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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Paperless Manufacturing

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For many manufacturers, large and small, paperless manufacturing gives them the freedom to build and grow their business.

By Kristin McLane, President of CIMx Software

The 4th of July, American Independence Day, has always been about freedom, and freedom has a special connection to Paperless Manufacturing and CIMx Software.  I left an engineering company to start CIMx Software for the freedom to choose – my destiny, the company’s direction, and the people and products that are the foundation of CIMx.
Paperless Manufacturing and MES frees companies to grow without paper-based constraints.  The companies I talk to that are still using paper suffer from limitations including lack of real-time information, no reliable quality assurance, and an inefficient change process.  They may use readily available tools, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, or Power Point, for some measure of process control, but these tools weren’t designed to manage information in a production environment.  They can’t assure you of accuracy or manage change.  Doubt and inefficiencies prevent rapid decision-making and cause errors.  These companies are restrained, prevented from maximizing production or effectively building their business.

As a manufacturing solution, Paperless Manufacturing ensures production and process control, and manages information to enable growth.  Manufacturers focus on the future, on improvement, and delivering exceptional production and customer service, rather than chasing errors and struggling to make things work.

Need more proof?  Take a look at how some companies handle audits.  For many manufacturers, success in an audit is far from certain.  Many could argue the audit process is another infringement of freedom, but it can also be seen as a benchmark for measuring process control. Audits require businesses to be nimble and control information – almost impossible in a paper environment.  In a paper-based environment, audits cost days and weeks of lost productivity, with employees focused on work with no ROI.  In Paperless Manufacturing, securely archiving information and assembling as-built records for audits is automated. Employees are focused on productive work.  You have the freedom to plan beyond your next audit.

The success we’ve enjoyed at CIMx Software is based on freedom.  I started CIMx Software to discover freedom – the freedom to build a company the way I chose.  Our software solutions give manufacturers the freedom to focus on what they do best – building and producing.

There are still manufacturers reluctant to embrace technology such as Paperless Manufacturing.  They put limitations on their business by clinging to inefficient paper-based production control.  Maybe they’ve been burnt by unscrupulous companies in the past, or have been approached by a consulting company hoping to sell services rather than a system.  Here’s an insider tip – to discover unscrupulous consulting companies hiding their true intentions, ask them the ratio of development team members working on core product releases to the number of installation experts and programmers working on customer jobs.  Ideally, you want a ratio of 3-to-1 (3 developers to 1 service person) in a software company.

When companies struggle, they turn to desperate measures, narrowing options and limiting freedom.  For example, they may try to build their own system.  They have no idea the time or investment necessary, and end up shackling their fortune and future on a system they are building from scratch with no guarantee of success.

Freedom is having a system that works with your processes and gives you control of your business and shop floor without imposing restrictions or adding complexity.  The system should give you tools to build and grow your business, such as Paperless Manufacturing, mobile and collaborative manufacturing, and a secure cloud-based solution.  It gives you the freedom to focus on what you do best, rather than struggle to stay one step ahead of disaster – a scenario all too common on a paper-based shop floor.

CIMx Software knows something about freedom, and the freedom paperless manufacturing gives manufacturers.  After all, freedom has been a foundation of CIMx Software since its founding more than 17 years ago.