Steps to Glory – Sales vs Operations!

The Combatants:    Sales & Marketing Versus The Operations Team
The Title:                  Workweek Hustle
To The Winner:        The Spoils, A Company sponsored lunch
For the Loser:          Defeat…and the joy of manning the phones whilst the winners celebrate
The Teams:               Five from Sales and Marketing, Five from Operations
The Challenge:        To complete the most steps between Monday and Friday

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If there was one lesson to be learned from this clash of the titans it was to never underestimate the lengths that a competitive spirit will go to to win. Fierce competition was expected from both sides, the stakes were high, lunch, yes, but above all, honour. This wasn’t going to be a walk in the park…although walks in the park took place; this was going to be a week of very early mornings and very late nights as the opposing teams stepped up to the task and stepped out to win.

Was it fun? Yes, and funny, and very challenging! Those lunch time power walks around industrial Avonmouth suburbs, with the teams often crossing each other’s path must have raised eyebrows with on-lookers, and then the time that Niels, from the Sales & Marketing team spotted members of the opposition in the furthest part of the warehouse, on the mezzanine floor, striding across whilst carrying a ‘empty folder’.

That wasn’t the least of the Operations’ Teams maneuvers, with Kev polishing his car with his Fitbit arm to gather more steps, and spending hours on his home cross trainer, making sure his arm was strapped down so not to loose steps. He even had his children pass him food and drink so he didn’t need to get off! And then there was Ashley, who purchased an under-desk peddle machine to keep on top of steps during office hours, and Sam, who dragged her poor dog on endless morning walks to secure a competitive advantage over Faith.

The Sales and Marketing Team had their moments too, Amit became famous for taking night time runs along the Avon gorge, Niels spent hours and hours at the gym, visiting twice a day, much to the surprise of the staff there. And then there was Faith, whose trainers mysteriously disappeared from her office. The competitiveness and intensity of the competition got so much for Faith, that it even crept into a dream that involved her finding Sam’s Fitbit in her handbag -stolen by her – to stop Sam taking the lead. She woke the next morning to discover that Sam had indeed overtaken on the leader board, and leapt out of bed at 6am to hit the gym for a high-speed session on the treadmill!

With Friday approaching and the competition reaching its finale everyone felt completely over-exercised, tired and relived it was nearly the weekend, and that there was really not very much in it between the teams. By 5pm on the Friday, the Sales and Marketing team were in the lead by X number of steps, but given the level of effort, it was decided to call it a draw and both teams went for a well-deserved lunch on the following Tuesday.

Tim, the leader of the Operations Team, as team wrote this motivational poem for his team:

We don’t just need motivation, we need motification!
Motification needs music to step by: Step on my friends.
We are the hot steppers!  Lyrical gangsters, who’ll murder them
It may be a Tragedy but when the feeling (in your legs) has gone and you can’t go on
It’ll only be a tragedy, when the morning cries as the sync’s go by
And you don’t know why we’re not in lead, it’ll be hard to bear seeing sales & marketing there

Remember: With no charge in your fit bit, you’re going nowhere!

We shall go on to the end. We shall walk in the warehouse, we shall walk on to shire and Avon, we shall walk with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our lunch at the Lamps, whatever the cost may be. We shall walk on the beaches, we shall walk on the level grounds and up the stairs, we shall walk in the fields and in the streets, we shall walk in the hills; we shall never surrender.

We need to leave them hanging on the telephone whilst we do lunch.

Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone

Don’t stop moving. You must obey the fitbit!!

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IES’s Charity Support Goes To New Heights

IES is proud to announce sponsorship of local mental health charity, Off the Record

Rob Lippiatt, a 35 years old paramedic from Bristol is about to take on a huge personal challenge in May 2016. The challenge is to take part in a marathon at Mt Everest base camp.

Yes, that’s right! – Marathon at Mt Everest.

Rob is doing it to raise money for a local mental health charity. Rob suffered from mental health problems in the past and it has taken him a lot of courage & time to fight this battle and overcome his illness.

The Everest Marathon held annually since 2003 is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest marathon in the world. The start line is at Gorak Shep 5184m (17,000 feet), close to Everest Base Camp in Nepal and finishes at the Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar at 3446m (11,300 feet). The measured distance of the course is 42.195 km (26.2 miles) over rough mountain trails.

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Rob was Bristol and Avon cross country champion four years running and had represented Avon at national level on many occasions. He has also ran the Bristol half marathon 3 times and the London marathon once.

“Rob was introduced to us by his friend Tony Howard, an employee at IES. When we heard Rob’s story, we were deeply inspired and moved by his dedication and efforts to overcome his illness. I think it is a fantastic personal achievement and for a great charitable cause which helped him through hard times. Therefore, IES decided to sponsor Rob and wish him all the best!” – Niels Morch, Managing Director

1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. You never know when you or someone close to you may require the help and support necessary to recover from this condition.

If you would like to know more about Rob and his challenge click here.

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The IES Fitbit Challenge

It’s not unusual for a group of co-workers to meet after work to exercise or play football, and it’s usually done without much involvement from their company’s management, unless, maybe, as participants, but what’s happening at IES is rather different. It’s taking fitness, and more particularly well-being to a new level, and what’s making it different is involvement, the company is very much involved and isn’t just encouraging all the staff to get involved but is sponsoring the equipment being used.

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The equipment is this case is a Fitbit, a wristband that can measure and report back almost every element of your life, from sleeping patterns to calories consumed, steps taken to weight lost…

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And then compare the statistics with others wearing a similar Fitbit wristband, which is where the fun really begins! Those participating in the IES Fitbit challenge have agreed to measure the total number of steps each completes and the total number of calories burned between Monday and Sunday.

What’s the point? Well, it’s fun for a start, and it gives participants something to rib each other about, but there’s more to it than this. It’s said that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and there’s no doubt that a fitter workforce will do a better job, and that in introducing and supporting an initiative like this the company is validating its Corporate Social Responsibility mandate…but then there’s more to it than this too. To some degree most people thrive on healthy competition, and the Fitbit challenge is certainly providing that. The additional shared interest is helping to make employees think of each other more in terms of “team” rather than “co-workers”, keeping us motivated and engaged and creating a healthy competition and work environment.

It’s a personal challenge too, with each participant able to set themselves goals for the week or month ahead…goals that can be shared, or not. And best of all, there’s a monthly winner!  It’s really a lot of fun. If you’d like to find out more, let us know!

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How to Build a Bespoke Wooden Packing Case

We’re often asked how we go about putting a bespoke packing case together and how long it takes. On this occasion it’s just 2 minutes and 35 seconds, and here’s how:

How to Build a Bespoke Wooden Packing Case

 

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Installing three large robotic assembly machines

We know how much everyone loves a good film at Christmas, and this year we have one for you! We recently installed three large robotic assembly machines for a manufacturer of technology here in the South West. It was an interesting job so we filmed it…

Video: Installing three large robotic assembly machines

 

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Case Study: Clean Room Move at Bristol University

Bristol University’s School of Physics had been home to several Nobel laureates over the years. Pioneering research here has included the discovery of the π meson and the theoretical investigations of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems.

The school has been responsible for research that has underpinned fundamental advances in quantum mechanics, and it was to accelerate and expand its fabrication capabilities that a new on-campus clean room was built. IES won the tender to provide a range of engineering services to support the School as they relocated various clean room tools from their existing location in the Queen’s Building to the School’s own Physics Building.

The University identified a number of companies to invite to tender, but it soon became clear that there were actually very few that could offer the combination of equipment knowledge and relocation experience offered by IES. This was not a straightforward move, it involved:

  • A complete check of each tool prior to its being disconnected. Tools were tested for efficiency, leak and pump rates and to ensure that they were operationally acceptable
  • The disconnection of all equipment from utilities and then locking down all moving parts to ensure safe movement and transit
  • The physical movement of all the equipment from the lab, wrapping for protection and safety, loading onto the transport vehicle using a tail lift and transfer to the Physics building
  • Offloading the equipment from the transport vehicle and transferring each tool to the lift access level
  • Movement of each tool to the correct area and into position
  • Reconnection of the equipment to utilities
  • Re-commissioning of all equipment and testing to ensure the same operational performance as before
  • Full service of all vacuum equipment including replacement parts and consumables where required

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Few projects run completely smoothly, the build time for the new clean room facility overran so IES had to remain completely flexible to help the project complete. It was also recognised that some of the equipment being moved was of an age where problems could justifiably be expected…happily IES’ experience runs deep, the company having retained the knowledge necessary to get all the equipment reconnected and working satisfactorily.

Would the University use IES again? Dr Andrew Murray the Faculty Technician says

“IES has proven to be the ideal partner in this project. Their practical approach, engineering experience and solutions based attitude has made what could have been an extremely difficult move into one that’s ultimately been completed on time and on budget. We’re more than pleased.”

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Case Study: Equipment Pedestals

The University of Southampton is recognised as a leader in Optoelectronics and is home to the Silicon Photonics Group, the group recognised as having carried out the work upon which the first company in silicon photonics was built.

With the intention of further supporting the UK’s silicon photonics research community the university planned the installation of a cost effective multi-project wafer service, a project that required an anti-vibration pedestal for their DUV (Deep Ultra Violet) scanner to be located in their upgraded clean room facility. IES were asked to design, supply and install this pedestal.

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Section pedestal for Stepper in 1200mm raised access floor (installed at Southampton University, UK)

IES has considerable experience in the design and manufacture of support pedestals/tables for heavy or vibration sensitive production and R&D equipment. Typically these are used in the semiconductor fabrication process or in environments where a raised access computer floor is required. We were therefore ideally suited to meet Southampton University’s requirement.

The bases we manufacture for vibration sensitive equipment are individually designed to provide the appropriate structural support without permitting the amplification of those vibrational energies that would interfere with the performance of the equipment being supported.

Our first task was to complete detailed on site vibration testing prior to designing the pedestal and computer modelling it. Vibration testing is carried out both pre and post installation.

Our design had to meet the requirements of:

  • The dimensional, vibrational and load bearing specification of the equipment to be supported
  • The existing under floor services, which had to be bridged
  • The limitations of site access

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Dr Iain Anteney, Southampton University’s Cleanroom Complex Manager says:

The University of Southampton used IES to design and install an anti-vibration pedestal for their DUV scanner as part of a £1M upgrade to their cleanroom facilities aimed at providing the UK Silicon Photonics Research Community with a cost effective multi-project wafer service. The ability of IES to provide a complete turnkey solution, including design, build, install and final equipment positioning provided the University with a streamlined and practical solution.”

Another client for whom we’ve designed and installed a number of anti-vibration platforms is Xaar, the world’s leading independent supplier of industrial inkjet print heads. Speaking about IES Jerry Davies, Facilities Manager, Xaar PLC says:

We have built up a trusted relationship with IES who have been have been reliably providing us with tool moving, export packing and transport services for almost a decade.  They have designed and installed over a dozen support pedestals in our Huntingdon clean room suitable for our heavier and vibration sensitive production tools.”

Pedestal for Metrology tool – 240mm raised floor (installed at Xaar, Huntingdon, UK)

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Case Study: IES provides the largest move of its kind to the Bio Medical industry

IES has recently completed (October 2015) a ground-breaking project to package and move laboratory equipment, samples of viruses that can affect livestock and other items contained within laboratories at The Pirbright Institute, in Surrey.

The Pirbright Institute is a world leading centre of research and surveillance of viral diseases of farm animals and viruses that spread from animals to humans. Through fundamental and applied research they work to control, contain and eliminate diseases, such as foot-and-mouth, bluetongue and swine flu.

Pirbright has recently opened a new state-of-the-art laboratory facility at their headquarters in Surrey and expertise from IES was required for a highly delicate and complex move from previous laboratory buildings to the new facility. The BBSRC National Virology Centre: The Plowright Building now houses 150 scientists and staff and will play a vital role in the ongoing fight against some of the word’s most devastating viral diseases

Because of the content within the laboratories – sensitive equipment and highly contagious pathogens- IES was contracted as a specialist packaging and logistics company to plan and carry out the relocation. Pirbright’s project management and biosecurity teams tasked IES to come up with a project plan to package and transfer of all the equipment – the first move of this scale anywhere in Europe.

Tim Patten, Operations Manager at IES was briefed to come up with a packing solution so that all equipment and temperature sensitive samples could be moved without damage. Tim, in conjunction with the project team, devised a detailed 70-page plan about the packing requirements and procedures that would be needed for the move. This included risk assessments, mitigation plans and method statements. The plan for the move also had to meet the requirements of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Testing and collation of data was also carried out by IES to ensure the process would work. All materials, including the clear plastics that were to be used to form a sealed barrier were tested as they had to stand up to various specifications including being impermeable, being robust under duress and being resistant to a disinfectant wipe down. The testing was critical as any failure of the packaging during the move could have jeopardised. The Pirbright Institute’s Defra license.

Once testing and the plan was completed, IES carried out the management of the move to the new facility: Coordinating the IES packing staff and The Pirbright Institute’s external contractors to ensure that the agreed method statements and risk assessments were adhered to. Most of the move has now been completed successfully and the final phase started in October 2015.

Joan Shadwell, Project Manager for The Pirbright Institute, was responsible for the move and commissioned IES to supply the packing and project management of the move. She said:

“This project was very unusual as we had an enormous amount of equipment that had to be moved from a restricted area. We were looking for a unique wrapping solution and IES were able to provide this. We couldn’t use our normal externalisation methods as this would have taken too long and most of the equipment is too sensitive to the harsh treatments, but HSE and Defra allowed us to wrap materials three times before transporting them across open ground. IES had to write the procedures, then we had to get approval from HSE and Defra and our internal Biosecurity Department.  We were very pleased as both the planning and the move went exceedingly well and ran really smoothly. This is the first time we have moved equipment from high containment laboratories, on this scale, to a brand new building. When we did come across any issues, Tim and the team at IES were flexible and able to come up with unique solutions. We found them to be professional, friendly and accommodating and nothing was ever a problem.”

Matt Boyd, Sales Director from IES added:

“This packing and logistics project for The Pirbright Institute was a very unique challenge- a task like this had never been done on this scale for such highly sensitive equipment and samples of viral diseases. The packing and project management that we carried out, can now be adapted to meet the requirements of any organisation that has biosecurity requirements, for example in the medical, science or research and development sectors.”

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6 Simple Steps to CE Marking

This is the third in a series of blogs we’ve been posting about CE Marking. It’s obviously a subject that’s important to us at IES, but for a very good reason. A large number of importers and manufacturers do not fully understand the application of, or the implications behind, CE Marking legislation as it is increasingly being implemented. This is not something that can be ignored or easily got over when and if you’re caught!

So, to be clear, the products affected can be found under the Directives listed in our April 2015 blog at http://www.ies.co.uk/news/.  The countries CE Marking applies to are all those in the European Economic Area (EEA), comprising the EU and EFTA countries plus Switzerland and Turkey.

Responsibility for securing CE Marking and then for placing it on the product is entirely that of the manufacturer or, if applicable, the importer or distributor into those countries involved. This responsibility involves the initial carrying out of the conformity assessment, the setting up of the technical file, the issue of the EC Declaration of Conformity (DoC) and the placement of  CE Marking on the product concerned.

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The process will depend on your product, so:

Step One: Identify the Directive that applies to your product.

Step Two: Make sure your product complies with the essential requirements of the Directive.

Step Three: Check whether you need to have an independent conformity assessment for you product.

Step Four: Test your product for conformity, including a risk assessment.

Step Five: Prepare and have available all the technical documentation required by the Directive.

Step Six: CE Marking your product. This is a complicated procedure in itself.

Easy? No, not at all. And whilst it’s possible to undertake this procedure for yourself our experience would strongly advise against it. You’re far better working with experts who will guide you through the entire process, ultimately saving you both time and money.

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CE Marking, What should comply?

If you’re reading this and asking yourself whether your products have to have CE Marking, the answer is most probably “Yes”. This legislation, presented in the form of an EU Directive, covers an extensive range of products.

It’s a reflection on the importance of Europe as a world market that we have been targeted by manufacturers worldwide, all keen to win a slice of our spending, but many of whom have been promoting products that fail to meet our accepted national standards. The CE mark was introduced to show that a product is in compliance with the appropriate directives and standards. As a result any applicable product that does not carry CE Marking should not be sold and similarly CE Marking on a product permits enforcement agencies to withdraw any non-conforming products. Only CE Marked and compliant products may be legally placed on any of the 30 markets that make up the EU and EFTA (plus Switzerland), and move freely amongst them.

So what products are included? The following are some of the directives. Each carries a detailed description, and we’d be happy to help you to unpack the detail should any apply to your product. Please note that more than one directive may be applicable

  • 2001/95/EC – General Product Safety Directive
  •  2006/95/EC – Electrical Equipment designed for use within certain limits
  • 87/404/EEC – Simple Pressure Vessels
  • 88/378/EEC – Safety of Toys
  • 89/106/EEC – Construction Products
  • 2004/108/EC – Electromagnetic compatibility
  • 89/686/EEC – Personal Protective Equipment
  • 90/384/EEC – Non-automatic weighing instruments
  • 90/383/EEC – Active Implantable Medical Devices
  • 90/396/EEC – Appliances Burning Gaseous Fuels
  • 92/42/EC – New hot-water boilers fired with liquid or gaseous fuels
  • 93/15/EEC – Explosives for civil use
  • 93/42/EC – Medical Devices
  • 94/9/EC – Equipment and protective systems intended for use in explosive atmospheres
  • 94/25/EC – Recreational Craft
  • 95/16/EC – Lifts
  • 97/23/EC – Pressure Equipment
  • 2006/42/EC – Machinery
  • 98/79/EC – In Vitro diagnostic medical devices
  • 1999/5/EC – Radio Equipment and telecommunications terminal equipment
  • 2000/9/EC – Cableway Installations designed to carry persons
  • 2004/22/EC – Measuring Instruments

Remember that it’s the manufacturer or their representative who is responsible, so even if you’re importing a product from outside the EU / EFTA you’ll need to make sure that it is CE marked and compliant.

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