"Worry about those things that you can control," my mom used to tell me. It's a great piece of advice, especially as we struggle to deal with the weak economic rebound and the political ruckus that passes for progress in Washington, D.C.
So what's a metal fabricator to worry about? I don't run a shop, but I think this advice is pretty good for anyone looking to gain control of a hectic life.
Get healthy. Some friends and their two daughters came over last Sunday. We haven't seen them in about four months. I didn't recognize the husband when I opened the door because he had shed about 50 pounds.
The weight loss was the result of a new lifestyle commitment. His doctor said he was one fast-food meal from perhaps killing himself, and he needed to give up his manic work schedule and stop eating when it was convenient. Now he has a six-day workout schedule, a plan for healthy eating each day, and a commitment to try and get at least six hours of sleep each night. This medical intervention has dramatically changed his life, and he's got a much brighter view of the future.
Most metal fabricating shop owners and managers are integral parts of their operations. Actually, anyone left working in a shop is likely integral, considering the many layoffs that occurred in 2009. These people need to be as healthy as possible because unforeseen, long-term absences related to illness could be a crushing blow for a business looking to ride the wave of an increase in business.
If your company doesn't have a wellness program, management should consider it. Those types of programs help to lower insurance premiums and boost morale.
Get green. I've written previously about the need to take environmental responsibility seriously. It makes sense from a business standpoint as well as save-the-world point of view. Some small improvements on the shop floor translate into saving some real green:
- If you use compressed air, check for leaks and replace defective hoses. The sound of an air leak is the sound of money being sucked out of the window.
- Instead of high-intensity discharge lighting, consider energy-efficient fluorescent lighting. The payback for such an investment may occur in a shorter time frame than you think. Also, some programs may be available to help pay for the switch.
- If your company already has fluorescent lighting, consider T8 or T5 lighting as a substitute. Depending on ceiling height, it might work just as well and not consume as much energy.
- Put in occupancy sensors so lighting turns off when no one is in the area.
- Replace old HVAC equipment.
- Capture the heat generated by capital equipment and figure a way to heat the shop floor with it in colder months.
- If you currently use vacuum cups for lifting and transferring ferrous metals, switch to air-release magnets. A quick burst of air releases the magnet, which saves a tremendous amount of shop air annually when compared to vacuum systems.
Get online. All of those tips came from a discussion group I belong to on LinkedIn. At the time that I got the e-mail update about the discussion, more than 60 plant managers had chimed in with their ideas. The Internet can be a real time waster, but it can be extremely helpful as well.
Get away. I'm going to Walt Disney World with the family next week. I wasn't planning on going, but purchased a ticket yesterday. This might be the last trip for the crew to the Mouse House, so I didn't want to miss it.
Of course, I'm not staying with them for entire trip, but that's a balance I can live with. Striking that balance is really what responsible people should be worried about.