Industrial workers improve work processes
No one knows better than the worker himself how to improve the work process of which he is a part. Ergonomic, safety, or environmental problems, as well as improvements in efficiency, costs, or production times, become evident to those who put their bodies into industrial plants on a daily basis. And some companies decided to listen to them: with different methodologies, programs, and initiatives, they encourage the participation of workers in improvement processes.
By organizing work teams to develop projects and implementing suggestions, employers obtain a double benefit: continuous improvement and strengthening of the work environment.
An emblematic case is that of Toyota, which in Argentina has been applying the concept of continuous improvement for 20 years. The Japanese theory is that there is always something that can be improved: “If I ask someone if they have a problem and they say no, then that is the main problem,” summarizes Andrés Massuh, the company’s HR director. Continuous improvement “is one of the two pillars of the company, along with respect for people,” he says.
At the Zárate plant, 5,000 people work under an agreement, and in 2018 94% joined one of the 750 quality circles that operate every year, a tool that allows workers to detect a problem, design a solution, test it and consolidate it so that it can later be standardized as part of the process. “In the plant, a work cell is made up of four team members and a team leader. They are the ones who best know what problems they have in terms of quality, safety, ergonomics, and costs. So, quality circles are formed to recognize a problem, to see what is the ideal situation to fix it, to fix it and to leave it sustained in time”, explains Massuh.
These circles develop during paid overtime. Every year, the top 10 compete in Argentina and of those, the top five compete against Brazil. From there come the two groups that travel to Japan, where they share good practices with 46 quality circles from 24 countries.
“When all this process is over, the team member or team leader feels that he or she developed, that he or she grew personally and professionally. We have quality in the process and we develop people”, adds the manager. And he exemplifies: “They visualize the problem, but explaining it and putting it in a presentation has a degree of difficulty. You learn and it takes time. It’s impressive how they improve from the beginning of the project to the final presentation.
Quality circles are complemented by a system of individual suggestions. “We receive 15 suggestions per year per employee: about 70,000 per year. They can range from how we recycle gloves in a particular process to a tool that if manufactured differently can have an ergonomic advantage,” explains Massuh.
Something similar happens at the Ternium steel mill. In the Continuous Improvement program, which was launched in 2015, workers are organized into multidisciplinary teams of between 8 and 12 people, with a minimum of 60% of plant personnel. “It is very important to generate teams with plant and technical-professional personnel to promote innovation,” says Diego Siri, director of Continuous Improvement.
The teams, which meet outside working hours, in paid overtime, work from 5 to 8 months designing the proposal for improvement in areas such as increased productivity, reduction of qualitative deviations, logistical efficiency, environmental improvements, reduction of energy consumption and improvements in people’s safety. “All projects are implemented: in fact, they end when the results are obtained,” Siri says.
So far, 60 teams have participated in Ternium’s 7 industrial plants. One of the projects presented, on reducing water consumption in steel mills, “managed to reduce the consumption of electricity equivalent to the consumption of about 6,000 homes,” exemplifies the executive.
When a team closes the project, a presentation is made to the Industrial Management and every year an event is held open to all personnel, where the teams compete and a jury chooses the best. “The initiative has a strong impact on the work environment: it generates links between different areas, between professionals and operators, which then continue in force,” adds the executive. “On the other hand, it is highly valued by operators to participate in decision-making and be able to contribute ideas to improve their own work,” he says.
Acindar began a transformation process in October last year. “The company needs to improve its competitiveness to be able to export in a sustainable and stable way,” says Silvina Saavedra, director of Strategy. “We have an export tradition, but no stability in exports because international prices are very fluctuating and our competition is very strong.
Sell In May? This VIX Butterfly Spread Could Be The Perfect Trading Strategy
Market volatility has fallen markedly as measured by the CBOE Volatility (VIX) Index. VIX is a real-time index that represents the market expectation for near-term volatility in the S&P500 index.
Investors and traders have long used VIX as a measure of the level of risk, fear or stress in the market.
Today, we’re going to look at a long call butterfly using VIX options as a way to profit if volatility jumps up again in the next few weeks.
A long call butterfly is constructed through buying a call option, selling two higher calls and buying one call even higher.
The trade is entered for a net debit meaning the trader pays to enter the trade. This debit is also the maximum possible loss.
Usually, a butterfly is placed roughly at-the-money, but today we are looking at placing it out-of-the-money.
Using the May 16 expiry, the trade would involve buying the 20 strike call, selling two of the 25 strike calls and buying one of the 30 strike calls.
The cost for the trade would be around $40-45 which is the most the trade could lose. The maximum potential gain is $460, which would occur is VIX closed right at 25 at expiration. The lower breakeven price is 20.50 and the upper breakeven price is 29.50.
There are three general outcomes with this butterfly.
- VIX below 20.50 – Trade loses $45. This scenario should be reasonably acceptable for most investors. While the option trade suffers a full loss, hopefully stocks have been stable or rising.
- VIX between 20.50 and 29.50 – Good for the VIX butterfly, but potentially bad for stock portfolios.
- VIX above 29.50 – Full loss on the VIX trade and potentially big drops in stock portfolio.
So, VIX above 30 is the main scenario that hurts in this case, but how likely is that? We’ve only seen a VIX reading of above 30 on a handful of days in the last six months.
Using VIX options can be simple and cheap way to buy some protection against a mild selloff in stocks between now and mid-May. The trade can be placed relatively cheaply at $40-45 per contract.
VIX options behave differently to regular stock options, so it is important that any trader using this product fully understands the risks involved. As always, do your own research and due diligence before risking any of your hard-earned capital.
Please remember that options are risky, and investors can lose 100% of their investment. This article is for education purposes only and not a trade recommendation. Remember to always do your own due diligence and consult your financial advisor before making any investment decisions.
Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) bolsters Finniss mineral resource by 62pc
- Core Lithium (CXO) posts a 62 per cent increase to the total mineral resource estimate (MRE) of its Finniss lithium project in the Northern Territory
- The total resource now comprises 30.6 million tonnes at 1.31 per cent lithium, with measured and indicated resources of 19.4 million tonnes at 1.37 per cent lithium
- Core says the results highlight the “significant potential” for mine life extensions at Finniss, and it will now work to complete an updated ore reserve estimate
- The company has allocated $25 million to its 2023 drilling campaign — nearly double its 2022 budget — to deliver further resource increases
- CXO shares are up 7.03 per cent and trading at 99 cents at 11:54 am AEST
Core Lithium (CXO) has posted a 62 per cent increase to the total mineral resource estimate (MRE) of its Finniss lithium project in the Northern Territory.
The total resource now comprises 30.6 million tonnes at 1.31 per cent lithium oxide.
Of this, the measured and indicated mineral resources make up 19.4 million tonnes at 1.37 per cent lithium oxide — an increase of 46 per cent from the previous resource.
The update follows the company’s largest drilling program to date: a 39,600-metre reverse circulation and diamond drilling campaign completed in 2022.
The program was conducted at both known deposits and new prospects within the Bynoe pegmatite field, which lies 15 kilometres south of Darwin and extends up to 70 kilometres in length and 15 kilometres in width.
Core said the new results highlighted the “significant potential” for mine life extensions at Finniss, and the company will now work to complete an updated ore reserve estimate.
The company has allocated $25 million to its 2023 drilling campaign — nearly double the budget allocated for 2022 — to deliver further increases to the project’s MRE.
CXO shares were up 7.03 per cent and trading at 99 cents at 11:54 am AEST.
Understanding the Steps of a “Know Your Customer” Process
To help battle against the multi-trillion-dollar financial crime industry, firms themselves take steps toward solving the problem. One way organizations have responded is by expanding their “Know Your Customer” (KYC) efforts.
KYC references a set of guidelines that financial institutions and businesses follow to verify the identity, suitability, and risks of a current or potential customer. The goal is to identify suspicious behavior such as money laundering and financial terrorism before it ever materializes.
KYC regulations originated from years of unchecked financial crimes. The initial guidelines were drafted in 1970 when the U.S. passed the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) to prevent money laundering. Notable additions came years later, after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and 2008 global financial crisis.
The regulations put in place over the years have required firms to monitor client behavior regularly. And there is no exception for not complying. Any company—including banks, insurance companies, and creditors—with exposure to client risk must develop a KYC strategy for engaging with customers.
What are the requirements to “Know Your Customer”?
The “Know Your Customer” framework contains three steps: customer identification program (CIP), customer due diligence (CDD) and enhanced due diligence (EDD).
Customer Identification Program
At the minimum, firms must pull four pieces of identifying information about a client, including name, date of birth, address, and identification number.
Most firms take additional steps in their screening process. Many will make sure that clients do not appear on government sanction lists, politically exposed person (PEP) lists, or known terrorism lists— those who do appear usually require enhanced due diligence.
Other items considered at this time include financial transactions, which firms use to separate potentially risky behavior from regular business activity.
Much of this information comes from various reporting agencies, public databases and third-party sources.
Customer Due Diligence (CDD)
Customer due diligence is the process of classifying all the information collected during the Customer Identification Program.
Firms examine the nature and beneficiaries of existing relationships to ensure all activity is consistent with historical customer information.
The goal is to obtain enough information to verify a customer’s identity and assess their riskiness. Since financial crime happens quickly, firms frequently monitor this information for unusual spikes in activity or changes to sanction lists. Most clients pose little to no risk, but the few who do are subject to enhanced due diligence.
Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD)
If a customer is believed to pose additional risks, firms take extra steps to gain a better understanding of their motivations. A high-risk person may include those with political exposure or relationships with designated persons. Even someone in a high-risk country can raise a red flag for compliance.
In practice, firms must demonstrate a deeper understanding of the high-risk clients identified by a standard customer due diligence program. Some of the information required to perform enhanced due diligence includes a source of wealth verification, detailed management reports and relevant third-party research.
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