No one enjoys researching shop floor systems. You have plenty of other responsibilities on your plate and frankly, you didn’t get into manufacturing to browse software recommendation websites.
We’ve compiled the 5 most common reasons people hate researching manufacturing software, the red flags to avoid and recommendations for success.
- “Software companies upcharge for everything”
Red Flags: “modular platforms”, “a la’ cart pricing”, “pricing starting at _____”, “unwilling to provide a quote”, “over-promising”
Too many modern software companies have taken the “bait-and-switch” approach to selling manufacturing systems. These companies rope customers in with low pricing only to charge them for a series of “modular upgrades” once they’ve gotten their foot in the door. It’s like paying for a car only to find out the steering wheel is part of the “deluxe package”.
Recommendation: Avoid software companies that promise an à la carte package of modules. Stick with complete systems to both guarantee clean upgrade paths and avoid surprise upcharges. Request your quote early and demand transparency from your vendors.
- “It’s too complicated for my operators”
Red Flags: “multi-week training”, “complicated submenus”, “video demos”
If a software company offers a full week of free training with their system, then it’s too complicated for the average shop. Your solution needs to be intuitive and built with each user’s role/goals in mind. New hires need to be up-and-running without lengthy training and your veterans won’t waste time adding unnecessary steps to their work. Your system needs to increase Quality and velocity on every order from Day One™.
Recommendation: Insist on a live demo. Canned videos and scripted presentations only let you see what they want you to see. Live demos allow you to imagine the flow of your processes in the system and ask questions along the way.
- “My I.T. guy can do it for half the price”
Red Flags: “custom systems”, “patching together extraneous systems”, ”only one person understands/maintains the system”
Most manufacturers are currently using a series of disconnected systems to control production. These systems are usually a combination of an ERP, a few spreadsheets and a shelf full of binders. Inevitably, the one person that actually understands their patchwork database leaves the company and you’re stuck with data you can’t access trapped on your server.
The quality and effectiveness of homemade production control systems never meet expectations. Not to mention the risk run by companies when they put all of their most important documents through a Frankensteinian system.
Recommendation: In the long run you will save time and money by working with a team of experts. Find a vendor that understands your needs, budget and timeline, and rely on their industry expertise to move the project forward.
- “I’ll just have to replace it in 5 years anyway”
Red Flags: “cloud platforms”, “lack of a long term plan”, “third party code”
Everything has a shelf life, but your software should be with your company long after you retire. If a software provider charges for annual upgrades you could end up spending more every year for the same system. Ask your vendor to provide a software sustainability pledge to ensure your company won’t be left with an expensive obsolete system.
Recommendation: Make sure the vendor you work with has the experience in manufacturing to understand your current goals while planning for future success. You need a partner to support your needs as your business grows.
- “My ERP installation was a nightmare”
Red Flags: “multi-year timeline”, “pausing production”, “multi-day training”, “non-responsiveness”
In all of human history, no one has ever finished implementing an ERP system and thought, “well, that was a pleasant experience.” By their nature, ERP’s are bulky, complex and disruptive. However, bringing on a complete MES to track and control production is simple and works alongside your existing ERP. The right system shouldn’t disrupt production or take weeks of training to understand. You need a system that allows you to control production and eliminate waste on Day One™.
Recommendation: Clearly communicate your timeline and goals early in the search process. Ask vendors direct questions about potential hurdles that could extend your launch date and keep track of how responsive they are to your requests. Consider the amount of time invested by your company in lengthy trainings or multi-week installations and mitigate that impact with a solution that works with your processes and maintains production momentum.
The manufacturing software industry has given you every reason to hate them over the past twenty years, but there are providers out there who understand your frustrations and work to deliver your company the right system at the right price.
Manufacturing Software Experience | CIMx Software
For more than 20 years, CIMx has developed complete solutions for manufacturers. The experience and innovation behind CIMx systems have delivered decades of increased production and cost savings. Quantum® is designed to deliver the production control your team needs to build it right™, ahead of schedule and under budget. Cure your shop floor problems, with Quantum.
Schedule your live Quantum demo with a CIMx Application Expert today!