Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Guide for Driving Sustainable Innovation Throughout a Construction Organization

There are two major types of innovation: Sustaining - smaller, incremental changes and Disruptive - game changing moves. Both types of innovation are discussed in this Construction Business Owner article. Learn what inhibits and inspires innovation in the construction field. 
Boegh, Flickr.com

The world is witnessing a new Renaissance. Just as Michelangelo, Dante, Galileo and Titian defined a generation of classical painting, sculpting, mathematics and literature, a new revolution surges in the world of business. For the last few decades, innovative business leaders have dramatically altered the landscape with groundbreaking ideas that have forever changed how the world lives.

Inventors and entrepreneurs toil tirelessly to invent the next big thing, while the iPhone, Facebook, Google, Instagram and Zynga dominate the headlines and inspire savvy businesspeople to create. Some of these creations, such as the iPhone and Facebook, have morphed from simple conveniences to necessity. What may sound frivolous—a platform people use to share every detail of their lives with their friends, for example—has managed to reshape the business world we see today. Imagine that 20 years ago someone told you that a firm such as Kodak would no longer be around.

Today’s innovative businesses managed to supplant many legacy giants that most likely had the same impact when they themselves began as fledgling start-ups. This phenomenon shows us that innovation and evolution are in some way linked.

Innovation in Construction
On the continuum of innovation, few construction firms would be confused for the likes of Apple or Google—comparing a construction firm to Apple is, well, apples and oranges.

However, the flawed thinking is not in comparing Apple and ABC Construction Inc., but rather, in failing to recognize that—regardless of the industry—every contractor can take a page out of the Google handbook. Consider the following questions.

To read the full article, follow this link.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Optrel Weldcap Reinvents the Welding Helmet with Radical, Casual New Design

A new take on the traditional welding cap has been featured in this ISHN article. With its revolutionary wear comfort, extensive field of view and lightweight design, it's no wonder why the Optrel Weldcap(R) is achieving high marks in comfort and design. 

Optrel Inc., the global innovator of auto-darkening filter technology for welding helmets, has reinvented the welding helmet with a radical, casual new design: weldcap®. The new optrel weldcap combines the lightweight wear comfort of a baseball cap with the full protection of an autodarkening welding helmet. weldcap is soft where it needs to be comfortable, rigid where it needs to be tough — combined with an extensive field of view that expands a welder's line of sight by 2.7 times.

“We know that welders rank field of view and comfort as essential features in a welding helmet. The more comfortable the helmet, the more productive a welder can be. The wider the viewing area, the safer the welder can be,” said Renee S. Bessette, Vice President of Marketing and Operations. “weldcap raises the bar for the ultimate in wear comfort and protection. In our conversations with weldcap users, they are continually amazed by the field of vison they get in such a lightweight helmet.”

Weldcap takes an innovative approach in its design to achieve this revolution in comfort and vision.

Revolutionary Wear Comfort – weldcap’s lightweight, flame-retardant textile is soft where it must be comfortable and its robust plastic is rigid where it must be tough, while meeting the ANSI Z87.1+ standard for impact resistance. Its sleek, flexible design enables users to access confined spaces without hindrance.

To read more on this new welding cap, click here

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

3D Printer Constructs 10 Buildings In One Day From Recycled Materials

Would you believe it if someone said, "3D printers could someday be used to build skyscrapers from the recycled materials of other building?" Well that day is near! With the capabilities to build the shell of a 2,000 sq. ft. house in under 20 hours, this new technology could provide a tremendous breakthrough in the future.

A Chinese company has become the first to construct multiple buildings using 3D printers that extrude recycled building materials at breakneck speed.

Using four huge 3D printers, Yingchuang New Materials Inc. was able to print the shells of 10 one-room structures in 24 hours and at a cost of only about $5,000 per building. The buildings had to harden at the factory and then be transported and assembled on site.

The 3D printed buildings will be used as offices at a Shanghai industrial park.

The printers, supplied by WinSun Decoration Design Engineering, are 20 feet tall, 33 feet wide and 132 feet long.

Like their desktop counterparts, the construction-grade WinSun 3D printers use a fused deposition modeling (FDM) technology to deposit materials one layer at a time in a process that's similar to squeezing frosting from a pastry bag.

To view the full article and brief video, click here

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

LM150 Lessons Learned: Carol King

When it comes to business growth, would you do it all over again if you had the chance? Would you know where you went wrong the first time and what needed to change? With information from those who have gone before, it's easier to plan your steps for the future. 
Landscape Management Magazine

Hindsight is 20/20, and I’m always brighter after the fact.

As we’ve morphed into a $9 million to $10 million company, we compete on the commercial maintenance side against large, national and regional companies who sell contracts to hotel chains, restaurant chains and large property management groups. It’s dawned on me we can’t work in certain areas because they’re tied up with negotiated relationships. It takes a certain market segment away from you.

CarolKingConsequently, if we had it to do over again, we might have developed a more niche-related company to have a smaller footprint and closer control. It would have been years ago, probably in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Companies that accomplish this increase their margins and retain their customers better because of the relationship factor. The one thing the national companies may not be able to do, versus a family business or one-market business, is be close to customers, react quicker to their needs and maintain a relationship-based business.

For instance, homeowner associations (HOAs), condominiums and multi-housing sites for the residential side are not prone to being rolled up by national companies because they’re all locally controlled.

There are opportunities to target a specific market. Spend your marketing dollars in that one area and become a preferred provider or a boutique company. You’ve just got to find the one you’re comfortable with. It always has to come back to who and what you want to be and where you want to head. You need to make these decisions when you’re in the $1 million to $2 million revenue point.

Follow this link to read the full article.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chuck Noll’s leadership legacy

Leadership comes in many forms - including a NFL head coach. As this ISHN article clearly states, it takes courage and tact to be appropriately candid, but it is very necessary in order to hold people accountable and to set a standard of performance that will define your culture for safety.

The very recent passing of Chuck Noll, Hall of Fame coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, has stirred the emotions and thoughts of many. Chuck Noll is the only NFL head coach to win four Super Bowls and may be the greatest NFL head coach of all time. Charles Henry Noll never received the credit he truly deserved but those closest to him realized his exceptional leadership qualities, almost instantly.

In the local press coverage, former players and those from the Steelers’ front office have had the most to share about Coach Noll. He had many outstanding leadership qualities but one of the most highly regarded was his candidness. Chuck Noll knew how to be very straightforward about performance but he wasn’t deeply offensive – he had tact. We can learn from Chuck Noll by being forthright and candid about safety-related performance.

1. Be as direct about performance issues by being as open and honest as possible.

2. Don’t make it personal or use name-calling to defeat someone.

3. Don’t wait to address performance issues - the earlier the better.

4. Don’t belittle someone in front of their peers or others.

5. Use your words carefully – some words cut deeply and humiliate.

It takes courage and tact to be appropriately candid, but it is very necessary in order to hold people accountable and to set a standard of performance that will define your culture for safety. Mike Tomlin, the current head coach of the Steelers, often uses a phrase that characterizes the Steelers’ culture of success, “the standard is the standard.”

The Steelers’ standard of success didn’t start with Coach Tomlin, it started with Chuck Noll. Learn to be candid about safety performance; it will go a long way in setting and defining your own standards of success.

To see the full article, follow this link

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Roadmap for Holistic EHS Management

A holistic approach is necessary for a safety culture to be created in a work environment. This EHS article details the type of approach desired to help ensure that everyone in the organization is a key component to the safety culture. 
Heather, Flickr.com

When it comes to their approaches to workplace safety and health, companies today can be lumped into one of three categories: reactive, managed and proactive.

Reactive companies focus on complying with regulations and applying lessons learned from their safety failures.

Companies that take a managed approached to safety leverage systems, policies and procedures to prevent incidents. However, this group considers incidents to be a natural consequence of operations – in other words, they believe that incidents are bound to happen every now and then.

Proactive organizations have the most mature approach to EHS. Companies in this category strive for a zero-incident environment by employing proactive safety management systems and behavior-based safety strategies. These companies operate under the principle that it's not acceptable to subject employees to any kind of avoidable danger and risk, and that it's not acceptable for the operation to pose any threat to the environment.

To read the full article, follow this link

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

OSHA Launches Summer Campaign To Prevent Heat Illness

As the summer months arrive, OSHA is taking a stand to raise awareness against heat illnesses. This CleanLink article details how they are educating employers and employees on preventative measures and cautionary actions. 
Kirrus, Flickr.com

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced the launch of its annual Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers. For the fourth consecutive year, OSHA's campaign aims to raise awareness and educate workers and employers about the dangers of working in hot weather and provide resources and guidance to address these hazards.

Workers at particular risk are those in outdoor industries, such as agriculture, construction, landscaping and transportation.

However, cleaning professionals may also be at risk of overheating while performing regular cleaning tasks such as emptying trash, sweeping parking lots, or washing windows outdoors — or during duties in facilities with inadequate air cooling systems.

"Heat-related illnesses can be fatal, and employers are responsible for keeping workers safe," said U.S. Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez. "Employers can take a few easy steps to save lives, including scheduling frequent water breaks, providing shade and allowing ample time to rest."

Thousands of employees become sick each year and many die from working in the heat. In 2012...

Click here to read the full article.