November 11, 2015 at 4:30 AM

​How Your Choice in Manufacturing Software Might be Holding You Back

Manufacturing software companies shouldn’t put limits on how you use their product, but many companies do and it’s hurting your productivity and profit.

 

I love coffee.

I’m not a fancy coffee drinker. I don’t need flavorings, whip or soy – just give me a simple dark roast or latte. I used to go to Starbucks (the gold standard in coffee) and pick up 3 or 4 drinks for the office. When I used their rewards program, I once got one “star” for each drink. The stars quickly added up. It made picking up coffee in the afternoon worthwhile.

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December 31, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Technology Breakthroughs That Will Deliver Manufacturing Success in 2015

Many manufacturers struggle to capitalize on the latest technology, instead using outdated processes and tools. Embrace the digital shop floor in 2015 with breakthrough technology.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

A Growing Divide around the Digital Shop Floor

As 2014 winds to a close and companies prepare for 2015, analysts and prognosticators peer into their crystal ball to analyze the future. This year in manufacturing, they predict Big Data and analytics, 3D Printing, robotics, and enhanced connectivity (via the Internet of Things and mobility) shaping our industry.

Its human nature to wonder at the future, and marvel at shiny new technology, but the truth is many manufacturers struggle to implement basic shop floor technology such as an MES or paperless manufacturing, much less capitalize on cutting-edge technology. These companies are faced with a massive Technology Debt – the total cost of replacing outdated technologies or systems as they begin to degrade the overall functionality of the company. This debt negatively impacts production throughout the supply chain, as companies struggle to meet market demands.

Consider this – Software Advice, a company that helps match buyers with software solutions, recently released a survey of manufacturers with annual revenues of $100 million or less on their reasons for purchasing new software. The survey found forty-five percent of prospective buyers managed manufacturing operations manually. They used paper, spreadsheets or accounting software to manage shop floor operations. Thirty-one percent of those surveyed sought a software solution simply to help plan and manage day-to-day manufacturing operation.

The Manufacturing Software Small Business BuyerView 2014 survey from Software Advice reveals our industry is at a critical junction. Some companies have embraced technology, while others struggle with outdated processes and tools. Unless addressed, this dichotomy will only grow, creating an almost insurmountable gap between manufacturers operating in similar industries and creating bottlenecks in the supply chain.

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December 22, 2014 at 4:18 AM

Overcoming the Shop Floor Grinch and Finding MES Success

Many paperless manufacturing projects fail not due technology, but cultural or personality problems.  We show how to overcome the problems and find success.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

We’ve done a lot of MES and paperless manufacturing implementations over the years, so we’ve also heard a lot of excuses as to why a digital shop floor would never, ever, work. “That’s not how we do it,” is one that comes up a lot. Most often, that’s quickly followed by. “It’s never going to work,” or “I can’t use that.”  We often also hear phrases, like, “Why do we need that?” or, “That won’t work.”

There are times when those phrases are uttered out of fear – fear of change or fear of the unknown, but other times those phrases are a sign of mistakes made early in the process.  They are often uttered by the grizzled shop floor veteran. He (or she) know their way around the shop floor, and have worked out the “best practices” for their job. A new system, even one that automates many of the most annoying and time consuming tasks or eliminates the errors that cause quality escapes or scrap, can’t (and probably shouldn’t) replicate the processes they are comfortable with.  Maybe they’re afraid of what the new system will mean for them?

Many times, when you start pushing them to change their ways, adjusting their work station, or forcing them to log in with a user name they don’t want, people can get grumpy, stubborn. This time of year, you could say they become Grinch-like.

It’s going to happen. The grump, or the Grinch, will make an appearance any time you make a major change on the shop floor (even a positive change) and you haven’t positioned your team for success. You can’t ignore them, and you can’t let the Grinch hold your shop floor back, so what do you do?
Never fear – here four steps you can take to give your Grinch-iest a dose of the paperless manufacturing spirit:

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December 17, 2014 at 6:24 AM

How to Find an MES Solution You Can Trust

Don’t be “wowed” by software solutions that aren’t addressing the challenges facing your shop floor. Learn how you can find the solution that’s right for you.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Ever watch late night TV or infomercials for the latest inventions offered to the unsuspecting public?

Consider the Flowbee hair cutter system. For just $79.99 (or $114.90 with the Super Mini Vac), you can have a razor attached to a vacuum cleaner that will safely cut your hair to any length between ½” to 6”. For that low-low price, you’ll never have to go to a barber or hair stylist!  Is it worth it? Apparently, many think so…

How about cola-flavored wine? Ever heard of pet-dating services?  Infomercials are full of products offering questionable value.

I’m not arguing there isn’t a market for the Flowbee.  As funny as it may seem, many (especially parents) love their Flowbee. Unfortunately, I believe these products are sold more for the “wow” factor or fancy packaging than actual functionality, leading to a sharp pang of buyer’s remorse once the product arrives.

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November 26, 2014 at 9:27 AM

5 Reasons to be Thankful for Paperless Manufacturing

Paperless Manufacturing and MES are some of the best investments manufacturers can make.  We take a look at a few of the reasons companies are thankful for their software system.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

It’s the time of year where those of us in the United States begin considering everything we have to be thankful for. Turkey dinners, pumpkin pies, and the inevitable turkey leftovers are on tables everywhere. 

The past year, we’ve worked with a number of manufacturers implementing paperless manufacturing and MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) on their shop floor.  Most have already reached an ROI, so we asked a few what the top benefits were.  Below are the top 5 in no particular order. To be honest, every company found different benefits, but these are the ones we heard over and over. Here we go….

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November 18, 2014 at 6:39 AM

5 MES Misconceptions That Are Hurting Your Business

Don’t get suckered in by MES and Paperless Manufacturing misconceptions, especially when reality can deliver so much shop floor benefit.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Perception versus reality…

CIMx has been serving manufacturers for more than 18 years, and we’ve seen, heard and learned a lot.  Occasionally we come across industry perceptions that are totally, completely, and utterly detached from reality.  It’s the perception versus reality conundrum… many cling to a false perception so much it becomes a reality.  Problem is, their perception is hurting their business and costing them money.

Let’s take a look at our top perception issues in paperless manufacturing, and see what a little "reality" medicine can do for you…

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November 5, 2014 at 9:25 AM

How You Can Embrace the Full Potential of Paperless Manufacturing

An MES is more than a list of features.  Maximize the impact of a new system by embracing positive changes it will encourage in your shop floor culture. 

By Kristin McLane, President of CIMx Software 

Manufacturers often ask how to unlock the full potential of a digital shop floor.  Many think it’s a cool feature, innovative function, or special training session.
 
My answer, always, is to look at the shop floor culture.  Consider the human element.  No software system, special feature, nifty function, automated process, extraordinary lesson, KPI, or analysis tool will get you where you need to be.  The software provides the foundation for process improvement and will immediately deliver benefits, but to unlock the full potential of the system, you need to develop the human element – study how the people, processes, system, tools and material interact, then focus on how the software will support the human element. 

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October 29, 2014 at 5:49 AM

Insider Secrets to System Integration for MES and Paperless Manufacturing

There’s confusion out there in the MES and paperless manufacturing market about what “system integration” means and what it can do for your company.  We cut through the confusion and offer tips for ensuring integration leads to benefits for you and your shop floor.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

System integration.

For many manufacturers, the term has taken on mythical, magical, properties.  Like some IT or software unicorn, many companies are questing for the holy grail of total “SYSTEM INTEGRATION.”  They call it the “digital enterprise,” “enterprise integration,” or “operation integration.”  Companies feed into the myth, believing they cannot achieve operational Nirvana without system integration.  Current IT trends and tools lend support to these beliefs, especially big data and advanced analytics – both require integrated systems.

There are benefits to system integration for savvy manufacturers.  It’s worth the investment, but many companies fail to fully realize the benefits in their single-minded focus on complete system integration.  They may even be hurting production.  The goal shouldn’t be a monolithic digital enterprise, but improved productivity and better business processes.

We want to take a brief look at system integration, focusing on the benefits and dangers rather than the technology (which can change quickly as new products and techniques are released), and offer tips on how you can design a more successful integration project. 

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October 23, 2014 at 9:16 AM

5 Ways Market Acquisitions May Hurt Your Manufacturing Business

Market acquisition is changing the manufacturing software solutions market, but not always for the better.  We take a closer look at its cost to innovation and service to manufacturers.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Market consolidation – big companies purchasing smaller companies in order to make even bigger companies – has become a way of business.

Consider this, Google has purchased more than 160 companies since the company was founded.  In less than one year, they purchased 21 companies.  In 2010, Google bought a company, on average, every two weeks!  According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple averages an acquisition every other month.  Acquisitions are rampant, widespread, and especially common in the high-tech and software industries.

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October 21, 2014 at 8:44 AM

CIMx Announces the Release of Interax V 7.4


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CIMx delivers productivity improvements with Interax 7.4 release

CIMx Software responds to customer feedback with productivity enhancements to improve their already best-in-class manufacturing solution software.


Cincinnati, OH (10/20/2014)

CIMx Software, LLC announces the release of Interax 7.4, the latest version of a manufacturing software solution designed to improve production and efficiency, increase quality, eliminate errors, and give customers control and visibility of the shop floor. With the latest release, CIMx responded directly to customer feedback with improved functionality enhancing productivity and ease of use, as well as support for recent technology upgrades.

Interax 7.4 provides CIMx customers:

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October 15, 2014 at 4:35 AM

Information Management: The Greatest Gift You Can Give Manufacturing

Information management, when implemented on the shop floor, will unlock production potential that’s hindered in a paper-based environment

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Ever notice how much your shop floor relies on information?  Consider this:

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October 8, 2014 at 8:49 AM

One Simple Step that Improves Manufacturing Productivity

Your shop floor hides dangers that eliminate more than 13 hours of productivity each week for every employee.  Learn how you can quickly improve productivity and profit with one simple step.

 By Kristin McLane, President of CIMx Software

As a culture, we are driven by technology.  There’s a chip in your coffee maker and a computer in your car, not to mention a smart phone that connects you to the greatest database in human history.  Technology can make our lives better and improve productivity.  With technology, it’s possible to get through your whole day without thinking (a skill many seem to have mastered already). But, some technology can be disruptive.  Rather than helping us work better, it hinders productivity.  Consider email – email can be a constant interruption, wreaking havoc on your day if you’re not careful.  

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March 6, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Six Must-Have Tips for Successful Paperless Manufacturing Selection and Implementation

Let the experts offer you insider tips on successfully navigating your next shop floor software project.

By Nick Stonebraker and David Oeters with CIMx Software

Selecting an MES (Manufacturing Execution System) or Paperless Manufacturing system is a critical task for manufacturer.  If successful, the system will positively transform manufacturing by improving production and quality, managing and collecting information on the production process, eliminating errors, and ensuring real-time shop floor control and visibility among other benefits.  The system could deliver an ROI in months, and continue to save money and improve profits for years to come. 

This sounds nice, but there is risk involved in selecting and implementing a shop floor solution.  The project requires an investment of time, energy, focus and resources, especially for IT (Information Technology) professionals tasked with upkeep on the system.
 
Never fear, here we offer six common sense and easy-to-use tips for IT professionals to help ensure your MES and paperless manufacturing selection project is a success.

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March 4, 2014 at 6:20 AM

Insider Tips on Calculating ROI for Your Shop Floor Software System

CIMx Software offers simple tips that take the fear out of calculating ROI for your next paperless manufacturing or shop floor software solution project.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Calculating ROI is a dreaded task for many shop floor solution and paperless manufacturing committees. The final ROI estimate is an uncomfortable marriage of budget, estimate, faith, conjecture, arcane formula, and (sometimes) chicanery – among other things.

We all know it, which is why many committees are stymied when it comes time to create and present an ROI. For most companies, there is no right or wrong answer, and most times there is no “auto-calculate.” The final result comes down to a “reasonable” guess based on a mix of fact and estimate, which leads many to question how to even begin the process.

Never fear, we’ve collected tips, thoughts and ideas on how to get started with a common-sense ROI that will win over the most critical judge.

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February 26, 2014 at 6:15 AM

​Making Sense of MES: Template-based and Behavior-based Systems

For manufacturers engaged in process-improvement projects, the difference between success and failure is having the right shop floor software system.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Humans love to categorize. It helps us make sense of things. We bring order out of chaos by putting things in their place, grouping the countless multitude into finite categories.

The problem is, sometimes we can be fooled into bad decisions by simplistic or faulty categorizations. For example, take a look at shop floor solutions. Software systems that monitor and support manufacturing operations, including paperless manufacturing, MES and MOM systems, can be grouped into two categories: template-based and behavior-based. One category offers a clear advantage to shop floor process improvement.

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