June is National Safety Month
, and we at Keats heartily approve of the push for awareness and implementation of robust safety procedures in the workplace. Part of what constitutes a job well done for us is a job that minimizes the risk involved with the operation of custom manufacturing equipment to provide the highest levels of safety and comfort to our employees, and peace of mind to their families. It’s a commitment of ours, which is why we are doing our part to encourage best safety practices, and have taken proactive precautionary steps in our own plant to ensure we keep our employees safe and healthy.
We maintain a high level of cleanliness and organization on our plant floors – reducing clutter is not only efficient for productivity, but we’ve found that maintaining clear pathways between machines and organized works paces leads to a safer work environment. It’s been years since we’ve had a lost-day accident – and this is thanks in large to our commitment to the continual improvement of our safety protocols. Another proactive measure we’ve taken is to meet with our floor managers to design improved lock-out/tag-out procedures on our machines, and improved spill containment procedures – these conversations between management and operator are important for consistency and clarity of approach, and ensure that policies are accurate and effective for our operators. Since our machines require specialized knowledge for operation and control, we have found that lock-out/tag-out procedures work well to ensure only those trained on particular machines can use them. For spill containment, we not only want to provide our employees with knowledge of how to prevent these occurrences, but resources and training for what to do in the event that a spill occurs – this is why we insist on having our safety training in-house, so that we can be sure each employee is given job-specific instruction for maximum safety in every situation.
These are some of many ways in which we at Keats have chosen to promote the safety of our employees. We hope you’ll join with us in doing the same, and pursue policies and procedures that work for your company to prevent injury, protect employees, and improve lives.
In February, we blogged about our internship program, and we noted that, increasingly, schools just aren’t spending enough time providing students with the critical skills they need in math and science to prepare them for real-world jobs in areas such as advanced manufacturing.
So we would like to take this opportunity to promote an initiative that is working to remedy this problem. A group called the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics held educational activities throughout the United States in April to boost awareness among young people of the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (or STEM).
These efforts (in the form of special lectures, events, contests, and so forth in schools) focused on the “Mathematics of Sustainability” in order to “spotlight the role of mathematics in helping us balance human needs against the world’s resources while operating within the constraints of nature, while seeking creative solutions for a sustainable way of life.” It’s quite a mouthful, but we think it translates into reaching out to the next generation of Americans to emphasize how important it is to study hard not just for themselves but also for their communities — and even their world.
For example, in our own plant, we recently held an eight-week basic metalworking skills class in partnership with the Jane Addams Resource Corp. (JARC) for our newer employees. We taught math as it applies to manufacturing (introduction to statistical control, etc.). We have a joint partnership with JARC, and their instructors come out to our facility whenever we have enough new employees to run through the program (we had 12 this time).
Math Awareness Month is a worthy project, and we encourage our customers and friends to support it if they can — even if you just tweet about it. It’s something we all have a vested interest in.
Frankly, we think every month should be devoted to improving the skills of our present and future employees.
A business is nothing without the right employees. The act of hiring is in itself a hard to master art form. You can have the perfect product and a massive client list, but without an outstanding staff, they aren’t worth much. If you don’t have the right team on the floor, you will find that it is nearly impossible to put out a high quality product that will keep your customers happy and coming back year after year. So what are the secrets to hiring? What can you do to build an organization that will thrive even as employees come and go?
Matt Keats, from Keats Southwest, has some very clear ideas on how to put together a staff that not only produces, but also shares a common vision. In the highly informative video below, Matt takes you through the entire hiring philosophy and process and that has made all three of Keats’ locations leaders in the world of small metal stampings, wireforms, and assemblies.
When you expand your business into a new community there are any number of challenges. First and foremost, you have to bring with you an amazing product or service that will add to an already existing business environment. However, just having the best of something will not guarantee success; it is important that you connect with your new surroundings on a personal level.
When our own Matt Keats created Keats Southwest in the summer of 1994, he was faced with a unique challenge: bring a historically Midwestern business to the great city of El Paso, Texas. We could try and tell the story of how Matt successfully made the transition, but instead we think it would be better if we let Matt share his truly unique insights. Enjoy!
Despite a few stops and starts and some springtime snowstorms, it’s about that time of year again to get out the old fishing rod and tackle box. Nothing is more relaxing (or for that matter, frustrating) than spending a day on the water and putting a hook in the water. At Keats
, we are no different. Quite a few of us have used our vacation and weekend time trying to catch the “big one”!
That’s why everyone at Keats was thrilled when a big name in the recreational fishing industry came to us with an exciting and challenging project. The client wanted to produce something called a “speed clip” which was to be attached to their custom fishing rods. This unique clip was designed to replace the swivel on the rod, and it would allow users to quickly change the type of lure they were using without a great deal of effort.
Working closely with the client, we were able to apply our state-of-the-art four-slide technology to manufacture the clip. Thanks to our years of experience and highly trained staff, we were able to turn what was an expensive and difficult to produce multi part assembly into a one-piece assembly that saved both money and time. The best part is that the customer was so pleased he has been relying exclusively on Keats to produce his speed clips for most of the last decade.
While not everyone can fully appreciate how great it is to be able to change lures quickly while in the middle of a long day of fishing, they can appreciate the high quality work, the amazing customer service, and the cost-effectiveness that comes with everything we create.