What Vulcan is Thankful for…

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Nearly 80 years in business, two recent plant expansions, an invaluable group of dedicated employees… what’s not to be thankful for?

As the holidays seem to sneak up on us more quickly every single year, it is incredibly important to pause, take a step back and give thanks. So, what are Vulcan employees thankful for this holiday season?

We asked a few and here’s what we found out…

Working at Vulcan- An Employee Owned Company!

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Good Health

Family, Church Family and Friends

Deer Season

Alabama Football

My Back Porch

Being ALIVE!

Good Music

Auburn Winning The Iron Bowl

Candy Crush

A Day Off

Pets

Christmas Music

4:00… A.K.A. Quittin’ Time!

Black Friday Sales

Good Food- Satsuma’s & Pecan Pie

Living in Foley, AlabamaWelcome To Foley Sign

Big Boy Toys

Right to Bear Arms

My Spouse

Toys for Kids

Living in the U.S.A. / Freedom

God

Vulcan’s Desire to Invest in Employees

New Beginnings

Vulcan’s Customers and Vendors

Coworkers with Fun Personalities

Great Vulcan Sales Managers

Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, AL

Employees Working As A Team

Duck Season

Dallas Cowboys Football

Now it’s your turn. Tell us what you are thankful for this year!

Continuous Improvement: The PLAN. DO. CHECK. ACT. Cycle

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Merriam-Webster defines the word continuous in the following way: continuing without stopping : happening or existing without a break or interruption. This definition implies fluid movements as in the PLAN. DO. CHECK. ACT. (PDCA) Cycle. This continuous improvement process is a proven systematic approach that Engineers at Vulcan utilize every day. Once an issue is identified, whether in production or in the office, there are certain steps that have to be followed in order to make improvements. Documentation of the issue, as well as the steps taken to improve the issue is critical.

PDCA

PLAN:

1) Identify the issue or process that needs to be improved upon.

2) Form a cross-functional team to fully encompass all components of the issue at hand.

3) Gather and analyze all of the important information you have, quickly discarding any information that isn’t relevant to the solution.

4) Plan a course of action. Assign action items to team members. Document the steps being taken.

Action Item

SAMPLE ACTION ITEM TEMPLATE

DO:

Action or lack thereof, needs to be visible. No one wants to be the one team member that lets others down. Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual meetings need to occur to ensure follow-up and completion of action item tasks. Document the DO by detailing what has and has not been completed.

CHECK:

Next, gather and analyze the data from the solution you put in place to have an accurate before and after snapshot of progress.

ACT:

Now it’s time to make a data driven decision and take action. If the data indicates that what you have done in your DO stage has had a positive impact, DO MORE.  The reverse is also true. If the issue is not improving, it is time to go back to the PLAN stage and devise a new course of action.

The PLAN. DO. CHECK. ACT. approach can be adapted to any facet of an organization. However, remember PDCA and the continuous improvement process is only as good as the team members and their level of commitment. It is extremely helpful to have a Team Leader that will take ownership of the project and involve others that have a vested interest in seeing improvements becoming a reality.

 

Keep Calm and Get Your Safety On

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Safety culture. This buzz phrase is defined as the ways in which safety is managed in the workplace, and often reflects the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values that employees share in relation to safety. (Cox, S. & Cox, T. (1991) A European example Work and Stress, 5, 93-106.) Here at Vulcan, our emphasis on safety starts with our CSO (Chief Safety Officer), who is also our President and CEO. We believe that safety is not just something to discuss once a week in a safety meeting… we incorporate it into every facet of our workday and our management is on board and committed. Today we wanted to share a few pointers that we have found to be performance indicators in the implementation of our own safety program. Our hope is that in sharing some of the knowledge that we have gleaned throughout our safety journey, other organizations will benefit by improving the results of their own programs.

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Vulcan’s New Safety Slogan Submitted By A Vulcan Employee

Management of the Safety Program-For the past three and half years, Vulcan’s safety program has been managed by an outside company that specializes in the development and management of safety programs for various organizations. Having an outside vendor come in and analyze the way we looked at safety was an imperative initial step for us, allowing us to identify additional potential issues, correct them and educate our employees about safety. We then developed an internal Corporate Safety Committee (CSC), comprised of upper level managers of various disciplines around campus (HR, Engineering and Maintenance, Risk Management & Insurance, etc.) as well as a member of the outside company. We recently hired an Environmental, Safety and Health Manager to solidify our commitment to safety.

Get Employees On Board- The critical component to a truly successful safety culture however is to have full employee participation in the safety program. One way to accomplish this is to involve employees in the different stages of development. For example, each of Vulcan’s manufacturing divisions encompasses their own Plant Safety Team (PST) that is comprised of newbies as well as seasoned vets. The primary focus of the PST(s) is to identify safety concerns within their respective plants and make corrective actions, as well as educate other employees about the concerns at hand and encourage working safely. Volunteering to be a member of a PST comes with a great sense of pride and responsibility. Team members are not only stepping into a leadership role, they are also taking ownership of the number one priority of their plant… KEEP EMPLOYEES SAFE.

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One of Vulcan’s Five Plant Safety Teams On Campus

Updating Current Safety Signs- In 2011 the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) developed the ANSI Z535.2-2011 format for environmental and facility safety signs. This new standard was created to enhance the communication of workplace hazard messages. One of the first tasks the CSC took on was updating safety signs across the entire Vulcan campus. For a clear illustration of the layout enhancements made, see the comparison below of traditional OSHA signs versus the new ANSI Z535.2-2011 format.

ANSI SAFETY SIGNS

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New safety signs installed at entrances and exits of all parking lots at Vulcan serve as a daily reminder!

While this is but a simple snapshot of what safety looks like at Vulcan, we can tell you that if you put the time and effort into safety that it deserves, you will see amazing results.

So Remember… Keep Calm and Get Your Safety On!

 

Metal Stamping 101: Part 2 of 2

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Welcome back for Part 2 of Metal Stamping 101. This week we will be learning more about the processes of Forming, Laser Cutting, Piercing and Progressive Stamping. Let’s dive right in…

FORMING

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Forming- Forming is a metal stamping operation that Vulcan performs to shape a flat or blanked piece of metal to create a desired specification, similar to bending. Complex parts such as U-sections, channel sections of different profiles, can be produced by doing multiple bends.

LASER CUTTING

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Laser Cutting- Laser Cutting is a process utilized by Vulcan Metal Stampings to cut materials with a laser, providing a high quality surface finish with great precision and close contours. Laser cutting with Vulcan Metal Stampings can produce parts with minimum setup time and no tooling cost. Laser cutting is a cost-efficient process for small batch production and can be done with quick turnaround, enabling Vulcan Metal Stampings to work with you to meet your prototyping needs. Additionally, scrap is minimized in this process as laser cutting allows close nesting of parts.

PIERCING

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Piercing-Piercing is a shearing process where a punch and die are used to create a hole in sheet metal or a plate. The process and machinery are usually the same as that used in blanking, except that the piece being punched out is scrap in the piercing process. There are many specialized types of piercing: lancing, perforating, notching, nibbling, shaving, cutoff, and dinking.

PROGRESSIVE STAMPING

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Progressive Stamping- Progressive Stamping is a metalworking method that can encompass punching, coining, bending and several other ways of modifying metal raw material, combined with an automatic feeding system. The feeding system pushes a strip of metal (as it unrolls from a coil) through all of the stations of a progressive stamping die. Each station performs one or more operations until a finished part is made. The final station is a cutoff operation, which separates the finished part from the carrying web. The carrying web, along with metal that is punched away in previous operations, is treated as scrap metal. Vulcan Metal Stampings has multiple progressive dies and also has the ability to make small progressive dies in-house.

In addition to the primary operations listed above, Vulcan Metal Stampings offers many secondary operations including Assembling, Counter-Sinking, De-Burring, E-Coating, Electro-Plating, Heat-Treating, Notching, Painting, Powder Coating, Riveting, Staking, Tapping and Welding. For more information or to request a quote, please visit www.vulcanmetalstampings.com or call 1.888.846.2805.