When we think of regulatory enforcers, we often think of professionally dressed folks showing up at the front entrance of our facility with briefcases full of forms. Or, perhaps we are thinking of Wall Street regulators, making sure there is no insider trading or those sorts of matters.
Other regulators abound all around us. Many are on the payroll of our employer.
For instance, the internal audit department assures us that all assets are present and properly accounted. Try to take out something as small as a pump and they may show up to ask you what is going on. There may be a discussion as to whether that pump is fully amortized or depreciated.
Likewise, when you are told to report all injuries, no matter how small, this is your safety team at work assuring the company that all safety hazards are minimized. Foolishly, when I was very young in the industry, I thought this was silly and only a wimp would report the use of a band aid. Comes from growing up on a farm where cuts and scrapes were the order of the day.
The IT folks have gotten into being regulators, too. Many companies have policies concerning USB drives, access to videos and other such foreign penetrations of their intranet systems. It is prudent and necessary in today's world to protect these most valuable of assets.
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One time I tried to move certain parts of my employer's manufacturing jobs to a prison system, in a state that actively promoted such business. I was slapped down by our human resources department--they saw a bigger picture than I did at that time. That was regulatory.
Companies have always been concerned about anti-trust, theft of trade secrets, and so forth.
This has led to a process in recent years that is somewhat onerous. In some companies now, in order to go to a conference or a trade show, two interviews with in-house lawyers are required. The first interview asks questions such as why you are going, what are you going to do, who will you see. This interview may also include an admonition to stay away from hospitality suites.
The second interview is upon one's return from an approved conference. In this case, same questions all over again, making sure you have followed the rules and if you did take a side excursion, what was it, who did you see, why did you do it.
It goes without saying, this last bit of internal regulations is stifling conference attendance.
For safety this week, again, regulations are important, especially placarded safety regulations found throughout your mill and on transportation equipment. Heed and follow all such regulations.
Be safe and we will talk next week.