October 26, 2018 at 11:00 AM

What’s worrisome about software vendors

2018 Advanced Manufacturing Technology Show Series |  3 of 6

I could give you all the advice I have to help you pick just the right software vendor and it still wouldn’t be enough to get you the right choice right away. In the age of consultative selling, software sales people are very good at telling you and showing you exactly what they want you to see which always happens to be what they’re great at. They’re also good at covering up their weaknesses. 

So how can you tell what they are not telling you?

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October 23, 2018 at 11:00 AM

What Matters Long-term in Software

2018 Advanced Manufacturing Technology Show Series |  2 of 6

Software is like a roommate. It is part of your life, your processes and your work. It should make your life easier. It’s a long-term choice that you don’t make lightly. With that said, what should you care about when selecting software and taking the long view?

We talked last time about ensuring that the software that you select works for you into the future. How can you test that? How would you even know what you’re going to do in the future? Here are a few things to consider and an easy test for any product that you’re reviewing.

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October 19, 2018 at 11:00 AM

The Best Software Experience

2018 Advanced Manufacturing Technology Show Series |  1 of 6

What is the best experience you’ve had with software? How about with a software vendor? I pause when I ask that question because I know what’s coming – silence or anger. People that I speak to either haven’t had a good experience with a software vendor or it’s been so long that they can’t remember one.

Having spent the last 25 years in software, I am deeply saddened by this, in manufacturing especially, but I feel for the entire industry. People don’t make choices for software lightly, no matter the purpose. Software invades your life. You can’t even leave your house without something electronic making your coffee or protecting your house.

You want it to be easy. You want it to work right “out of the box” and for an expensive coffee maker or kitchen appliance that might be true. For the rest of you, there’s radio silence.

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September 26, 2018 at 9:00 AM

The Truth about Production Scheduling Software – 2018 Edition

The majority of manufacturers schedule their daily work one of two ways: color-coded spreadsheets or magnets on dry erase boards. It isn’t ideal, but it’s cheap and, more often than not, it gets the job done.

However, as shops grow and Orders become more numerous and complex, manual scheduling becomes more of a guessing game than a science. Our team of manufacturing system experts has examined the functionality you need to know about, and the marketing-speak to avoid, when researching the right Scheduler for your shop.

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September 13, 2018 at 10:25 AM

The Selling Power of a Great Manufacturing Audit

Industry standards and regulations are moving targets.

Maintaining your customer base is dependent on retaining your various certifications. Unfortunately, keeping up with these standards and regulations, regardless of your industry, is a time consuming and expensive process.

 

Preferred Vendor/Manufacturer Lists

In order to make the coveted preferred vendor lists of a customer, your facility will be put through a gauntlet of vigorous audits and comprehensive reporting . However, it is never enough to simply manufacture to specification. You must be able to prove every step was executed to perfection. It’s like being back in your high school math class with a teacher that makes you show your work.

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November 21, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Solving Problems and Improving Production with Behavior Science

While many make-to-order manufacturers are highly successful at guiding the economic side of their businesses, most have yet to discover the secret to managing production. Errors, inefficiency, and waste still plague the shop floor. Orders ship late, scrap and waste drain profit, and non-productive time is a constant drag on output. These fundamental flaws and missed opportunities hold back the business.

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September 13, 2017 at 4:17 PM

The Broken Promises of Manufacturing Innovation

We received a lot of feedback, positive and negative, regarding our blog on market consolidation and manufacturing software.

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September 7, 2017 at 2:45 PM

How to Find the Best Partner for Your Manufacturing Software

Last week I read a press release announcing a merger between two manufacturing software companies. The goal of the new product – a combination of the offerings from both companies – was to deliver functionality neither company had previously been capable of offering.

Dangers of Software Mergers

Joint offerings like this rarely deliver the expected benefits. With no real focus on customer needs, these business mergers lead to expensive, inefficient and ineffective product offerings propped up by the promise of innovation.  Too often, the real goals are either opening another revenue stream or fixing existing flaws in each developer’s software. Purchasing a competitor’s technology and marketing it under a unified brand isn’t innovation. For companies looking at a patchwork software solution, here are a few thoughts to consider:

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August 16, 2017 at 10:32 AM

Five Steps and 12 Weeks to a Manufacturing Solution

If you’re struggling with manufacturing problems – failed audits, late shipments, scrap, waste and worse, a sustainable solution is closer than you may think.

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July 18, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Defining the ERP and MES Connection

When problems crop up in production, savvy manufacturers immediately search for a solution.

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December 14, 2016 at 11:22 AM

Manage Change on the Shop Floor with Manufacturing Software

With any software system, there’s a balancing act between flexibility and standardization.  Where flexible solutions give you agility, standardization is sustainably repeatable.  You need both in a system for your shop floor. 

Manufacturing utilizes negotiable and non-negotiable rules to manage work and deliver repeatable processes.  Enterprise software solutions need to support these processes and change the “negotiable” rules where it is necessary.

A recent visit to a small airport showed the importance of accommodating change.

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October 27, 2016 at 3:19 PM

Simple versus Simplicity: The MES App Conundrum

Some manufacturers latch onto solutions that never really address the core problems facing production.

A few weeks ago I sat through a demo of a new shop floor manufacturing app.

The marketing pitch seemed promising. Rather than charging for hardware and functionality you don’t really need, the app offered access to a cloud manufacturing solution built for production. For a single low cost, you could, “harness the power of the cloud...”

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September 27, 2016 at 9:19 PM

Managing the Speed of Change in Manufacturing

Manufacturers are continually looking for ways to improve, but are reluctant to actually embrace change, leading many businesses to become stuck in a vicious planning cycle.

Not long ago, I spoke to a Quality Manager at a job shop about Paperless Manufacturing. He loved our software, and recognized it could solve his problems and improve production, but he wasn’t sure if they would implement. “We know we have to do something,” he said. “But, I don’t know if we’re ready to change.”

It’s a line I’ve heard too many times.

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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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September 13, 2016 at 9:49 AM

5 Benefits of Simplicity for Paperless Manufacturing

Technology doesn’t have to be complex, no matter what some manufacturing software suppliers tell you.

There’s a conundrum in the perception of simplicity in manufacturing software.

Software that is too complex – the kind that requires 12 clicks to complete a simple function, and has a user interface that looks like a science fiction movie vomited on the screen, will not improve production. Most of us can agree on that. The complex system may offer some benefit, but system users spend more time serving the needs of the software than on production.

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