January 6, 2016 at 3:14 AM

5 Steps to Assessing Your Digital Manufacturing Strategy for 2016

Experts agree a digital manufacturing strategy is a critical component to success moving forward. We offer tips on crafting a successful strategy for your shop floor in 2016.

Experts agree 2016 will be a year of change for manufacturers. The actions companies take now will have a dramatic impact on the success, or failure, of their business in the future.

Manufacturing thrives on data and information. Digital Manufacturing uses data and technology to empower and improve production outcomes through seamless communication across the organization, and workflows supported by timely and accurate digital information. IDC (International Data Corporation), an intelligence and analysis firm for the IT and consumer technology market, predicts 20% of manufacturing companies will import IT resources in 2016 for a digital manufacturing strategy.

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September 17, 2015 at 4:57 AM

An Easy First Step toward MES and Paperless Manufacturing

Companies struggle with the decision to implement MES. We remove the fear with a simple first step any manufacturer can take, offering both an ROI and real benefit.

With the advent of data-driven manufacturing and Industry 4.0, many manufacturers are looking at MES and paperless manufacturing. The problem is some are just looking. They see the benefits, but they worry about the risk or the cost, or they fear the new technology will hinder productive work for an unknown benefit. For these companies, it’s better to deal with the problems they know than take a risk on paperless manufacturing and MES.

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July 9, 2015 at 5:32 AM

How You Can Get Real Value for Your MES

Time and technology have changed, but many software companies are still selling dated manufacturing solutions. Get more value from your MES with a few simple tips.

 

We’ve gotten a lot of comments on our Two-Comma MES blog. Some agree the benefit of some MES may never justify an (extreme) two-comma cost. Others are quick to defend the high-cost, arguing a world-class manufacturing software system will have a world-class price. If you cut corners on your MES, and install a “cheap” software solution, you cut corners on productivity – the profit-driver for manufacturers.

There’s truth in both positions, and there isn’t an “optimal” price for manufacturing software. That said, times have changed, and the MES of the past no longer offer the value (even if slick marketing is hiding the creaking old code of some systems) they once did. We need to change how we approach the MES purchasing process.

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January 14, 2015 at 5:53 AM

The Most Critical Factor in a Successful MES Implementation

After more than 18 years of offering shop floor software solutions to manufacturers, we’ve gained insight into one surprising factor that can lead a project to success or failure.

I was once asked to name the one factor that would make a difference in the success or failure of an MES or paperless manufacturing implementation. I pushed to think outside of the box, but first considered many of the standard, and legitimate, factors that contribute to project success such as…

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December 10, 2014 at 4:22 AM

Benefits of Agile to your Paperless Manufacturing Implementation

Customers often ask us how we can ensure the accuracy of our project estimates and budgets. Our answer is simple – Agile.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

The other day, I came across an online ad citing a product as the “most widely-used” in the industry, helping create “Lean benchmarks” that turn “data into action.”  It sounds nice, with pretty keywords, but, to be honest, I don’t really know what any of that means.

This is the problem with much of the marketing-talk out there.  I don’t care if you are “Lean-enabled” or your company is “widely-regarded” or “a leader in manufacturing technology.”  I want to know what you are going to do for me if I use your product.

For example… CIMx is an Agile enterprise.   Through Agile, we are more efficient, flexible, scalable, proactive and adaptable.  We are a more reliable and predictable supplier because we are Agile – it’s how we can get more done with a higher quality in less time and fewer resources, but throwing out terms like “agile-enterprise” or business agility” isn’t customer-oriented, and doesn’t explain the benefit.  It’s all about us, and not our customer.
Let’s take a look at what Agile means to the CIMx customer:

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December 4, 2014 at 6:21 AM

5 Truths to Shatter the “Too Big to Fail” MES Myth

Many companies seek out the biggest MES vendor, believing it is the “best” option for their manufacturing software.  That decision is often the biggest obstacle in project success.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

We’ve all heard about banks and financial institutions that are simply, “too big to fail.”  The reasoning – we’ve based so much of our financial well-being on the success of the company, failure would negatively and irrevocably impact the global market.

This same reasoning drives many companies to seek manufacturing software solutions from the biggest vendor they can find.  Size becomes the driving factor in the selection process, while every other factor, such as shop floor needs, ROI, or production benefit, becomes a secondary consideration.   The unfortunate result – many companies come to regret their decision and end up with a less than adequate and entirely over-priced solution.  Truth is, many times with MES a solution is too big to succeed.  Consider these factors:

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August 5, 2014 at 8:34 AM

What do we mean by “Off-the-Shelf” Paperless Manufacturing?

For manufacturers searching for an Off-the-Shelf (OTS) software solution for the shop floor, but the truth is, you may be surprised what OTS for different vendors.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

It’s easy to see why an Off-the-Shelf (OTS) paperless manufacturing software is an appealing option for manufacturers.

Custom software solutions may be designed specifically for your shop, but it’s expensive – both in money and resources. Upgrades and changes will be equally expensive. Systems take years to build, and are risky. Many projects never even make it to the shop floor.

An OTS system costs a fraction of a custom system, and can be installed and working in significantly less time. Most OTS systems offer more functionality and an upgrade path, and are supported by the software vendor. It’s less risky, and project success is easier to achieve.

Researching OTS solutions on the market will quickly reveal a strange truth. Some companies say they are OTS because they use a library of “modules.” They design a solution using modules to shave a few months off the implementation. Other vendors purchase a company (or three), and mix and match functionality to create a Frankenstein-like solution. Perhaps OTS means they use old code (you know… code written 15-20 years ago) for the foundation of your new solution, then customize the rest. Some call this “custom off-the-shelf,” as if they have discovered a magic bean offering you the best of both worlds.

To alleviate doubt and questions you might have, here’s some of what you’ll find in our off-the-shelf solution:

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June 4, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Secrets of Saving Money with Your MES Purchase

Follow these tips to avoid out-of-control MES and Paperless Manufacturing software costs, and save money while solving shop floor problems.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Purchasing an MES or paperless manufacturing system shouldn’t be stressful.  A vendor should offer an honest price upfront, and be able to deliver value and functionality at a reasonable price.  But, that’s not how the process usually works.  These 6 simple tips help ensure you have the shop floor software system you need at a price you can afford.

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April 16, 2014 at 4:26 AM

When Is the Right Time to Install Paperless Manufacturing?

Too often, the benefits and ROI of shop floor improvement projects are lost as projects are delayed or postponed.  Learn how to maximize your benefit and discover the best time to install your system.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Many manufacturers see the advantages of MES and paperless manufacturing, but struggle with the final decision to implement the system.  The process becomes a waiting game, where the implementation team knows something needs to be done, but they delay waiting for the “right” time or some confirmation or signal (a planetary or astrology alignment, perhaps?).  Sometimes it’s a budget or resource concern (when will IT have time to help, or when will Procurement be ready to release the purchase order), but other times, it’s indecision or doubt that the operation is really ready… or maybe it is some mysterious omen everyone is waiting for?

This sounds silly, but the truth is while you wait, shop floor problems continue.  Profit is lost, quality is sacrificed and production struggles during this period.

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April 9, 2014 at 5:22 AM

How to Win With a Manufacturing Shop Floor Pilot Program

Conducting a Pilot Program for your MES or Paperless Manufacturing system won’t guarantee project success, but there are clear benefits for the savvy shop floor. 

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software 

Ever talk to someone in the manufacturing industry about a software pilot program?  Unfortunately, I don’t know of a topic more likely to kill a conversation at a dinner party (… “So, how’s your pilot program going?  Pass the biscuits, please!)  If it does happen to come up, you will quickly discover something we’ve come to accept.
 
We call it the Shop Floor Pilot Program Conundrum – a strange place where multiple realities merge.
 
Here’s what I mean.  The vendor might see the pilot program as an extended demo, or as an easy way to get their foot on the shop floor and another step in the software sale.  The manufacturing executive sees it as an inexpensive vendor service and low risk way to confirm product selection.  The shop floor sees it as a pain-in-the-butt project from corporate.  Savvy shop floors, however, see it as a way to kick the wheels of a new toy and proof that while the sky is falling, and shop floor errors can be fixed with the right tools.  IT might be wondering how much work this will mean for them.  

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March 12, 2014 at 6:31 AM

Discover the Truth of MES Implementations

We offer a few simple tips that can help you discover the truth in the “implementation” claims in the MES and Paperless Manufacturing Market.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Have you ever tried to implement desert-time with a clever and determined five-year old and his sweet-tooth? The other day, I was wrapping up dinner at a friend’s house. His son wanted dessert – a cookie. I told him to pick out a “small-one,” and he came back with an entire plate full of broken cookies and a mouth already covered in crumbs. “What happened to picking out a small one?” I asked.

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October 29, 2013 at 5:13 AM

What Do You Do When Fear is Holding Your Shop Floor Hostage?

This time of year, when ghost and ghouls are top of mind, it’s a good time to look at the fears that hold so many manufacturers back from taking the next step to improve their operations with paperless manufacturing.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

We all have fears.  Mine is mice and rats.  I saw a mouse once run across my kitchen floor once and almost run into my foot.  After that, I refused to go back in the kitchen for a week or more.  It sounds silly, I know.  But fear makes us do crazy things and ends up holding us back.  It’s like this weight we can’t drop, even when we know it is completely unreasonable.
 
Many times, fear holds a shop floor back from embracing a solution they know will fix the problems facing them.   Businesses sacrifice success because they embrace fear.  Maximizing production, improving operations, innovation, increased quality, reduced scrap, and schedule reliability all sound good, but there are times it’s simply not enough to overcome fear.

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July 24, 2013 at 6:11 AM

Making Christmas in July Work for your Shop Floor

The strategic decisions you make in the summer downtime help maximize profits when business picks up later in the year – here’s how to make Christmas in July work for you.

By Kristin McLane, President of CIMx Software

Have you noticed organizations advertising Christmas in July?  It’s hard to think snowmen and caroling in the summer heat, but my church is bringing the Holiday Spirit to the sweltering heat of summer with a Christmas in July campaign.

This Christmas in July push isn’t celebrating the shopping crush, holiday family stress, or the joys of eating too much and passing out on the couch.  It’s about giving to organizations that normally see donations only at the end of the year.  This is the time of year (summer) many non-profits see their resources dwindle and stores deplete.

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