June 21, 2018 at 2:30 PM

What to Consider When Selecting a Manufacturing Software Vendor

In this day and age, customer service and reputable businesses are getting harder to find. There is more to the sustainability of a software system than just the promised functionality. In fact, a system is only as good as the support and the reputation of the company that maintains it.

It is critical to find a vendor that proves they are trustworthy, knowledgeable and collaborative. 

 

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June 14, 2018 at 11:45 AM

The 5 Reasons Why Everyone Hates Manufacturing Software

No one enjoys researching shop floor systems. You have plenty of other responsibilities on your plate and frankly, you didn’t get into manufacturing to browse software recommendation websites.

We’ve compiled the 5 most common reasons people hate researching manufacturing software, the red flags to avoid and recommendations for success.

 

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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 1, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Manufacturer’s Guide to Software Implementation

In a recent survey, Automation World and ARC Advisory found that MES systems were critical to compliance, cost reduction and profitability. They go on to talk about the importance of implementation. While that seems obvious, implementation is sometimes the last thing that prospects talk to us about. Implementation should be discussed early in the vendor selection process as it may be the single most over-looked and critical project requirement.

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November 29, 2016 at 9:41 AM

How to Successfully Replace Manufacturing Software

There are manufacturers out there struggling with outdated and inefficient legacy software systems supporting production.

Shop floor managers call us for help with these outdated systems – an Access database created long ago by a retired employee, or a piece of manufacturing software so old, it’s impossible to update and sits on a dilapidated server held together by rubber bands and prayers.

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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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October 4, 2016 at 4:15 PM

Unravelling the Truth of Manufacturing Software Implementations

Software companies are quick to make claims about their implementation process, but the answers often lead to more confusion than actionable information.

What’s a reasonable schedule for an MES or Paperless Manufacturing system implementation?

When I started in this business (years ago), two years was average. Anyone who claimed to implement a full system, configured for the customer, in less than a year was either fudging the truth or delusional.

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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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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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May 24, 2016 at 11:26 AM

6 Tips for Forecasting an ROI for MES

Assessing the potential ROI for an MES is difficult, but you can improve results by recognizing risk factors that will negatively impact the overall return.


Forecasting the ROI for an MES is a critical step for any company investigating manufacturing software. While identifying a nice, round number that will make the accountants feel good is the ultimate goal, its exceedingly difficult before the MES has been implemented. An MES potentially impacts all areas of the manufacturing value chain, and with so many factors any estimate becomes more conjecture than science.

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May 17, 2016 at 10:06 AM

Why Do MES Implementations Fail, and What You Can Do

An MES Implementation can be a high-risk project, but there are steps you can take to minimize risk and improve success.

Companies may not talk about it, but there are MES and manufacturing software implementations that fail. There is risk with any major software implementation. ERP and PLM implementations will sometimes fail (even more than MES), and while there is no magic formula for implementation success, you’re not helpless against trouble.  There’s no magic 12-step process for every project, but there are warning signs savvy manufacturers can use to avoid trouble, and steps you can take to help protect your company.

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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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April 5, 2016 at 9:59 AM

Delivering Solutions with a Data Migration Engine

Quantum's Data Migration Engine gives companies a reliable and safe tool to transfer their critical data and content from one system to another.

Our goal with the CIMx Data Migration Engine is to give companies a reliable, safe, and cost-effective way to move their data and content. Fear of lost data shouldn’t be a reason why a business clings to outdated, unreliable and inefficient software systems.

Unfortunately, moving data is a burden for many companies updating their internal software systems – a very expensive burden that can lead to future problems if it’s not done right.

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July 16, 2015 at 12:17 PM

Easy Solutions to Legacy Software for Manufacturing

Many companies cling to dusty, inefficient software, hindering production and holding back shop floor growth. In a few simple steps, you can move your shop floor to a sustainable, modern software solution.

Legacy software.

We’ve seen companies struggle with old, dusty, inefficient and unproductive software systems written years ago in an outdated software language, and kept on hardware that can’t even be replaced. IT resources are tasked with keeping the system working, but the best they can do is minimize outages. Many times, the system may be used for a single function – to create a single critical report or capture critical manufacturing data, and then all of production becomes beholden to the single, fragile and temperamental piece of software.

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