Risk Management Article

Del Williams’s picture

By: Del Williams

On conveyor systems in the food processing industry, some powdered and bulk solid materials such as grains, sugar, and creamer are ignition-sensitive in specific concentrations, particularly when exposed to static electricity discharge. Key concerns are conveyor-system connection points such as inlets, outlets, and storage bins. The concentration of dust can become sufficiently high for a deflagration to occur with accidental exposure to an ignition source, such as static electricity, a spark, flame, or even high heat or friction.

So, the characteristics of the material conveyed and the type of conveyor along with its associated component parts and connection points should be considered in the system’s design to avoid a serious risk of dust combustion and explosion. By carefully selecting and integrating the conveyor system and its components, food processors can minimize the risk of dust explosions while safely conveying materials in a hygienic and energy-efficient manner.

Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest’s picture

By: Dirk Dusharme @ Quality Digest

Quality professionals no longer focus solely on product or service quality. Today, the quality function is involved in almost every aspect of a company, from customer interactions and compliance management to environmental health and safety, supply chain management, risk management, and more.

A key reason for this broadened scope is the skills that already exist within the quality department. If you already have experience dealing with quality compliance, you already have many of the skills for environmental health and safety (EHS) compliance. If you’re already versed at risk management from a quality perspective, supply chain risk isn’t much of a reach.

Sophia Finn, director of strategy, QualityOne at Veeva Systems, agrees. “More is expected of the quality function, from managing risk to addressing sustainability and transparency across the supply chain,” says Finn, adding that the extended scope has also changed the focus. “As quality is elevated, the duties shift from tactical—like fighting fires—to more strategic—like determining how quality can help companies meet their objectives.”

Multiple Authors
By: Joseph Near, David Darais

It’s not so simple to deploy a practical system that satisfies differential privacy. Our example in the last post was a simple Python program that adds Laplace noise to a function computed over the sensitive data. For this to work in practice, we’d need to collect all the sensitive data on one server to run our program.

What if that server gets hacked? Differential privacy provides no protection in this case—it only protects the output of our program.

When deploying differentially private systems, it’s important to consider the threat model—that is, what kind of adversaries we want the system to protect against. If the threat model includes adversaries who might compromise the server holding the sensitive data, then we need to modify the system to protect against this kind of attack.

Sharona Hoffman’s picture

By: Sharona Hoffman

Artificial intelligence holds great promise for improving human health by helping doctors make accurate diagnoses and treatment decisions. It can also lead to discrimination that can harm minorities, women, and economically disadvantaged people.

The question is, when healthcare algorithms discriminate, what recourse do people have?

A prominent example of this kind of discrimination is an algorithm used to refer chronically ill patients to programs that care for high-risk patients. A study in 2019 found that the algorithm favored whites over sicker African Americans in selecting patients for these beneficial services. This is because it used past medical expenditures as a proxy for medical needs.

Poverty and difficulty accessing healthcare often prevent African Americans from spending as much money on healthcare as others. The algorithm misinterpreted their low spending as indicating they were healthy, and deprived them of critically needed support.

Michael P. Powell’s picture

By: Michael P. Powell

The promise of advanced manufacturing technologies—also known as smart factories or Industry 4.0—is that by networking our machines, computers, sensors, and systems, we will (among other things) enable automation, improve safety, and ultimately become more productive and efficient. And there is no doubt that manufacturing has already benefited from that transformation.

However, connecting all of these sensors and devices to our industrial control systems, along with the increase in remote work and monitoring, results in manufacturing networks with greater vulnerabilities to cyberattack. This is an increasingly challenging dynamic as manufacturers sort out how to adopt commercial information technology (IT) standards that are compatible with their operational technology (OT) standards.

Manfred Kets de Vries’s picture

By: Manfred Kets de Vries

Serge faced a conundrum. One of his business partners was in a legal dispute with Serge’s father, Charlie, and asked for his help. Serge knew that his father was prone to suing everyone who crossed his path—including family members. The business partner had repeatedly tried to end this legal fight, to no avail. It seemed like Charlie didn’t want to find a resolution. He preferred to engage in self-sabotage to escalate the conflict. Impulse control was not one of Charlie’s strengths.

Many of us know people like Charlie who enjoy arguing for the sake of argument, and who thrive on drama and conflict. Personality types come in many shapes and colors, but quarrelsome people like Charlie don’t belong to a single one. Their combative behavior is an amalgamation of antisocial (psychopathic), borderline, narcissistic, and histrionic personalities.

The belligerent personality traits

Like many other psychiatric disorders, the specific causes of the belligerent personality have not been clearly identified. There is no known genetic link for this disorder. It is, however, associated with chaotic early child-parent attachment patterns in the form of abuse, neglect, and conflict.

Multiple Authors
By: Tinglong Dai, Christopher Tang, Ho-Yin Mak

More than 50 million Americans have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. So far, Americans have been largely brand-agnostic, but that’s about to change as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine rolls out.

The vaccine been hailed as a game changer. It requires only a single dose rather than two doses spaced weeks apart, and it does not need freezer storage, making it a natural fit for hard-to-reach rural areas and underserved communities with limited access to healthcare and storage facilities.

Multiple Authors
By: Joseph Near, David Darais, Kaitlin Boeckl

Does your organization want to aggregate and analyze data to learn trends, but in a way that protects privacy? Or perhaps you are already using differential privacy tools, but want to expand (or share) your knowledge? In either case, NIST’s blog series on differential privacy is for you.

Why are we doing this series? Last year, NIST launched a Privacy Engineering Collaboration Space to aggregate open source tools, solutions, and processes that support privacy engineering and risk management. As moderators for the Collaboration Space, we’ve helped NIST gather differential privacy tools under the topic area of de-identification. NIST also has published the “Privacy Framework: A Tool for Improving Privacy through Enterprise Risk Management” and a companion road map that recognized a number of challenge areas for privacy, including the topic of de-identification.

Theodore Kinni’s picture

By: Theodore Kinni

There is no shortage of advice regarding the art and craft of business strategy. Yet, in 2019, when the consulting firm Strategy& surveyed 6,000 executives, only 37 percent said their companies had well-defined strategies, and only 35 percent believed that their strategies would lead to success.

Stanford Graduate School of Business professors Jesper Sørensen and Glenn Carroll peg this lack of confidence in the ability to make sound strategy to a dearth of critical analytical thinking. They find that the strategies that have driven the long-term success of companies such as Apple, Disney, Honda, Southwest Airlines, and Walmart are typically—and insufficiently—attributed to either an innovative vision or the fortuitous discovery of emerging opportunities. In their new book, Making Great Strategy: Arguing for Organizational Advantage (Columbia Business School Publishing, 2021), they assert that neither explanation tells the whole story.

Sébastien Breteau’s picture

By: Sébastien Breteau

It’s been about one year since the Covid-19 impact intensified from a seemingly isolated health scare to a worldwide, ubiquitous tragedy that has upended daily life as we know it. Ever since consumers first faced widespread product shortages of essential items during the early days of the pandemic, ranging from toilet paper to medical supplies and PPE, there has been an unprecedented spotlight on supply chain management.

Although much of the conversation has focused on responding to waves in supply and demand, supply chain data suggest that the pandemic is triggering long-lasting supply chain trends that present both pros and cons for quality measures in supply chains.

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