Jobs in Engineering: What Is It Like to Work at a Temp Agency?

 

Stability is often one of the primary factors people take into account when weighing career options. For that reason, people typically shy away from temporary positions. However, temp agencies provide a number of desirable benefits that many may not be aware of, especially for jobs in engineering and manufacturing.

So what is it like to work at a temp agency? Below we examine just some of the advantages to working on a temp basis.

Flexibility – While stability is suitable for some, flexibility works better for others. At most temp agencies, employees have to ability to take on job assignments at their choosing.

Learn & Apply New Skills – Temp agencies provide employees with thorough training and enables them to learn and apply new skills they can leverage in the future.

Temp Can Lead to Permanent – Since temp work allows people to learn new skills, many workers use those skills to obtain permanent employment — whether at the company they are temping at or elsewhere.

Change of Scenery – As part of a temporary workforce, people are often allowed to experience different geographic locations, a desirable benefit for those who enjoy moving around.

Network & Establish New Relationships – Temp work allows employees to network and meet new people at a faster rate than permanent employment, which is highly valuable in building a career.

Wide Variety of Backgrounds Wanted – Companies such as Strom value workers from a variety of backgrounds and experience levels, including people with prior experience in warehouses, maintenance mechanics, steel manufacturing, and many other areas.

Still have questions about what it’s like to work on a temp basis with companies like Strom Engineering? Contact us today to learn more.

Strom Engineering Endows Holy Family Catholic High School with Historic Gift

Strom Engineering has endowed Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria with a historic $100,000 donation, the largest charitable donation the company has made to date. The endowment will be called the Strom Engineering Endowment for Technology.

“We feel strongly about participating in the community and donating to nonprofits that represent the values of Strom Engineering. Our corporate dedication to innovation and technology reflects Holy Family’s development of students to succeed in their professional careers,” said John Radick, CEO Emeritus of Strom Engineering and Emeritus Board Member of Holy Family. “The school’s combination of faith and values with academic rigor has launched alumni who are leaders in their fields. We are excited to see how this endowment builds the school’s technology program to prepare students for success.”

While Holy Family will be able to direct the funds wherever appropriate for the school, the Strom Engineering Endowment for Technology is expected to primarily benefit the school’s science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) program.

“We are grateful to Strom Engineering for the company’s support of Holy Family over the years and this endowment in particular,” said Kathleen Brown, Principal of Holy Family. “Our robotics club, Pyrobotics, has won multiple awards for innovation of design and presentation at regional and national competitions. This endowment will ensure that they have every opportunity available to compete at the highest levels.”

Previous Strom Engineering donations to Holy Family have facilitated the school’s purchase of digital whiteboards as well as the funding of financial need-based scholarships. Radick has had a close relationship with Holy Family; all four of his children have attended the school and he served on the school’s Board of Directors for six years, including two as the board chair.

“At Holy Family we believe we have an obligation and a privilege to provide our students with opportunities that will expose, engage and inspire their appetites to consider pursuing college degrees and occupations in STEAM-related industries,” said Michael Brennan, President of Holy Family. “These are the fields with the jobs, the salaries, and above all the ability to impact the world.”

A Dive Into Manufacturing: A Plant Relocation Checklist

 

Businesses in manufacturing must quickly adapt to the changing demands and technologies of their industries. Often times, this requires a reprioritization of resources – including perhaps the need to relocate or expand plants and other facilities. If you’re a business that has come to realize it’s time to move, there are a number of things you should keep in mind. Below we’ve composed a simple manufacturing plant relocation checklist to help:

Equipment Audit: Any plant relocation should include a thorough audit of existing equipment. Keep in mind: Some equipment might be easier to simply replace at the new facility, rather than repair and transport. Relocation can be a good opportunity to tie up loose ends and ensure that your equipment is not only in compliance, but in top working condition as well. For this process, it’s important to keep track of each machine in a spreadsheet, along with the status of its working condition.

Local Regulations: You’ll need to examine local issues and whether or not the area has already received approval for zoning, something that’s usually done through a city council. Other local issues you’ll want to pay attention to include property taxes and labor laws.

Safety Issues: Some of this ties into providing a thorough equipment audit, but it’s also important to ensure your new facility meets all the safety standards, as outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. For more on OSHA, visit OSHA.gov.

Environmental Aspects: In addition to local regulations, it’s important to also pay attention to federal requirements that regulate emissions (Clean Air Act – EPA.gov) and laws that regulate the disposal of wastes.

At the end of the day, it goes without saying that each company has unique needs and requirements to meet. For help with relocation, check out the relocation service from Strom Engineering. Also, feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

 

 

How Hiring Replacement Workers During a Strike Benefits Your Business

Labor disputes resulting in workplace strikes can have devastating effects not only on businesses, but also on local economies. However, if proper Business Continuity Planning has taken place, the fallout can be mitigated. The solution? Hiring replacement workers during a strike.

For its part, Strom Engineering provides a 5-step approach that empowers businesses to continue on and remain profitable with happy customers, even as they negotiate mutually beneficial agreements with their employees’ labor unions. The 5-step process is as follows:

Phase 1: Assessing the situation

Strom understands every business is different, has unique needs, and serves different audiences. That’s why early in the process, it’s important to establish an understanding of your business’s procedures, history, and culture. At this time, we’ll examine the following:

  • Labor distribution
  • Job descriptions and work aids
  • Processes and procedures
  • Production quotas

Phase 2: Recruiting the right temp workers

Strom draws from its large database of over 30,000 employees to find the right temp workers to assist your business during the dispute. We consider what skills your jobsite requires to function smoothly and recruit the right workers to carry out the business processes. In addition to our existing database, we recruit using:

  • Local and national recruiting
  • Job fairs
  • On-site recruitment

Phase 3: Establishing a pre-deployment strategy

It’s important for your business to maintain production promises to meet partner demands and to achieve proper customer satisfaction levels. The pre-deployment stage allows companies to strategically position the incoming temporary workforce to the local area so that they can be activated on short notice. Anticipating disruptions before an actual stoppage occurs ensures all prior business commitments are met.

Phase 4: Deploying the temporary workforce

The 4th part of the process involves executing, sending the temporary workforce to your actual jobsites, with all logistics taken into account. During the deployment stage, we’ll cover scheduling, housing, transportation of workers to and from jobsites, orientation and training, management protocols, and the establishment of performance standards, the latter of which ensures that high expectations are met.

Phase 5: Disbanding the workforce when it’s time

Temporary workforces allow you to be flexible. You can scale up to fill voids left by strikes and scale down and disband once labor negotiation resolutions occur. The disbandment process is swift and involves an assessment of each onsite project to help transition from a temporary workforce back to a permanent one. Additionally, the disbandment process includes an evaluation to see how effective the operation was and make recommendations to update your business continuity plan accordingly.

The Benefits

Each of the 5 phases is designed to benefit your company during what would otherwise be work stoppages. You’ll be able to meet demands, stay profitable, keep prior agreements, satisfy customers, and keep the overall reputation of your business intact.

Have more questions regarding the use of replacement workers during a strike? Contact the professionals at Strom Engineering today.

How to Analyze and Improve Business Processes

An overall audit or examination of your business’s current processes, especially if your company is involved in manufacturing, has the ability to significantly cut down on waste with the result of drastically improving workplace efficiency. When it concerns how to improve manufacturing processes throughout your business, you’ll want to consider the following:

Outline the entire manufacturing process

One of the first things you’ll want to do is outline the entire production process itself — all the way from the workers needed to attend to the production line, to the machines themselves. What technology needs to be updated? Exactly what parts of the manufacturing process are slowing you down? Exactly whom do you have scheduled, and are there enough workers with the right skillsets assigned to handle each unique part of the process? Perhaps you need to provide more training or change things up.

Analyze the costs closely & share the data

The evidence that you’re becoming more efficient in the manufacturing process can be seen in your financials. Gather the data, closely track it, and share it among your workforce — most especially with your project managers. Familiarizing them with the costs will empower them to cut down on all things wasteful they experience day-to-day.

Prepare for issues that could halt production

Machines break, so be prepared for this and any other kind of issues that could cause the entire manufacturing process to go awry. Devise backup plans and review how to fix issues before actual problems occur.

Embrace automation

The little things add up, whether it’s using an outdated program that makes entering data an arduous task or a machine that requires manual control. The goal here is to automate more things about the workflow process so that your employees have more time to be productive in other areas that deserve attention. In effect, labor costs can be reduced and you can increase on-the-job safety.

Take advantage of scalable workforces

Having the ability to scale your workforce up during peak production periods, then scale down when you’re not as busy allows you to cut out unnecessary downtime and push harder when it matters most. For increased scalability, consider utilizing a managed workforce.

Need more ideas on how to improve business processes for your company? Strom can help. Contact us today.

Labor Dispute Preparation 101: How Temporary Staffing Can Help

Labor disruptions can occur for any number of reasons ranging from strikes to natural disasters. No matter what the cause, these disruptions have the potential to negatively impact your business. Because of the unpredictability of these events, it’s important that you have a plan in place that sufficiently addresses anything that could threaten your business’s operational efficiency.

By taking the advantages of utilizing a temporary workforce into consideration, you can properly prepare in a way that emphasizes continuity amid adversity. Below are the benefits of temporary staffing agencies and how you can utilize these workforces to your advantage:

Temporary workforces are mobile
Strom Engineering has the ability to deploy a temporary workforce on a rapid basis. Unlike traditional staffing companies, they can handle many of the logistics as well, whether it’s housing, transportation, or anything in-between.

Temporary workforces offer flexibility
Since they are not restricted by ‘Union work rules’ a temporary workforce offers the flexibility a permanent workforce can lack. Also once your labor dispute is resolved, the temporary workforce can be disbanded. This allows you to return to normal operations without repercussions.

Temporary workforces are pre-trained
At Strom, we maintain a large database of employees, all with relevant project experience. Upon working with Strom, we can identify the right employees that can meet your business’s unique manufacturing and operational demands.

Temporary workforces assist with continuity
The deployment of temporary workforces emphasizes continuity of business operations. When it comes to how to prepare for a strike, you can demonstrate to a union that your business is still meeting its obligations by adding a temporary work force and deploying it. This can allow you to achieve leverage during the negotiation process.

Temporary workforces can be cost effective
When managed correctly, temporary workforces can save you both time and money by working outside of the restrictions of ‘union work rules.’ This additional flexibility in the workforce often times allows clients to reduce their overall workforce size required to operate. With fewer slowdowns, increased production, and reduced labor hours per unit, Strom allows you to remain profitable.

For more information regarding how a temporary workforce can assist you ahead of a labor disruption, contact the experts at Strom Engineering today.

How Does Collective Bargaining Protect Employers & Employees?

For many larger companies, collective bargaining represents an integral part of the employer-employee relationship – but exactly what is it? In simplest terms, it’s the process in which employees band together to negotiate job details such as wages and working conditions with the business that’s employing them. The idea here is that when employees join with one another, they have strength in numbers and therefore, more negotiating leverage to receive any desired employment terms.

Employees don’t typically do the negotiating themselves, however. In most cases, a labor union negotiates on their behalf with the representatives of their employer. The goal is to reach a bargaining agreement or contract that’s suitable for both sides. When employees collectively bargain, there are usually a number of goals in mind, including those that are protective in nature:

Wages: Unions work to achieve higher pay for their members.

Hours: Unions work to ensure that employment hours are suitable to the liking of their members. Additionally, they work to ensure that employees receive extra pay for any overtime hours their members work.

Safety: Unions negotiate with the employer to ensure that workplace conditions are safe enough for the employees to work in. They also work to ensure that proper training protocols are in place.

Grievances: Unions and employers work to ensure that proper grievance protocols are in place. Should an employee believe the terms of the bargaining contract are violated – how do they address it with the employer and resolve the issue?

Job Statuses: Unions and employers work to ensure that employee job statuses can’t be arbitrarily terminated without justification.

Other Benefits: Paid time off, sick leave, maternity leave, health coverage, retirement benefits, and other issues may also be on the negotiating table.

Collective Bargaining Protects Both Sides

How does collective bargaining protect employees? An employee workforce that isn’t collectively united together may not be seen as standing on equal footing in terms of the employer-employee relationship. By combining into one, the result allows employees to better represent their goals – especially in terms of the aforementioned issues. They can protect their rights, their job statuses, and work with better peace-of-mind.

How does collective bargaining protect employers? A negotiated collective bargaining agreement that is seen as beneficial to both sides has a number of benefits for the employer: The employer can rest assured that workplace morale is kept up. Additionally, the employer can take into consideration the concerns of their workforce – especially in regards to providing a safe work environment; when addressed, this can improve workforce standards and ensure that any onsite accidents are kept to a minimum.

Need help handling the collective bargaining process with your employees’ union? Contact the experts at Strom Engineering today.

Cost Considerations for Business Contingency Planning

A contingency plan is defined as the following: A strategy that can be put into practice in the event that a problematic circumstance threatens to affect your business’s operations. This can mean anything from a storm knocking your company’s data center offline, to unexpected costs arising as you look to wrap up a major project.

The contingency plan is, therefore, designed to ensure that your business continues to operate without any disruptions – or at least, with as few as possible. Needless to say, this means that having an effective plan readily available should be one of your highest priorities. But how do you go about maintaining one while taking cost considerations into account? Keep the following in mind:

Tie Business Contingency Cost peak Planning Directly to Your Budget

Any contingency plan should be closely associated with your business’s overall budget. Money may need to be set aside in a lock box, so to speak – meaning that funds are readily available only in the instance that an emergency situation arises.

Take Murphy’s Law Into Consideration

Think long-term. Murphy’s Law states: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. To negate Murphy’s Law, identify the most common type of disruptions unique to your business and determine an estimation of costs that correspond with each.

The Cost of Business Contingency Planning VS the Cost of Facing an Emergency Unprepared

Prioritizing a savings amount for a contingency plan may cost you financially in the short-term, but will also provide you with peace-of-mind in the long-term. Take into consideration what you put at risk by not having a properly funded contingency plan: The inability to pay valued employees who could leave as a result, the loss of customers, your standing as a trusted provider in your respective industry, and potentially – a complete shutdown of operations that could threaten your company’s long-term viability in the market.

Should something threaten to disrupt your business, you can rest assured that saving for a contingency plan will likely cost you a whole lot less compared to if you were to face an incident without having properly saved.

The Verdict

Budgeting and financial management considerations are certainly paramount when formulating any plan. In the end, contingency planning is all about making unforeseen consequences foreseen – and properly preparing to financially cover them. This will ensure that your business keeps high morale and stays effective, even in the most trying of times.

How to Prepare for Labor Union Contract Negotiations

The inability to reach agreements in labor disputes can have profound consequences not only for the operations of the businesses in question, but also for workforces – whether it’s lost wages, deceases in general morale, or simply adding new complications to peoples’ everyday routines. Needless to say, a lot is at stake. This means that when any labor negotiation is about to occur, a lot of strategic prep work is required on both sides. Below we talk a bit about what you should focus on as your business considers how to prepare for labor negotiations.

Done deal

 

Try to get a Pulse on how your workforce feels
How is current company morale? How employees have dealt with HR can be indicative of their needs in the workplace. Make sure you understand what your workforce is seeking as you head into union negotiations.

Determine flexibility
Naturally, labor unions are going to try and get the best deals possible for their members. You’re going to be asked to make compromises and while you want what’s best for your employees, you’ll want to make sure that any concessions you might make don’t harm your operating costs. You’ll want to take into account things like healthcare benefits, paid sick leave, parental leave, vacation, hours, and most importantly, wages. How flexible can you be in the aforementioned areas without hurting your business financially? Simply said, you’ve got to know where to put your foot down.

Compile & familiarize yourself with all the data
Getting all the documents organized is extremely important. You’re going to want to have an accurate and in-depth breakdown of all your labor costs – accounting for things like hours (including OT), benefit costs (sorted by each benefit), and finally, a timeline that shows how your labor level has trended over an extended period of time. Having properly sorted data that you’re already familiar with and can use for quick reference will allow you to be quick on your feet during the negotiation process.

Examine past dealings with the union
Be prepared and knowledgeable regarding your company’s previous dealings with the union. This is usually a pretty good indicator of the strategy the other side is going to use once again. The union is likely to repeat a push for some of the things you didn’t concede last time around; how effectively you were able to counter whatever it was, are you willing to concede it this time around (has your business performance changed?) and if not, how big of an obstacle is it in ultimately reaching an agreement?

Have a backup plan
Prepare for the possibility that you might not be able to reach a resolution with the labor union as soon as you’d like. That’s why it’s important that you have a solid contingency plan in place – assuring that your business is able to continue to operate without disruption until you’re ultimately able to reach an agreement with the other side. For help in this area, view Strom’s consulting services. We can help you set up a well-thought-out backup plan that’ll ensure your business’s stability as you go through the negotiation process.

Conclusion
When it comes to labor contract negotiations, there are many factors that play a part in successfully reaching deals. Thinking on the spot without much preparation is not an option. By making sure everything’s properly organized and ready to go, you’ll be much more likely to find consensus and negotiate a deal that makes everyone happy.

What’s the Difference? Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, & Labor Contingency Planning

Both disaster recovery and business continuity share one thing in common: they require well-thought-out plans in instances where things go wrong – allowing businesses to continue functioning in a way that’s as seamless as possible. By understanding the difference between business continuity & disaster recovery, you’ll be able to properly form and assign responsibilities to particular segments of your organization – allowing your team members to effectively carry out tasks when faced with difficult situations.

businessman is examine document and woman is working on laptop c

Business Continuity Plan

Business continuity is, in fact, a broad company plan that includes steps regarding how an organization will continue to operate in the event that it’s faced with an occurrence that would otherwise cause disruption. This encompasses numerous aspects of the business – all of which play an integral part in ensuring that the company is able to continue operating effectively. To start planning a continuity plan, businesses should analyze their most important services/products, ask exactly what allows them to make those available, and then determine exactly how to back up those factors that provide availability.

Disaster Recovery Plan

On the other hand, disaster recovery is just one part of an organization’s overall business continuity plan. It primarily refers to a business’s ability to recover data when there’s some kind of technical failure, fire at a data center, storm that results in facility damage, or some other kind of technical issue. Therefore, an effective disaster recovery plan should involve all aspects of the business, so operations can continue despite whatever incident has occurred.

Labor Contingency Planning

Similar to disaster recovery planning, Labor Contingency is just one portion of the overall Business Continuity Plan. The primary focus is to plan for an unforeseen labor stoppage. This could be in the form of a union dispute, natural disaster, shortage of available skilled workers, or even if you are in a ‘job island’ and cannot find the necessary workforce to meet seasonal demand. Having a well thought out plan in place allows the company to remain flexible. By bringing in temporary replacement workers to supplement or even replace the normal workforce, companies are able to continue to remain profitable even during labor strife.

Recovery

Incidents that threaten your business’s performance are, without a doubt, extremely challenging. However, when you take the time to plan and, by understanding the similarities and differences between business continuity, disaster recovery, and labor contingency planning, you can make sure you’re best prepared to handle whatever you’re confronted with. Additionally by taking the opportunity to look at previous challenging times, and then creating a plan that covers any previous issues and how they were dealt with, your plan will continue to improve. This will allow you to keep your business on track, ensure morale remains high for both employees and customers, and maintain profits.