Bacardi rum’s Cataño, Puerto Rico plant is the latest factory fire to make headlines. The Cataño plant is the largest rum distillery in the world, producing 100,000 gallons of rum each day. The fire was described by observers as “massive,” but firefighters were able to get it under control quickly and no loss of lives has been reported. Bacardi’s Jacksonville, Florida plant was recently cited by OSHA for fire danger violations, among other things. They had installed a permanent conveyor belt in a spot where it blocked an exit.
Fires are one of the biggest dangers in factories, but they still inevitably come as a surprise. Even in a plant where the product is highly flammable, it’s easy to get complacent. As years pass with no fire, preparations get lax.
Harvard Business Review wrote about a different way to think about and prepare for disasters of this kind. People tend, they said, to think in terms of the likely risk. We think about the things that are most likely to happen, such as a shipping delay or a product quality issue. We have plans in place for the most likely causes of failure and their most likely effects.
This means that a fire or other disaster, which has a low likelihood of occurring, may not be prepared for properly.
Instead, authors David Simchi-Levi, William Schmidt, and Yehua Wei suggest, we should think of all the nodes along the supply chain and plan for any disruption.
With the focus on the effects, we can prepare a plan to respond to the problems without concern for the causes.
A failure of your Indramat motion control has a low likelihood of occurring — we see servos and drives that have been in service for decades with no problems. But such a failure could have very serious financial consequences for your company. It makes sense to have a plan. We suggest that you call us first. We can provide phone support, on-site support, emergency replacement units, and factory repair.