the dedication, education and technical skill that is mandatory in today’s workforce.

The Spirit of Safety

January 27, 2013 Leave a comment

The Spirit of Safety

Our plant had a group return last week from a week long trip to Austria. The group’s focus was to understand the ins and outs of a new oven for our plant expansion. They brought back stories of beer in the workplace cafeteria, cigarrettes on the factory floor, and quick excursions to abandoned castles on their way to and from work.

The stories that really caught perked my ears up were the stories of safety protocols…or lack thereof. I was told of employees using makeshift tools that would never make it past today’s US OSHA standards.

The stories made me think of our good friend the OSHA cowboy. This picture is a classic in safety and pokes fun at OSHA’s perceived overkill to drive the safety industry.

I look at our risk-reduced cowboy here and find myself grateful for the job OSHA is doing. There is no such thing as too safe. Risk will never be obliterated. Keeping the US workplace as safe as possible, well that would require such silly things as hearing protection, safety glasses, and the like.

Not all employees in the world are guarded by the spirit of safety like the American worker. I have heard first-hand accounts of some foreign production facilities that have extra employees in the wings waiting for an industrial accident so they can work.

So here’s to you OSHA cowboy. I am glad you are around.

Categories: Uncategorized

Cyberbullying…a realization

November 15, 2011 Leave a comment

“You gotta take a look at this!”  These were the first words my wife said as I walked through the door the other night.  She calls me over to the computer only when there is something outrageously funny or horribly offensive and I could tell that tonight would be the latter. I walked to the computer and read through a facebook conversation posted on one of my daughter’s friend’s wall.  We read through the entire conversation together.  It was filled with a horrific medly of insults, vile language, and threats about what would happen at school the next day.

Now, let me be clear, it was not directed to my daughter.  But our daughter’s friend was the bully, and we had never seen that side of her.  In person she is a sweet, considerate, quiet 13 year-old.  What was it that caused her to change into a cyberbully?  Why did she feel she had free reign to unleash such garbage toward another girl online?

My wife and I decided to stop the attack.  We chose to approach her by way of texting.  Once this friend realized that her actions were public, she changed her toon.  The conversation was immediately deleted off of her wall, and she was mortified that we read through it.  She has apologized over and over to us.  She apologized to the girl she cyber-attacked.

A national organization called Fight Crime: Invest in Kids did a study in 2006 that found 1 in 3 teens have been the victims of cyberbullying and 1 in 6 preteens have been victims (read it at http://www.fightcrime.org/sites/default/files/reports/cyberbullyingteen_2.pdf).
With 33% of teens being victims, I wonder about how many are committing cyberbullying.  I also wonder if it translates into actual bullying at school, or if it stays in the virtual world.  A quick conversation with one of my daughters revealed that it does, but has evolved since the days of stuffing people in lockers and throwing their binders down the hall.  Now it is even more psychological.  “They just laugh around you,” my daughter said.  “Everywhere you go, people just start laughing and looking at you.  There is no reason for it….they just laugh.”

So, I wondered, at what point do we grow out cyberbullying, or bullying at all for that matter?

Never.

I was at a presentation of Loralee Choate, creator of loraleeslooneytoons.com.  She was talking about the highs and lows of blogging.  The highs, she explained, included a trip to the White House and brandwork with McDonalds (both increadible stories).  The lows had to do with cyberbullying.  She described a friend she had for years in the ‘real’ world who turned into her biggest troll (cyberbully) in the ‘virtual’ world.  It was a dual relationship.  This ‘friend’ would smile at her, then get online under another name and troll her website.

There is a certain sense of invincibility people feel online.  There is an assumption of confidentiality online as well.  I don’t know what can be done to educate the public that the United States Supreme Court found that there can be no expectation of privacy online.  After all, people have been feeling invincible in vehicles for more than 50 years when they are not.  I can’t imagine what technology will be in 50 years, but I hope the virtual learning curve is faster than the drivers’.

Until then, it must come back to oversight.  Parents, webmasters, colleagues, any third party.  Cyberbullies need virtual babysitters, and with so many of our youth in danger of being victims of it, or heaven forbid turning into the cyberbullies themselves, we must be aware.

So that is the point of this blog.  Cyberbullying is out there.  It is real.  It is around.  I admit I don’t understand the rush some people get from destroying another’s self-confidence.  Until reading that facebook conversation with my wife, I didn’t think it was as an immediate danger as it is becoming.

The Jetsons life in a 2011 reality – A look at Videoconferencing.

November 12, 2011 1 comment

I remember the Jetsons cartoon.  I still catch myself humming the theme song sometimes when thinking about my Oregon childhood (Meet George Jetson!).  For those of you who are unaware of such a staple of my cartoon diet, or those who want to take a quick jaunt down your own memory lane, enjoy:

Now that you too have the theme song playing over and over in your heads, I’ll get to the point of this post:  We live a (relatively) Jetsons life.

There is an episode I remember as a kid when a neighbor calls the Jetson’s home early in the morning.  Jane (the mom) was still getting ready for the day; her hair in rollers.  In the Jetsons world, when someone called, a television screen came popping down from the ceiling.  People spoke face to face.  You looked at the person calling.

Jane, of course, couldn’t bear to let herself be seen by the neighbor, so she donned a mask of herself before answering the television.  During the conversation, the neighbor sneezed and her own mask flew off of her face.  The conversation ended quickly!

It was all science fiction of course, but to the six-year-old Todd Hamann it was awesome!  To look at the person on the phone.  Wow!

Fast forward 30 (-ish) years to an older Todd Hamann staring down an iPad Touch running facetime.  It was awesome!  To look at the person on the phone. Wow!

“AHAA!”

Do you ever get that “AHAA!” moment when taking a broad look at today’s technology?  The ‘next big thing’ changes too fast sometimes to even become a big thing at all.  Products evolve so fast that consumers become numb to the technological leaps of each phase.

…anyway, I digress.

Tablet computing has Jetson-ized us even more and I think it would be a good time for that “AHAA!” moment again.  A computer measured in millimeters thick, and fractions of  a pound.  We can call our neighbors with these little TVs anytime, from anywhere.  Society calls it video conferencing, but to this grown-up boy it’s still called awesome.

I took a quick google search and found some professional video conferencing services.  I list them at the end of this post.  Video Conferencing is turning into quite an industry.  It’s cleared the $2 Billion annual revenue mark according to Tandberg.com .   Companies are catching on to this evolution in communication.

 

 

List of Popular Video Conferencing services.

http://www.oovoo.com – free video conferencing for up to six people at a time.  $9.95/month gets you up to 12 people at a time.  Currently a free download, but they will soon release a cloud interface.

http://www.skype.com – free one-on-one conferencing.

http://www.webex.com – $19/month

http://www.netmeeting.com – $49.00/month for up to 15 attendees

The Viral Video, Gesundheit!

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment

The Classics:

More than 378,000,000 views

 

More than 182,000,000 views

The best out there right now:

More than 1,400,000

Categories: Uncategorized

Social Media and the Small Business…The power of the Blog post

October 2, 2011 2 comments
This is the second installment of Social Media and the Small Business, a series designed to educate the small business owner on the power of social media in today’s business world.
 

The Power of the Blog Post

No doubt if you have been looking around cyber-space and listening to the masses, you will have heard a hefty amount of blog-haters.  As a matter of fact in 2008, Wired.com, Wired Magazine’s website, said not to even bother with those pesky little blogs.  As a matter of Fact, blogs are far from dead, especially business blogs.  Here we are, three years later, and yet another story about the necessity of blogs goes up on BusinessInsider.com

Blogs are a staple in today’s business climate.  It is the Wii of the business world…not the flashiest or panosh of the HD systems like the Xbox 360 and PS 3.  No one in the gaming community really talks about it, yet everyone has a Wii.  So it works with a blog.  A blog doesn’t have the flash of Facebook or the speed of Twitter, but the online community tends to miss it if it’s not there.  Why is that?  Well, I can come down to one solid answer…in business it has become morally correct to operate a blog.  Strange but true.

Michael Martine, a celebrated blogging consultant, on his blog Remarkablogger.com posted an infographic on how blogging fits in with today’s social media:

 

Blogging isn’t going anywhere…any questions?

Another blog post you may be interested in is: 

http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/06/small-business-news-building-your-business-blog.html

Categories: Uncategorized