Kristin McLane

Kristin McLane

Recent Posts

December 7, 2016 at 12:12 PM

Overcoming Failure: Simple Steps to Improve Manufacturing Software

Not long ago, I wrote about a concept known as “sunk cost.”  The Sunk Cost Fallacy is a cognitive bias that compels us to cling to an investment even after there is little to no chance of a beneficial return. We feel an unnecessary commitment to decisions of the past, even where we’ve lost our initial investment, and so we keep pouring more resources into it.  For example, continuing to invest in a failed business or clinging to a relationship even after it's gone bad.

I’ve heard Annie Duke, a World champion poker player, discuss the Sunk Cost Fallacy, and I’m fascinated by her lessons on sunk cost, loss aversion and Decision Science. She recently wrote a blog about supermarket lines and sunk cost.  There are valuable lessons for manufacturers in her blog when you consider the amount of money you spend on infrastructure.

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October 12, 2016 at 4:37 PM

Good Samaritans, Guarantees and Paperless Manufacturing

The core of customer service in manufacturing software is ensuring the system works as promised. By focusing on the sale, many companies lose sight of customer service.

We never really think about customer service unless there’s a problem. It’s too bad, because manufacturing software suppliers are missing out on an opportunity...

I realized this when I lost my FitBit. I was on a bike trail near my house when my FitBit fell out of my pocket.  This was no fault of the device – I put it in my pocket to count steps as I rode, and ended up losing it on the side of the trail. 

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September 20, 2016 at 9:39 AM

Sustainable Products, Consultants and Paperless Manufacturing

Manufacturers have options when selecting a software solution, but often they lose sight of the most important requirement during the selection process.

On a recent flight, I sat next to a fuel transportation consultant with a background in software implementation.  As he talked about himself (incessantly), he explained he was a legend and master in his chosen industry. I instantly identified his sales pitch. 

That’s really what it was – a sales pitch. Consultants are interesting that way.  The consulting industry – both corporate and independent – doesn’t make money unless you hire them. They don’t usually have a product to show or sell, only themselves, so they have this shiny, made-to-be-hired aura that promotes their skill and expertise. 

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August 30, 2016 at 9:20 AM

Four Clues to Evaluating Current Manufacturing Software

If you take the pulse of the manufacturing software market, you’ll be surprised by what you discover.

We recently did an early demo of our product for a manufacturing prospect gone cold. A new Application Specialist was learning the job, and we offered a short demo as a way to engage the prospect and for our employee to get some experience.  We expected our main contact and maybe one or two others to show up. We were surprised when 20 executives and managers joined.

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August 24, 2016 at 8:51 AM

Email is not Manufacturing Software

As many manufacturers outgrow their process plan solution, some end up using email to manage their critical production processes.

Do yourself a favor.  Pick a day this week and look at your Outlook Inbox.  How many messages do you get a day?  Do you know how to find that? How many messages are in your Inbox right now? How many remain unopened? 

On any given day, I’m receiving several thousand emails. Over 95% end up in my spam filter. The other 5% are distributed based on content, some going into automated folders for review later, or directed to the main folder for immediate review. 

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August 16, 2016 at 11:13 AM

What to do when an ERP vendor wants to be an MES

There is a big difference between an ERP and an MES, as companies using their ERP on the shop floor have discovered.

Every day, we work with manufacturers to make them more productive, and every day we hear stories about Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems trying to replicate an MES. The ERP supplier promises they can replicate the functionality of an MES in their system, offering a single solution for the manufacturers software needs.  Why buy multiple systems when you can get everything in a single purchase?

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July 20, 2016 at 9:53 AM

Are There “Gentlemen’s Rules” in MES Sales?

Many software suppliers are more focused on the sale than the solution when working with customers.

Twenty-something years ago, software demos gave potential customers a good idea of the system they were buying. 

Today, as software functionality continues to expand and teams of consultants scramble for profit (read our blog on Tesla for more on that), it’s difficult for manufacturers to know what they are purchasing.  The skill in MES sales has grown faster than the market’s ability to discern fact and fiction.  The rules in the software market have gotten skewed, and without rules, how do we play (or purchase a system)?

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July 12, 2016 at 1:53 PM

What Does Paperless Manufacturing Mean for You?

In the world of manufacturing software, there are many who aren't sure of the difference between Paperless Manufacturing and MES, and they’re missing out on opportunities.

You can call any manufacturing process that doesn’t use paper Paperless Manufacturing, but there is context far beyond that (and advantages for savvy manufacturers).  Some believe it’s just another name for a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) or Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) system, and others think it is a subset of a master MES or MOM.  To understand what Paperless Manufacturing is and how it can help, you need to understand the history of manufacturing software.

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June 28, 2016 at 11:00 AM

What Tesla Teaches You about MES

The software sales process has never been customer-centric, but that may be changing.

Researching and buying software is a horrible job. 

When you buy a commodity, many rely on the “seeing-is-believing” methodology.  Until you can hold a product in your hand, feel and use it, see it in action, the buyer will be reluctant to let go of their money.

Have you ever tried to hold software in your hand? Can you imagine “trying-out” an MES without training or an implementation?  Software is already one of the most challenging things to sell, and MES even more challenging. 

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June 21, 2016 at 9:20 AM

The Curious State of the MES Industry

Manufacturers shouldn’t expect MES projects to be late and over-budget, but many do. They should expect exceptional customer service and successful data migration, but that’s not what many suppliers offer.

Recently, I was in a Verizon store trying to transfer information from my old phone to a new device.  This is not rocket science.  We should know – our software has helped put the space shuttles, the Delta Rocket, commercial aircraft and satellites into the air. 

This is a simple data transfer, moving my applications, names, numbers and other information from an old device to a newer, smoother, faster device.  After a few minutes in the store, I began to doubt Verizon could finish the job. 

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April 26, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Identifying Customer-centric MES Customization

Your company may need a viable custom MES solution, but not all software companies will offer it to you.

Not long ago I read a Business Insight by Shep Hyken, author of The Amazement Revolution. Hyken and CIMx share a core passion: creating a Customer Service culture.  Generally, I agree with Shep’s philosophy, and love him as a speaker.  Putting the customer first is the basis for a true win-win in business.

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