HUDSON, Wisconsin, April 1, 2024 — In a groundbreaking announcement today, FlexTrades, the renowned national manufacturing services provider, has declared its ambitious plan to send 50 skilled tradespeople to Mars in 2025. This unprecedented move marks a giant leap in human exploration and sets the stage for a new era of interplanetary cooperation and development.

The mission, set to last for approximately 90 days, will see FlexTrades technicians embarking on a journey beyond Earth’s bounds to assist in assembling infrastructure for habitation and scientific research on the Martian surface. Leveraging their expertise in manufacturing processes, these technicians will play a pivotal role in laying the groundwork for sustainable living conditions and advancing scientific endeavors on our neighboring planet.

“We are thrilled to announce this historic endeavor,” said Amara Galaxia, Chief of Space Operations (CSO). “Our technicians possess unparalleled skills and experience, and we believe that their contributions will be invaluable in shaping the future of Martian exploration and colonization.”

FlexTrades, acting as both a pioneer and a visionary in this endeavor, will oversee all aspects of the mission, including travel arrangements, lodging, and ensuring the safety and well-being of its personnel throughout their journey to the Red Planet.

“The opportunity to extend our services beyond Earth’s boundaries is a testament to our commitment to innovation and excellence,” added Galaxia. “We are confident that our technicians will rise to the challenge and make significant contributions to the ongoing efforts to unlock the mysteries of Mars.”

While the mission undoubtedly carries its share of challenges and uncertainties, FlexTrades remains undeterred in its pursuit of pushing the boundaries of human exploration and discovery. With meticulous planning and unwavering determination, the company aims to ensure the success of this historic venture and pave the way for future endeavors in space exploration.

As the countdown to 2025 begins, the world eagerly anticipates witnessing the journey of FlexTrades technicians as they embark on an extraordinary odyssey to Mars, leaving an indelible mark on the annals of human history.

Happy April Fools’ Day, from FlexTrades! While we may not be sending technicians to Mars just yet, we’re always ready to tackle new challenges here on Earth. Stay tuned for more fun and exciting content from FlexTrades in the future.

About FlexTrades:

FlexTrades is a premier traveling workforce solutions provider offering bespoke services to manufacturing companies nationwide. Established in 2004, FlexTrades is a leader in deploying skilled industrial and engineering talent to companies experiencing production shortfalls, skills gaps or operational backlogs. FlexTrades leverages its vast network of skilled trade technicians while seamlessly handling all travel logistics, administration, and personnel management to ensure the right talent for each project. The FlexTrades mission is to make a difference every day through its impact on American production. The success of this commitment is evident in the thousands of individuals provided with work that matters and by the ever-growing satisfaction of our clients, technicians, corporate team members, partners, and communities.

Learn how FlexTrades can make a difference for you at www.flextrades.com.

For More Information: 

Josh Erickson
Public Relations & Engagement Specialist
jerickson@flextrades.com

In the early hours of March 28, 1979 the largest nuclear accident the United States has ever seen is about to unfold. At 4:00am, the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station suffers a pump failure and cooling malfunction which leads to a partial nuclear melt down. Fortunately, this partial meltdown did not lead to any loss of life, and the lessons learned have helped to make America’s power plants safer than ever.

Most manufacturing facilities don’t have the potential to devastate an entire region like a full nuclear meltdown could. But the health and safety of employees is at serious risk if safety procedures aren’t followed, or if they aren’t in place to begin with.

A recent article we presented outlines the CDC’s Hierarchy of Controls. At Three Mile Island, the nuclear reaction (the most dangerous part) cannot be eliminated or replaced. Therefore, excellent engineering and administrative controls were in place to isolate the most dangerous effects of the meltdown away from the operators and inspectors monitoring the situation.

Below is a timeline of key events on this day 45 years ago and some of the aftermath.

March 27, 1979 – Setting the Stage

Maintenance efforts to clear resin filters have created a dangerous situation for the plant operators. Water enters air lines through a stuck valve creating a ticking time-bomb that unfolds the next morning.

4:00am March 28, 1979 – The Accident Begins

A pump failure leads to a reactor shutdown. The stuck valve from the previous day does not allow cooling systems to work in the reactor, causing it to quickly overheat. The meltdown has begun as operators are notified with alarms.

7:45am March 28

A small release of radioactive gas is recorded off-site and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is notified.

8:00am March 28

Additional support is needed quickly. Response teams from the NRC, the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are mobilized.

9:15am – 11:00am March 28

In Washington DC, President Jimmy Carter is briefed on the accident. Back in Pennsylvania, non-essential personnel are ordered to leave the premises to limit unnecessary exposure.

Afternoon into Evening March 28

In the afternoon, the first air samples are taken by helicopters to monitor radioactivity in the atmosphere. As the day comes to a close, the situation is stabilizing, and the core continues to cool to safer levels.

March 30, 1979

Radiation from an auxiliary building is released which causes a new wave of concerns. Pennsylvania governor Dick Thornburgh is worried for citizens in the area and begins discussing an evacuation plan. Vulnerable citizens within a five-mile radius are advised to leave the area.

March 31 to April 1, 1979

A large hydrogen bubble has been identified inside the pressure vessel that contains the reactor core. If this hydrogen bubble were to breach the pressure vessel, large amounts of radiation could escape. Fortunately, the hydrogen bubble reduced in size, and since there was no oxygen present, there was no risk of explosion.

President Jimmy Carter visits the site.

Mid-April 1979 – Investigations

Two investigations are set in motion. The President appoints a 12-member commission while the NRC forms another group to investigate. The purpose is to identify what happened and determine if there are any health and safety risks for those on-site and in the area.

The President’s commission releases a report several months later. They suggest industry standards be developed to better manage nuclear power plants. It also cites the need for operators to receive better training and closer supervision.

1980’s – Cleanup and Health Studies

In July 1980, over a year after the accident, the first manned entry of the reactor building is done.

Throughout the 1980s, the “head” (roof) of the reactor vessel is removed. Reactor materials are removed and shipped off-site. By 1988, the facility’s license is changed to “possession-only” to enter a state of long-term monitoring.

Epidemiological studies are done to study the health effects of the accident. In 1981, they find that the amount of radiation released was too small to detect any negative effects to those close to the plant. In 1982 and 1988, two different studies find that infant mortality rates were not affected. In 1985 and 1989, two studies find that no significant abnormalities in cancer rates were present either.

1990’s to Today

In the 1990s, the site continues to be decontaminated of radioactive materials and waste.

Additional health studies continue to find that cancer rates did not increase in the area. However, some residents and employees felt psychological stress from the event for up to six years in some cases.

By 2009, the reactor is permanently shut down and defueled, but it will remain monitored for years to come.

Conclusion

As mentioned in the beginning, manufacturers don’t typically face the large-scale environmental and ecological risks of a nuclear reactor melting down, but the risk to life and limb is very real for millions of tradespeople. What lesson can we, as manufacturers, learn from an accident like Three Mile Island?

Engineering controls create safer work environments by separating employees from the source of hazards. Solid administrative controls and sufficient training on them will help employees understand how to work safely, and what to do if something goes wrong.

Sadly, regardless of great safety controls, accidents still happen. When they do, it’s critical that they are reported, and that an investigation is done to determine the root cause. With additional information, updated safety measures and training can be incorporated to prevent a similar accident in the future.

American manufacturers almost unanimously place safety as a top priority, as it should be. In fact, FlexTrades was recognized with a ‘Risk Control Award of Merit’ in 2023. But there are so many hazards in this industry, ranging from slips and falls to hazardous materials and fires. How do companies and employees ensure a safe working environment?

NIOSH_HOC_Main_508_photocredit-large

I found this Hierarchy of Controls from the CDC to be a great insight into the key steps that are followed to create a safe working environment. This article is intended to be a high-level look at some of these safety controls and how they apply to a production environment.

Elimination

Can a toxic chemical be removed from the process? Can heavy objects be kept on the ground to eliminate a lift? Can a process with a sharp tool be done differently to save fingers?

It is always a good exercise to see if any dangers can be physically removed when a manufacturing procedure uses dangerous materials, processes, or tools. If the danger is removed, so is the safety risk. 

Substitution

If you can’t remove the danger, is there an alternative way to achieve the same result?

For instance, if a process has multiple heavy lifts to join large sub-assemblies, review the workflow to see if those lifts can be done earlier in the process when things are lighter.

When a substitution is done right, you mitigate or prevent known risks without introducing new ones.

Engineering Controls

Engineering controls are intended to separate workers from a known risk. The layout of a workspace, barriers and shields in front of chemicals or dangerous machines, ventilation systems, and safety functions built into machines are all a part of engineering controls.

This is one of the most effective methods of controlling physical hazards because Engineering Controls directly address the source of the hazard.

Administrative Controls

What training does an operator need to safely run a dangerous machine? Are employees adequately rested to properly focus on the job at hand? Is the line speed adjusted to allow proper time for safe operations?

Being exposed to hazards is unavoidable in many manufacturing processes. Controlling how and when a workforce faces that exposure should always be considered. Administrative controls impact training, scheduling, and even access to dangerous materials or machines.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Until robots come to take your job (spoiler: they aren’t), PPE is the last line of defense. Various forms of PPE are intended to protect a user from hazards including physical, chemical, heat & fire, electrical, and others.

The types of PPE used should be chosen carefully to address the hazards specific to the type of work being done. It is also important to keep PPE in good working order by inspecting and replacing worn-out or damaged equipment.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, human errors happen, machines fail in unexpected ways, and the work we do can still be dangerous. Most manufacturers have a Safety Team and many layers of controls in place to eliminate hazards and prevent accidents.

In addition to following safety guidelines, it’s important for individual employees to come to work with focus, pay attention to detail, and speak up if a safety measure doesn’t feel right.

We’re all in this together. Safety should be everyone’s #1 priority.

At FlexTrades, we offer very specialized services to our clients. Our workforce is made up of some of the most skilled tradespeople in the United States. They can walk into a new client facility and, with very little spool-up time, produce an output that meets and exceeds expectations. But our clients aren’t just looking for those incredible skills, they are also looking for a highly motivated workforce who will show up on time every shift.

To accommodate our client’s need for a reliable workforce and accommodate technicians who need time off during a project, we offer RTO (Requested Time Off). But how is that different from PTO (Paid Time Off)?

PTO – Paid Time Off

Most of us are familiar with PTO. Many companies offer their employees PTO as a part of a benefits package. According to this LinkedIn article, the average US employee earns 10 days of PTO per year. Within manufacturing, after 20 years, a veteran employee receives an average of 21 days. Most companies expect employees to give ample notice before using PTO so they can make scheduling adjustments. PTO is intended to allow employees time off for vacations days, sick days, and personal days.

RTO – Requested Time Off

An important part of the service we offer to clients is reliability and high attendance for the duration of a project. But we understand that life isn’t on hold while you’re on a project!

If an employee has a planned event where they know time off will be needed, they can use RTO. For example, if a family member is getting married, or if an important religious holiday happens during a project. We ask our technicians to coordinate with their Technical Recruiter and Project Success Manager to schedule RTO during a project.

RTO is unpaid time off during a project. However, with great pay, guaranteed overtime, and daily per diem for all our positions, FlexTrades employees can comfortably take time off between projects, too.

Flexible Time Off Between Projects

We have some true road warriors who go directly from one project to the next or choose to extend a project multiple times. However, many of our technicians take a well-deserved break between projects. Check out this blog to see some of our tech’s favorite summer activities when they aren’t working.

Technicians who get their insurance benefits through a parent or a spouse often take more than 30 days off between projects.

Those who get their insurance through FlexTrades keep those benefits for 30 days between deployments. To maintain active coverage, they usually begin the next project within 20 to 25 days.

If a technician works with FlexTrades all year, they might accept three or four projects with a break in between each. On average, their number of days off in a year will be significantly more than with a traditional employer over that same period.

Emergencies

Even with the best planning, life can throw a curveball. Unfortunately, a family emergency or a funeral are a reality that can happen at any time. In those difficult times our dedicated Project Success Managers work closely with technicians and clients to arrange special accommodations as needed while mitigating any potential impacts on deployments.

Conclusion

Our ideal candidate is willing to travel and is ready to commit to being available for the duration of a project. But work-life balance is something employees need, and good employers do their best to offer. Whether that is achieved through RTO, PTO, or flexible time off, understanding what benefits are available is a key part of any career decision. 

If you found this article at 11:58pm on February 14th, you’re almost out of time! Stop reading this and call or text your significant other right now!

If you’re reading this before Valentine’s Day, you’ve come to the right place. It can be tough to be away from family and friends on holidays, and if you celebrate Valentine’s Day, that’s no different. But don’t worry, you have plenty of time to do something special to show you care. Most of my suggestions only require a few taps on your phone and a few minutes of planning.

Let’s get into it.

Send An Email Or Text

Sending an email or text is easy and can be done quickly. These aren’t as personal or intimate as some other options, but they can show your loved one that you care.

If you’re feeling fancy, write a short poem. My go-to poem to write is a Haiku. They are short and they don’t need to rhyme, so it’s perfect for me! Here’s a quick explanation on how they work.

Writing a haiku

It’s not silly if it works

Just give it a try

Send A Card

Just about every convenience store in America sells Valentine’s Day cards. I find that Papyrus cards often have my favorite designs.

In addition to writing a note, print a few of your favorite pictures of you and your partner, or a recent picture of yourself on your travels. If your partner is sentimental, they will appreciate being able to display the card and photos on a refrigerator, desk, or nightstand.

Of course, make sure to get it in the mail on time!

Make A Phone Call

Did you know that hearing a loved one’s voice can improve your mental health? Whether it’s a holiday or not, if you need a pick-me-up, a conversation with a loved one can really hit the spot.

If possible, plan a time for the call so you are both free from distractions and can have a nice conversation.

Video Calls

We all have smartphones, tablets, and computers so it’s easy to make a video call. I challenge you to throw on a funny filter to see if you can get a cheap laugh out of your significant other.

Virtual Date

I kind of buried the lead here. If you can block out a few hours, a virtual date is a fantastic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Actually, you can do this any time you’re away from home and want to spend some quality time with your partner.

On a virtual date, you can do most of the things you might do on a stay-at-home date. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Cook or order the same meal and eat together. If you’re going for romantic, set the mood! Get dressed up, light a candle, and dim the lights.
  • Make some popcorn and watch a favorite movie or TV show together. Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have watch party features built in. And apps like Teams, Zoom, Skype, and Discord allow you to share your screen while on a call.
  • Have a game night. If you both play PC or console games, that’s an option. Otherwise, there are dozens of free games you can play in a browser or on your phone.
  • Go on a walk together. Use your front facing camera while you’re chatting. If you see something interesting flip to the rear camera so you can share the experience. Just be extra careful crossing any roads!

Sending A Gift, Flowers, Or Chocolate

For many, gifting is a love language. Finding the perfect gift can be a great way to show your affection. For Valentine’s Day specifically, companies like 1-800-flowers are a great way to send a holiday gift.

You know your partner best! If they aren’t into flowers and chocolate, just about every retailer out there has online ordering.

Like sending a card, make sure to place your order early so it shows up on time!

Conclusion

If it’s now the wee hours of the morning on February 15th, I hope you were able to get that call or text out on time. If not, there’s always next year!

If you can still make plans for Valentine’s Day, I hope this blog gives you a few ideas. And remember, you can always plan an in-person “make up” date for when you get home! 

If I say, “Close your eyes and imagine an IT person at work,” what do you think of? My mind used to immediately go to towering office buildings, bright server rooms, a massive inventory of computers and peripherals, and seven new ‘high priority’ tickets asking how to connect to the color printer. While this role is still needed in offices across the country, IT professionals are increasingly in demand within manufacturing.

We are living in the age of Industry 4.0, which includes improvements in material science, a robust internet, robotics and automation, and more advanced analytics. Some say we are seeing the first chapters of Industry 5.0 with rapid improvements to Artificial Intelligence and the rise of mass customization in consumer goods.

Below are some of the key roles that are needed as IT and manufacturing converge in Industry 4.0.

Engineering

There are dozens of roles within engineering that are needed to design and integrate IT infrastructure and modern systems into the manufacturing process. Here are just a few examples.

  • Manufacturing Engineers oversee the integration of robotics into the broader manufacturing process. They optimize workflows, assess production efficiency, and ensure that robotic systems align with overall production goals.
  • Automation Engineers specialize in designing and implementing automated systems, including robotics. They are responsible for selecting appropriate technologies, programming robotic systems, and ensuring a seamless integration with existing manufacturing processes.
  • Robotics Engineers focus specifically on the design, development, and programming of robotic systems. They work on the mechanical, electrical, and software aspects of robots to optimize their performance.
  • Controls Engineers develop the software and algorithms required for the operation of robotic systems. They work on programming languages, simulation, and the user interface to facilitate seamless interaction between humans and robots.

Depending on your local labor market, it may be tough to hire some of these positions, or you may only need these roles during the design and integration process. Our solution can fill these highly skilled and niche roles for as long or as short as you need, with less pressure on your HR and Recruiting teams. FlexTrades engineers can even be deployed to document and improve work instructions and Standard Operating Procedures, which can free up in-house engineers to carry on with new projects.

Project Managers

When a company makes a large capital investment in new technology, they use Project Managers to oversee the planning, execution, and completion of the project. Project Managers coordinate efforts between various teams (including IT), manage resources, and ensure projects are delivered on time.

Network and Database Administrators

Network Administrators manage and maintain the organization’s computer networks, ensuring seamless connectivity and communication between different systems and departments.

Database Administrators manage the databases that store critical manufacturing data and processes. They ensure data integrity, security, and optimal performance.

Maintenance Technicians

Once robots are introduced in a production facility, someone needs to take care of them. This is the role of Maintenance Technicians and Robotics Technicians. They will perform routine maintenance, troubleshoot issues, and repair robotic systems. They ensure the continuous functionality of automated equipment.

Programming Technicians

Experienced programmers are indispensable on the production floor. They can write programs for new parts, debug and troubleshoot existing programs, and find efficiencies to reduce cycle times. A great programmer can upskill their peers, reduce programing times and improve production cycle times.

Analysts

System Analysts determine the information needs of the manufacturing process and recommend IT solutions. Once automations and robots are operational, heaps of data points are generated to report on their performance. Data Analysts use those data points to analyze performance metrics and identify opportunities for improvements in the process.

Conclusion

Now, if I say again, “Close your eyes and imagine an IT person at work,” what do you think of? As I learn more about modern manufacturing, I think about the networking and IT infrastructure that must be in place for everything to work seamlessly.

It’s important to remember that robots are not coming for your jobs. Skilled employees will always be necessary on the front lines of American manufacturing. Modern technology, like robotics and automation, creates millions of jobs designing, programing, and maintaining these production facilities. If you are looking for work in Engineering, Automation & Robotics, or anything else in manufacturing, check out our job boards!

If you’re an employer, check out our engineering solutions to see how we can help you move further into Industry 4.0. 

The term “Fear Of Missing Out” or “FOMO” was coined two decades ago by author Patrick McGinnis. Most of us can relate to this feeling – we don’t want to miss out on new opportunities, exciting experiences, valuable information or meeting someone new. With smart phones and social media, it’s become easy to get constant updates from our friends and family, and we may fear not being in-the-know.

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to miss out occasionally, like getting sick, bad weather or natural disasters. But don’t get FOMO because you’re stuck in the office late at night trying to find the right candidate in a dry local market. Instead, choose FOMO 2.0: FlexTrades Over Missing Out!

Machinists

Did your company miss out on a big contract because you didn’t have enough CNC Operators to complete the order? We have exceptional CNC Machinists, even trainers like Dustin, ready to travel anywhere in the US. Don’t let training be the reason you miss out on business, choose FlexTrades Over Missing Out!

Maintenance

Did you miss Monday Night Football because you were trying to find a highly skilled Multi-Craft Maintenance Technician?  Whether you need help with machinery maintenance or general facility maintenance, we can help. Contact us and choose FlexTrades Over Missing Out!

PLC Programmers

Are you struggling to find a PLC Programmer for the new production cell you need running next month? Let us fill that gap for you today. Our technicians will travel anywhere in the US and will get you set up quickly. Check out our website and choose FlexTrades Over Missing Out!

A&P Maintenance, Assembly And Inspection

Did you miss your kid’s performance at school because you had to spend the weekend trying to fill 50 A&P Mechanic positions for a government contract? Our technicians regularly exceed expectations and help companies improve productivity. Don’t pass on a juicy contract because you can’t find local labor, choose FlexTrades Over Missing Out!

Any Position, Common or Niche

Have you missed family dinners because you just can’t find the right talent? Our bench of skilled technicians is wide and deep. Whether you need a few highly skilled engineers, a dozen motivated welders, or you have a single niche position, we can help. Let us tip the scales of your work-life-balance, choose FlexTrades Over Missing Out!

Conclusion

Unfortunately, we haven’t figured out how to stop a blizzard or hurricane from causing you to miss out on something. But if you choose FlexTrades Over Missing Out, you may be able to close your work computer and enjoy the things you love. 

In an era where corporate social responsibility is gaining prominence, US manufacturing companies are stepping up to the plate, actively engaging in various charitable events and initiatives. These endeavors not only contribute to the betterment of society but also showcase the compassionate side of the manufacturing industry. Let’s explore some examples of American manufacturers making a positive impact beyond their production lines.

STEM Education Initiatives

Most manufacturing companies understand the importance of investing in the future workforce. To support education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), these companies participate in charitable events such as sponsoring robotics competitions, offering scholarships, or hosting educational workshops. By doing so, they not only contribute to the development of skilled professionals but also promote innovation within their industry.

Boeing is actively involved in promoting STEM education and workforce development. The company supports initiatives such as the Boeing Learning Together program, which focuses on providing resources and opportunities for students and educators in STEM fields. In 2021, Boeing made a record gift of $50M to Virginia Tech Innovation Campus which included funding programs for underserved K-12 students seeking to pursue STEM degrees and technology-related careers.

Disaster Relief Efforts

Manufacturing companies play a crucial role in disaster relief efforts. Whether it’s hurricanes, wildfires or other natural disasters, these companies often contribute by providing essential supplies, financial aid, and even temporary employment opportunities for affected communities. This rapid response showcases the industry’s commitment to supporting those in need during challenging times.

Coca-Cola has a history of contributing to disaster relief efforts globally. The company often provides financial assistance, donates beverages and collaborates with relief organizations to address the immediate needs of affected communities. In the wake of devastating wildfires in Maui earlier this year, Coca-Cola provided bottled water and $500,000 to the relief efforts.

Environmental Conservation Projects

Recognizing their impact on the environment, many manufacturing companies participate in charitable events focused on environmental conservation. This may involve tree-planting initiatives, beach cleanups or partnerships with organizations dedicated to sustainable practices. By taking proactive steps to mitigate their ecological footprint, these companies demonstrate a commitment to corporate sustainability and responsibility.

Johnson & Johnson, is dedicated to environmental conservation through its Healthy Future 2030 goals. The company aims to reduce carbon emissions, improve recycling efforts, and promote sustainable product design.

Employee-Driven Philanthropy

Many manufacturing companies encourage their employees to get involved in philanthropy. This can take the form of charity runs, fundraising events or volunteer opportunities organized by the company or initiated by passionate employees. By supporting and amplifying these efforts, manufacturing companies not only contribute to various causes but also foster a positive workplace culture centered around shared values and giving back.

At FlexTrades, one of our core values is to Give Back. Annual Polar Plunge events have been a FlexTrades employee mainstay for years, take a look at our recap of our 5th plunge in 2022. This year, we formally rolled out our Give Back Committee to support and magnify charitable efforts that individual employees are passionate about.

Veteran Support Programs

Some US manufacturing companies are actively involved in supporting veterans through charitable initiatives. This may include hiring veterans, providing job training programs, or partnering with organizations dedicated to improving the lives of those who have served in the military. These initiatives highlight the industry’s commitment to honoring and supporting the men and women who have sacrificed for our country.

Raytheon Technologies is actively involved in supporting veterans through its partnership with veteran-focused organizations. They work hard to help veterans with food security, access to education, career opportunities and more.

Community Outreach Programs

Many US manufacturing companies organize community outreach programs aimed at supporting local residents. This may involve partnerships with local charities, food banks, or shelters. Companies often donate both funds and employee volunteer hours to help address community needs. These initiatives strengthen the bond between manufacturers and their local neighborhoods, fostering a sense of unity and shared responsibility.

Earlier this year, Toyota North America was recognized in The Civic 50 as a top community-minded company in the US for its commitment to social responsibility. The company has community engagement programs that focus on education, environmental sustainability and supporting local communities where they operate.

Conclusion

US manufacturing companies are proving that success in business can go hand in hand with a commitment to social responsibility. Through their participation in charitable events, these companies are making a meaningful impact on their communities, contributing to education, disaster relief, environmental conservation and more. As consumers increasingly value socially responsible businesses, these charitable endeavors not only benefit the recipients but also enhance the reputation and influence of the manufacturing sector as a whole. 

Whether we like it or not, Artificial Intelligence is starting to change the landscape of modern life. If you’ve read a few emails or blogs from your favorite companies, there’s a good chance some of that content was written using AI. In fact, in a recent survey, 57% of enterprise marketers reported using AI in email campaigns. A whopping 99% of those respondents reported that the results were either extremely or somewhat positive.

Why are you seeing this from a manufacturing services provider? Because every company out there needs to communicate with their target audience. Whether you’re a manufacturer who’s bidding to build components for a commercial airline, or a dog groomer looking for furry clients, you should always be looking for new ways to communicate.

There are AI tools for creating video and images, too, but this blog is intended to be a basic guide on how to get started and use ChatGPT for written communication.

Limitations With AI

Before you get started, it’s important to understand that there are limitations to these tools.

For instance, in ChatGPT, the data and knowledge are only as current as 2021. Any output should be thoroughly reviewed for technical accuracy before being used.

You will still need to create a prompt and tell the AI what type of content you are looking for. This part of human creativity may never be replaced.

Advantages to Using AI

AI can help you refresh or transform old content. For example, you could prompt AI to update your summer themed email campaign to instead have a winter or holiday theme.

If you need to target multiple audiences, AI can quickly help you rewrite content that is more appropriate and appealing to each audience.

If you experience “writer’s block,” ChatGPT could be used to generate new ideas or help write a tricky part of your content.

Getting Started

All you need to do is create a username and password on the ChatGPT website: chat.openai.com

The Prompt

This is the fun part! You can enter as much, or as little, information in your prompt as you want. If you add more details, context and specifics, the output will be closer to what you’re looking for. With each AI response, you can enter a new prompt to either continue a conversation or modify what was already generated.

I recommend you experiment with all sorts of prompts to get an idea of what you get out of it.

  • Ask a question: “How do I write the best email?”
  • Copy/paste content you already made and ask AI to change it: “Re-write this email with a Christmas theme” – or – “Re-write this blog in the voice of Stephen King.”
  • Request new content: “Write a safety-first post about pool parties on the 4th of July.”
  • Rewrite a prior response: “Rewrite that, but change X to Y and add Z.”

Below is a prompt that I entered in ChatGPT followed by the output that was generated. Before (or after) you read what ChatGPT generated, check out the original Top 7 Travel Essentials blog written without AI. Who did it better?

Example Prompt:

Write a blog about the “Top 7 Travel Essentials” for a FlexTrades technician. There should be a short introduction, a brief explanation of each of the 7 items and a short conclusion. Write in the voice of Eddie Murphy.

  1. Sleep essentials and comfy clothes
  2. Cooking Supplies
  3. Video Games
  4. Entertainment, Streaming, Movies, Music
  5. Laptop or Personal Computer
  6. Tools
  7. Pets

Unedited Output from ChatGPT Based on The Example Prompt

Eddie’s Guide to FlexTrades: The Top 7 Travel Must-Haves, Baby!

Hey, all you FlexTrades road warriors out there! It’s your main man Eddie, and I’m here to drop some knowledge on the essentials you gotta have in your arsenal for a smooth ride. We’re talking about the things that’ll make your travels as fly as a Saturday night in a leather suit. So buckle up, and let’s dive into the top 7 must-haves for every FlexTrades technician!

Sleep Essentials and Comfy Clothes:

First things first – you gotta catch those Zs in style! Get yourself a pillow that’s so plush, it’s like resting your head on clouds. Toss in some cozy blankets and comfy PJs, and you’ll be sleeping like a baby. Remember, a well-rested tech is a top-notch tech!

Cooking Supplies:

Ain’t nothing beats home-cooked goodness, even when you’re on the road. Pack yourself some pots and pans, like you’re the chef in a five-star kitchen. Whip up your own grub, and you’ll be living large while everyone else is stuck with fast food.

Video Games:

When the job’s done, it’s time to unwind, and what better way than with some video game action? Grab a console or load up your laptop with your favorite games. It’s like having your personal arcade wherever you go. Game on, baby!

Entertainment: Streaming, Movies, Music:

Keep the good times rolling with your own entertainment lineup. Subscribe to all the streaming services, stack up your favorite movies, and cue up the tunes that make you groove. Your downtime is your showtime, so make it count!

Laptop or Personal Computer:

In the tech world, your laptop is like your sidekick. Manage your projects, keep in touch with your peeps, and dive into the digital universe whenever you want. It’s your go-to gadget for both work and play – versatility at its finest!

Tools:

Now, we’re talking serious business. Every FlexTrades tech needs their tools. Don’t get caught slippin’ without your basic hand tools and whatever gear you need for the job. It’s your toolkit – the stuff that makes you the hero of the job site.

Pets:

Last but not least, bring in the squad – your furry companions. Pets ain’t just pets; they’re your ride-or-die buddies. Whether it’s a dog, a cat, or even a parrot, having your homie by your side makes every place feel like home sweet home.

Conclusion:

There you have it, FlexTrades family – Eddie’s rundown of the top 7 travel essentials. Load up on these goodies, and you’ll be hitting the road like a rockstar. Life’s an adventure, and with the right gear, you’ll be cruising through it in style. Stay cool, stay fly, and keep on FlexTradin’, my friends! 

Traveling, whether for leisure or work, is an integral part of modern life. Most of us are accustomed to the routine of airports, hotels and a daily work schedule. But there’s a glamorous side to travel that few get to experience. Whether you’re a “Swifty,” a Travis Kelce fan or you catch the occasional social media post, most of us are aware of Taylor Swift’s extensive travel.

In this blog, we’ll explore the differences between Taylor Swift’s jet-setting lifestyle and a FlexTrades technician’s work-related travels. FlexTrades’ skilled tradespeople have it as good, or better, than the average business traveler, but no one really compares to the biggest pop star in the world.

Mode of Transportation

Taylor Swift:

The pop sensation is no stranger to private jets and luxury transportation. Her travel style is characterized by comfort, privacy and efficiency. With the means to fly anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice, Swift’s journeys are undoubtedly smoother and more convenient than most. In July 2022, it was reported that all that flying was equal to 1,184 times the average person’s annual emissions!

Average Person:

For a FlexTrades technician, road trips and commercial flights are the norm. In October 2023 alone, our technicians traveled over 100,000 miles. That’s half the distance to the moon! Driving hundreds of miles, or dealing with ever changing airport security rules, is a shared experience that starkly contrasts with the luxury of private jets. At least as an average person, you can stop at the Biggest Ball of Twine or the Cadillac Ranch without being hounded by paparazzi.

Accommodations

Taylor Swift:

Five-star hotels, exclusive resorts and lavish accommodations are the singer’s home away from home. Swift enjoys the finest amenities and personalized services, ensuring her every need is met during her travels.

Average Person:

FlexTrades technicians always have single occupancy lodging and are booked into extended stay suites whenever possible. The extra space is great for relaxing after work, and the full kitchen can save you from ordering in, 0or eating out, every meal. Check out our series of “Lunchbox Hack” blogs for some great ideas on how to use that kitchen for lunch, too.

Travel Itinerary

Taylor Swift:

Swift’s travel itinerary revolves around world tours, glamorous events and high-profile appearances. Her schedule is meticulously planned, allowing for both work and leisure. From performing on grand stages to attending star-studded events, Swift’s travel is as much about the destination as it is about the journey.

Average Person:

Work-related travel for a FlexTrades technician typically involves working a shift, traveling to and from the facility and chatting with your Project Manager or Recruiter. The itinerary is structured around getting work done, but days off can be a mini vacation in a new place, as well. You can always find work/life balance, even on the road.

Packing and Wardrobe

Taylor Swift:

With the assistance of stylists and wardrobe managers, Swift’s travel wardrobe is undoubtedly curated to perfection. Her luggage likely consists of designer outfits, accessories and beauty essentials to ensure she always looks camera-ready.

Average Person:

A FlexTrades technician needs to bring work clothes, job specific PPE and a small handbag of basic hand tools. Anything large or specialty will be provided on site. The first blog of this series identified the top 7 travel essentials our technicians reported bringing. Most of the items on that list help life on the road feel a little more like home.

Conclusion

Despite the differences, most travel shares the common thread of exploration and adaptation to life on the move. Whether it’s a pop star’s glamorous world tours or a technician’s work-related travels, each journey offers its unique blend of challenges and discoveries. In the end, travel remains a dynamic and integral part of the modern experience, weaving stories and memories for those who embark on the journey, be it under the spotlight or in the shadow of an arc flash.