Four Steps to Build an Innovative Platform for your Business

TI_Logo-FINAL-01Thinking outside the box tends to be the best way to have that big breakthrough. Many ideas that you have could fail to take off, not because of bad ideas but simply because innovation depends on the success of the product just as much as the idea itself. This is why having an effective innovation platform will help you along the way. We have 4 steps that can assist you in your ventures.

Step 1. Understand why you should innovate. Markets in this economy are always changing so it is very important that you stay up-to-date with the latest trends. There are different types of innovation that you can apply to your business, these include: product innovation, process innovation, marketing innovation, and organizational innovation. These types of innovation can help you find your “why”.

 Step 2. Acknowledge ideas from any place. Whether its customer feedback, employees, partners, or the executive team, anyone can help give you that great idea. This means that you might have to monitor your customer service lines to hear feedback. Maybe you have a suggestion box in the office to hear from your employees. Host fun and friendly competitions with rewards around the office to boost and motivate your workers to be creative. All of these can generate the opportunity for an idea to be born.

Step 3. Hire or train new employees in different areas. If you see a gap in you company between growth and capability then it might be time to look outside for help or look to the veterans for their experience. Hiring outside help, even if it is a short-term contractor, can bring in a new perspective that your employees can learn and adopt. Look to your veterans who might not have previously voiced their opinion but can give you beneficial information on what they think would be better for the company. Sometimes people are too shy about speaking their mind, so you should ask. Who knows maybe the next big idea is sitting in your own building.

Step 4. Choose your processes and tools wisely. There are a couple different ways to go about doing this. Some of the processes are, closed innovation which is doing things all in-house. Collaborative innovation is working with your closest partners. Open innovation is being open to customer feedback and ideas. Lastly, a co-innovator is partnering with another business to develop something that you couldn’t do on your own. The tools are the structure and the methods you use to implement these strategies. Any type of innovation can involve risk but having a plan in place can make the process a lot smoother.

Thompson Innovation is here to help make your business more innovative. Contact us to learn more about ways to kickstart innovation and improve your operations.

Phone: 712-224-3800

Website: www.Thompsoninnovation.net

Exciting Announcement

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On May 22, 2018, Electric Innovations and its sister company Thompson Automation and Specialty Services were brought together as a stronger and even more dynamic technology integration company called Thompson Innovation.

Our strategic plan has always been focused on strengthening the technical capabilities and portfolio of solutions we can offer to our customers. This is another step in fulfilling our Corporate Mission: “To be the prime solution provider as recognized by our employees, customers and the communities we serve.”

Under the direction of General Managers, Tasha Barker and Jason Glover, Thompson Innovation will continue to passionately lead our solutions teams in:

  • Managed IT & Software
  • Life Safety & Security
  • Automation & Robotics
  • Electrical Safety & Preventative Maintenance

The addition of solutions previously provided by Thompson Automation and Specialty Services strengthens our ability to meet current and new customer’s needs as one company. For more information contact Thompson Innovation at 712-224-3800 or visit us at www.thompsoninnovation.net

Keep Your Electrical Gear Clean and Tight

Electrical failures often can be avoided, and good preventative maintenance programs can help predict the imminent failure of equipment.  According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the failure rate of electrical equipment is three times higher when electrical preventive maintenance programs are not performed. This tells us that electrical failures can be avoided.

What should be included in an excellent electrical preventative maintenance program (EPM)? There are so many things that could be done such as: Equipment maintenance, cleaning, and thermal imaging.  However, where does one put the priority?  You have to consider the top causes of failure in electrical systems and these include: loose connections, improperly installed parts, defective/inadequate insulation, foreign objects causing short-circuiting, overloading inadequate capacity, and the accumulation of dust, dirt, and oil.  All things that can be prevented with routine and systemic electrical inspections.

Common in all these causes of electrical equipment failure is gear not being clean and well maintained.  Here are four things to keep in mind when developing an EPM program.

First, keep your gear clean. The buildup of dirt and metal debris in an electrical enclosure can cause arcing and arc flash explosions.  A second issue brought about by the accumulation of dirt and debris is an increase in heat and the temperature of the electrical equipment. Third, restricted airflow and an increase in the temperature of gear grossgearthompsondecreases the quality and usable life of the equipment.  Finally, a dirty environment also creates a hospitable home for rodents and vermin. We aren’t kidding, we really have found rodents in electrical gear. Dust is not your only enemy in dirty environments, so keep it clean.

Keep your gear tight. Loose connections are a major cause of electrical failures. More than 75% of the problems uncovered during routine thermal imaging inspections are loose connections. Thermography (infrared scanning) is a common way to identify areas that need repair but must be done while the gear is energized.  While the gear is off and being cleaned why not take an extra minute to check and tighten those loose connections?

If you have more questions or are looking for ideas and more information on best practice electrical preventative maintenance programs give the experts at Thompson Automation and Specialty Services a call today. They are ready and willing to help out in any way that they can.

Phone: 844.321.3869

Website: www.thompsonspecialty.com

Email: help@thompsonspecialty.com

The Three Best Things to Do To Avoid OSHA Training Violations

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With OSHA’s clear message to all employers that more training needs to be completed in order to avoid violations, there are three main things that you can do in order to educate you and your employees of the importance of being compliant.

The first thing you can do is to start with education and a clear understanding of what OSHA is asking you to do. There are plenty of resources out there that can help you with that such as, the Training Requirements in OSHA Standards, and the NFPA 70E Handbook. These documents will be able to clearly explain what you need to do in order to get your employees properly trained. OSHA has now made it a requirement that the employer must train their employees. This means that in order to stay compliant and avoid violations you MUST have training complete.

The second thing is to check out the 270-page book that lists the overview and requirements of the OSHA standards. This is meant to assist employers, safety and health professionals, and training directors with what they need to know in order to keep their employees safe. Also check out the most cited violations for the past year. This will give you an idea on what to avoid and what to train your employees on.

The third thing to do would be to get started with your training schedule and keep track of what you are doing. One of the main questions that an OSHA investigator will ask is if your employees have received proper training. It’s better to have a program started rather than not at all. Keeping track of what you do shows that you are making the right steps forward.

Overlooking training isn’t something that we would recommend. It is better to get started now than to do nothing at all. Come to Thompson for your training needs, we are ready and willing to assist you in any way.

For more information regarding Thompson Training contact us at:

Phone: 844.321.3869

Email: help@thompsonspecialty.com

Website: www.thompsonspecalty.com

OSHA’s Most Cited Violation in 2017 was TRAINING

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Given the nearly 5,000 recorded OSHA violations in 2017 related to Training it’s time to look at your companies training programs and make sure you are covered and not in violation of an OSHA rule.  Not only are nearly one-fifth of all OSHA violations in 2017 related to training, the #9 reason for citations alone was improper training related to fall protection.  OSHA is sending a very clear message to all employers; train your employees!

If you are wondering what to do then, the first place to start is with education and an understanding of what OSHA is asking you to do.  OSHA requires explicitly that the employer must train employees in the safety and health aspects of their job.  One place to find this information is in the Training Requirements in OSHA Standards, a 270-page book that provides a general overview of training standards, requirements, and related topics.  The book is to assist employers, safety and health professionals, and training directors with what they need to know regarding OSHA’s training-related requirements. You could also just start by looking at the list of most cited violations.

Ask yourself: Do your employees handle or work around dangerous chemicals?  Are we properly locking out when we work on electrical gear?  Have we conducted the proper electrical safety training or taught our employees on the proper use of fall safety equipment?  If the answer is ‘Yes’ and you are not conducting training – you better start.

As a nationally recognized leader of electrical safety and electrical preventative maintenance testing, Thompson Automation and Specialty Services is also a leader in electrical safety, preventative maintenance and technical training.  Thompson Training offers more than 60 specific courses in the areas of electrical safety and electrical preventative maintenance.  This breadth of courses provides us the opportunity to design a unique curriculum for your staff’s specific needs.  Whether the course is Electrical Safety for Non-Electrical Personnel, OSHA 30, or training on the most recent NFPA 70E 2018 updates; our expert trainers will connect with your team to deliver an impactful training session that increases your teams’ knowledge. Start 2018 off with a customized safety training plan.

SAFETY

Electrical Safety-Related Work Practices – Provide training to high-risk workers and management on OSHA requirements and the prevention of serious injuries from electrical hazards on the worksite. (OSHA Sub part S – Electrical)

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Electrical Safety – Selecting, using and care of PPE used for arc flash and shock protection.

OSHA 30 – 30 hours of Regulations training over a minimum of 4 days, Introduction to OSHA, OSHA inspections, OSHA’s focus Four, (Falls, Struck By, Caught in-between, Electrocution), Confines Spaces, Ladders and Stairs, Scaffolding, Cranes, PPE, Excavations, tools, etc. (Training can be tailored to focus specific business hazards)

PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE

Electrical Preventative Maintenance Training – Infrared testing, good housekeeping practices, early failure indicators.

Troubleshooting Fundamentals – What to look for when troubleshooting electrical hazards, questions to ask.

TECHNICAL

Electrical Fundamentals – How electricity works, electrical applications, differences between the power at your house and your business.

NFPA 70E – Latest NFPA changes and how they affect your employees, NFPA & OSHA relationship

NEC® National Electrical Code Training – The latest changes to the National Electrical code and what those changes mean to your business.

If you want additional information don’t hesitate to contact us. Our phone number is 712-224-3873 and our website is www.thompsonspecialty.com. Again, thank you for attending and we hope to hear from you soon!

Jason Glover
General Manager

What does the new NFPA 70E 2018 Standard mean to you?

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The NFPA 70E has been the go-to playbook for electrical safety practices since 1979 when it was first published. To keep it updated and current, every three years it is revised to include new regulations and requirements for electrical safety. The 11th edition, also known as the 2018 version, is right around the corner and there are hundreds of minor and major revisions specifically, regarding Arc Flash that you need to educate yourself on.

So, what does all this mean to you the employer? Why should you care?

Complying with consensus standards can be difficult. NFPA 70E offers electrical safe work practices for the industry. The NFPA 70E is a how-to-comply instruction manual for several of OSHA’s regulations including electrical hazard assessments and how to select the appropriate PPE for electrical hazards. It is however ever changing and keeping up with all the changes can be difficult.

OSHA enforces compliance to NFPA 70E using Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which is commonly referred to as the GENERAL DUTY CLAUSE, as the basis for implementation. As the employer, you “shall furnish to each of its employees’ employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.” As a result, companies can be cited by OSHA for non-compliance of NFPA 70E.

It is more important than ever that you utilize a third party that specializes in Arc Flash Risk Assessments and has the experience and knowledge of the OSHA and NFPA 70E requirements. Call Thompson Automation and Specialty Services today at 844.321.3869 to learn more and to find out how we can help you stay compliant with OSHA and the new NFPA 70E standards.

www.thompsonspecialty.com

 

Nebraska Safety Council Conference and Trade Show

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Thompson Automation and Specialty Services was pleased to support the Nebraska Safety Council Conference and Trade Show October 11th and 12th, 2017 at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in Lincoln, NE. This exciting conference brought together a larget group of safety professionals to keep current on a broad range of issues, get valuable training, and network with colleagues and industry experts. Jason Glover of Thompson was there to discuss some of the new OSHA, NFPA 70E, electrical safety and preventive maintenance needs for the varying industries in Nebraska.
 
Thompson strongly supports the Nebraska Safety Council and WorkWell mission of enhancing Nebraska’s safety initiatives by offering professional training, education and technical assistance. Great training and great technology allows the industry to propel itself forward and provide innovative solutions to solve Nebraska largest safety issues. Thompson Automation and Specialty Services provides automation & controls support and specialty electrical services to help our customers operate their facilities more efficiently, keep in compliance with government and safety standards, run electrical systems at optimal energy efficiency levels, and help reduce the ever-growing energy costs. Services like Arc Flash Risk Assessment, Thermal Imaging, Breaker Testing, Electrical Preventative Maintenance, and courses in Electrical Safety Training all help keep a work environment safe and free from accidents.
Contact us today for more information on how we can help your business operate safely, energy efficiently, cost-effectively, and in compliance for years to come.