News Briefs, Continued

Dec. 1, 2003
Managers Making News George Reyher has been named account manager, Latin America, for FKI Logistex Alvey Systems. In his new position, Reyher will focus

Managers Making News

George Reyher has been named account manager, Latin America, for FKI Logistex Alvey Systems. In his new position, Reyher will focus his efforts on refining and expanding the company’s presence in the Latin American marketplace, including its preparations for the launch of an international office in South America.

Greg Borchers has been named vice president, concepting and estimating for Intelligrated Inc., a supplier of integrated material handling systems, services and products. Also, Intelligrated has promoted Steve Hunt to vice president, project management.

William Dobbins, M.D., has been named president and CEO of Caster Concepts Inc.

Lane Neal has been promoted to plant manager at Pac-Edge Corporation, a manufacturer of edge protection products made from recycled paperboard.

Caster manufacturer Trio Pines U.S.A. has named Salvatore Aliotta Jr. president, and Stanley Noh CEO and vice chairman.

Companies Making News

Paragon Technologies Inc. a supplier of material handling solutions including systems, technologies, products and services, announced its board of directors has formed a committee to address all strategic alternatives available to the company, with a primary objective of enhancement of shareholder value. Len Yurkovic, president and CEO says, “This initiative is driven by the flexibility available from the company’s debt-free balance sheet, coupled with its unique positions in the diverse range of its markets and products.”

Voxware and RedPrairie Corporation have concluded a strategic partnership agreement giving RedPrairie the right to resell and deliver Voxware’s flagship product, VoiceLogistics, to RedPrairie customers.

The companies have jointly developed real-time interfaces between VoiceLogistics and several of RedPrairie’s key DigitaLogistix application modules, which unite Voxware’s voice-directed picking with RedPrairie’s warehouse management software.

McKesson Corporation has acquired the packaging business of Sky Pharmaceuticals Packaging Inc., a leading supplier of unit dose bar-coded packaging products.

Pactiv Corporation announced the completion of the acquisition of the packaging assets of Rock-Tenn Company. The reported purchase price was $60 million. NCR Corporation and Matrics Inc., a provider of electronic product code (EPC) compliant radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, signed a letter of intent to provide consulting and support services for retailers deploying RFID technology.

The letter of intent provides the basis for a relationship that will facilitate the adoption of RFID in the retail environment. NCR will provide assessment and integration with existing systems, site analysis and equipment verification, installation, maintenance and help-desk support.

Reader Feedback

To George Weimer:

I am the sales and marketing manager for a small manufacturing company located in Newton, IA. Our claim to fame is Newton’s Maytag. Thombert has manufactured industrial polyurethane wheels and tires in Newton since after World War II. We are investing heavily in modern machinery and automation to secure the future for our customers and employees.

Your October column (on the need for a Secretary of Manufacturing) was fabulous. My only hope is that our government officials wake up and realize what is going on with U.S. manufacturing. I hope that a post is created for our manufacturing sector. We need that top down view to save it.

I have worked in factories since I was 17 and I love it. During my time in manufacturing I have been a production worker, painter, inventory control supervisor, purchasing agent, foreman and now a sales and marketing manager. Manufacturing has given me the resources to acquire an AA, BS and MBA. I am now in a position of leadership with my company and would like to be part of the solution.

As I mentioned, I got the gift of manufacturing when I was 17. I had the opportunity to see and learn what it could do for me and this country. Few youth get the exposure that I had. This is sad. Parents do not know how the factory has changed and how exciting it is.

Your article hit me hard and I hope that we can get re-focused. Otherwise we will all be working at Wal-Mart and McDonald’s. As good as those jobs are, they do not create wealth. Manufacturing has always put money in my pocket and a wonderful roof over my head. I hope the last day I work is in a factory! I will leave with the knowledge that I was a part of shipping product all over the world for most of my life. Thanks so much for your excellent column. It brings cheer to a frightening subject!

Reggie Collette

Sales & Marketing Manager

Thombert, Inc.

Newton, IA

Ask the MHM Editorial Advisory Board

Safety and Productivity in the Workplace

This month we asked board members about: balancing safety with the need for productivity; the role of automation; worker training; and OSHA audits. Here are their replies:

David Rogers, vice president logistics, Rockwell Automation: “Safety must come first! We hold a ‘safety talk’ at the beginning of every shift (five to 10 minutes) and require employees to stretch three times per day (beginning of shift, after first break and after lunch). We have a steering team comprised of management and warehouse associates that identify safety issues and determine action plans. Having said that, productivity is also extremely important as we expect all of our facilities globally to significantly improve productivity each year.”

Tan Miller, senior director, logistics, Pfizer Pharmaceutical: “There is no compromise or trade-off allowed in the case of colleague safety. This is simply a paramount consideration. And training does represent an extremely important component of safety. Clearly, training also can have a very positive impact on productivity — so it’s valuable from that perspective also.”

David Lockman, CIT, manager of engineering, Distribution Operations, L.L. Bean, Inc.: “We employ a behavioral- based safety process in our warehouses. This program provides in-the-moment feedback to employees about their work practices. It is an employee-based program where the feedback to employees comes from their peers.

“In addition to this, we have developed physical demand ratings (PDR) for each position in our facility. The PDR is developed by qualified people and is used to determine how long an employee can work at that position, at the engineered standard, before he or she is at an elevated risk for injury. Not only do we lower the risk for our employees, we also benefit from cross-training our employees for multiple tasks.

“Worker training is very important to us. We have dedicated trainers in most departments as we need to be sure our seasonal, as well as our regular, workforce is up to speed on our most current processes and expectations. Training also gives an edge to constantly give feedback on the most risk-free procedures and methods.

“As most large employers have, we have had OSHA audits. The reason for this is that we ‘over-report.’ Even though we have a very small number of lost time incidents, we do report all incidents, even near-misses. The reason for this is so that we clearly understand how each incident occurred so that corrective action can be taken. The result is that OSHA shows up for a spot inspection, we have a walkthrough, then we discuss their findings. Very rarely do they find any issue that requires attention.

“We prepare our people (for OHSA audits) by instructing them to not hide anything and to simply tell the truth to the inspector. We have nothing to hide.”

Brian O’Donnell, director of technical operations and planning, Liz Claiborne: “Safety and productivity can coexist in the workplace. Whenever designing a new process, the safety of the associates is always a top priority. The difficult part is to maintain the level of safety as time goes on. At Liz Claiborne, we reinforce safety with training/retraining, coupled with an annual associate level follow-up to ensure that:

1) the associate is still following the correct procedure; and

2) the operation has not changed, requiring a change to the process.

“When introducing automation, management must be very diligent to insure all associates are following the correct procedures. The danger with automation is when people work around the safeguards that are put in place to protect them. Whenever you introduce automation, you must stay on top of the safety devices initially installed, or they will be compromised (overridden, and preventive maintenance) over time. In addition, management must lead by example, and not forget about safety during peak time. Whatever the operation, safety should always be the top priority.

“Worker training is extremely important to maintain a safe operation/facility. The important piece that is often neglected is for management to lead by example, and to provide consistent feedback to the associate. This feedback must deliver a consistent message back to the workforce from all levels.

“We have had OSHA audits in the past. In my opinion, the best preparation you can have is to always run an operation as if an audit was going to occur.”

If you have a material handling problem or a question which you’d like to pose to the MHM Editorial Advisory Board, please forward it to Tom Andel, chief editor, at [email protected]. We’ll print the Board’s responses in future issues.

MHM Editorial Advisory Board

Roger Huff

plant operations manager-N.A. Powertrain Operations, Material Planning and Logistics,Ford Motor Company

David Lockman, CIT

manager of engineering, Distribution Operations, L.L. Bean, Inc.

Tan Miller

senior director, logistics, Pfizer Pharmaceutical

Gerald Moultry

vice president, field operations, Pharmaceutical Distribution, CardinalHealth

Brian O’Donnell

director of technical operations and planning, Liz Claiborne

David Rogers

vice president logistics, Rockwell Automation

Gregg Schwerdt

distribution manager, Beauty Care, Procter & Gamble