Manufacturing Day

Got a tour of AirGas where they produce dry ice for the majority of Oahu’s businesses such as Hawaiian Airlines. Photo Credit: D. Ramos

I have a history and very intimate relationship with manufacturing. Since I was a teenager, I’ve been fortunate to work and visit all kinds of companies and see how they work. Last Friday was Manufacturing Day and the Chamber of Commerce with HTDC did a fantastic job of lining up visits for three manufacturers.

Our first stop was Pictures Plus. Tourist and locals alike would be familiar with their frame products through retail outlets all around the Island. However, Kent Untermann shared with us a neat product. Not only can they print and sell local photographers’ shots on a piece of aluminum sheet metal, but they can print any digital picture (even from your phone) that you can provide. Before we got to the last manufacturing stop, everyone who attended received a copy of a photo we took right before his demonstrated. That’s a turn around time of under 5 hours!

Picture Plus Owner Kent Untermann shows us how the machine traditionally used for cabinets can create great pictures on a sheet of metal. Photo Credit: D. Ramos

Our next stop was TruTag Technologies, a manufacturer that utilizes silica to create “custom security and technology solution can be used for a number of applications.” The best example is applying their microtags onto pharmaceuticals so that legitimate drug manufacturers can deter counterfeits. Not sure how much more I can divulge but seeing how it worked and the fact this company existing in Hawaii was awesome.

Finally, our last stop was AirGas. It was neat to see the supplier of “gases, welding equipment and supplies, and safety products.” We got to see first hand how dry ice is made and packaged (see first picture). It was neat to learn that they supply the airlines the dry ice needed to keep foods and drinks chilled on a flight.

Overall, if you’re a Chamber of Commerce member, I would highly recommend sending associates to go next year. Experiencing Manufacturing Day in Hawaii was eye opening and expanded my imagination on what can be accomplished.

Legacy Systems & Cyber Security Month

Remember when computers took up rooms and we had fresh afros?

I recall an episode of Dilbert where he & his crew had to figure out how to modify computer code in preparation for Y2K. What made the adventure entertaining was that (highlight for spoiler) they found out Wally, a current colleague, did the original programming on the mainframe. However, he had no recollection of setting it up.

Cases like that usually involve Legacy Systems, enterprise solutions that have been dated but paved the way for current technology. Nowadays, software & hardware are updated so frequently that it is a great challenge to align business processes with technology use. One organization I was working at was dependent on a version of SQL Server that wasn’t even supported by Microsoft anymore. That’s a high security risk.

The point I’m making is that without preparation, a company can leave itself vulnerable and would be forced to throw all its resources on a last minute effort to resolve a problem (reference Equifax). In the case of Dilbert & his crew, they were racing against the computer clocks that will set to ’00’ when it turns midnight on the year 2000.

Like any good business plan, placing strategic exits can help when it comes to investing in software & hardware. Planning for lifespans for the investments assist in realistic budgets and can be accounted for financially. You’re also preparing yourself & the company for any security vulnerabilities & have more leverage to manage risk.

Since it is Cyber Security Month, all month long the State of Hawaii and other local organizations are holding workshops throughout the islands. If you are interested, check out the following link: http://dod.hawaii.gov/cyber/events/cyber-safety/

Have any Legacy Software challenges you want to share? Let’s talk story, holler @ me.