August 20, 2019 at 9:00 AM

Curiosity in Manufacturing

As people, we are inherently curious.  Even as we age, that yearning for something new causes us to travel, meet new people, maybe even wander a bit.  Curiosity is a part of human nature.  We all read studies (and see the evidence) of how curious children are when they are born.  We also see the results of traditional educational models in curiosity.  Driving children to conform to a single norm of sitting in straight-line desks and file in lines works for teachers in that in helps to control the chaos of the classroom, but if you were like me and many other entrepreneurs, conforming naturally bucked the curiosity you felt about issues that weren’t on the schedule for the teacher today. 

In a recent Harvard Business Review article on Why Curiosity Matters, Francesco Gina explores curiosity and its results on business specifically.  While most breakthroughs come from curiosity, she cites all the ways that business kill it in their workers.  Critical to this center of thinking is the notion that “it will increase risk and inefficiency.” 

Ms. Gina lays out the benefits of curiosity in work.  Confirmation bias is first on the list.  We’ve talked about this before.  Expecting what you’ll see and seeing it, whether it’s there or not.  This shows up in manufacturing all the time.  We hear it called “tribal knowledge.”  Many companies tell us that their workforce just “knows what to do.”   That only works if you never want to change how they do it. 

In training your workers to “just know,” you are eliminating the possibility of anything new.  My mind immediately goes back to the days of early automation.  Whether that conjures a picture of Lucy trying to wrap chocolates on an assembly line in “I Love Lucy” or assembly workers at the early days of Ford, this is not the way work is done today.  In the era of click and swipe, no one wants to do a job the same way all the time. 

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July 30, 2019 at 9:00 AM

Why Pictures Matter in Manufacturing

Pictures solidify messages.  Science tells us that we forget most of what we read.  (This doesn’t speak well to what you might remember about this blog, so be sure to come back and read it again.)  We remember context.  That could be the place you were when something happened.  Smells.  Visual elements of the world around you.  The writing on the page. 

The last time that you went to a bookstore (you have been to one recently, yes?), do you remember picking up a book because you liked its cover?  Maybe a magazine’s front picture drew you in?  These are images that recalled something in your mind.  They caused you to have an emotion which made you lean in.  If you opened the book, do you remember liking the text, the way it looked on the page?  Or not?

These emotions related to what you see help you to remember the content as well.  Without a connection between seeing something and an emotion, chances of you remembering it shrink drastically.  Studies (and Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience) show that 10% of people remember what they read but 90% of what they do. 

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August 17, 2018 at 9:50 AM

The Margin Wars

How to Succeed in Global Manufacturing

Let’s be frank, most of your customers can’t tell the difference between your plant and the next job shop on their vendor list. You may have the best machinery, the most skilled operators and a spotless reputation, but all they really care about are the big three: quality, turnaround-time and price.

It’s frustrating, illogical and unfair; but it’s the world we sell in.

To stay competitive in manufacturing your shop needs to become the go-to supplier for every run. This means guaranteeing delivery dates, eliminating turnbacks and producing the same work with fewer resources than your competitors.

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August 9, 2018 at 2:30 PM

Turning Manufacturing Audits into Profit

 Audits can either cost you money or make you money. The choice is yours.

In the manufacturing industry, audits are the key factor in determining a company’s continued growth or imminent decline. Audits quantify the success of your team’s efforts by ensuring your shop is up to snuff in every stage of production.

However, the stress and time invested into filing frequent audits can weigh on your team, slowing down production and negatively impacting your bottom line.

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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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June 7, 2018 at 2:55 PM

The 9 Most Common Manufacturing Symptoms, and How to Cure Them

When looking for a solution to manufacturing problems, it’s important that you find the cure rather than just treating the symptoms.

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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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July 12, 2016 at 1:53 PM

What Does Paperless Manufacturing Mean for You?

In the world of manufacturing software, there are many who aren't sure of the difference between Paperless Manufacturing and MES, and they’re missing out on opportunities.

You can call any manufacturing process that doesn’t use paper Paperless Manufacturing, but there is context far beyond that (and advantages for savvy manufacturers).  Some believe it’s just another name for a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) or Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) system, and others think it is a subset of a master MES or MOM.  To understand what Paperless Manufacturing is and how it can help, you need to understand the history of manufacturing software.

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July 5, 2016 at 11:00 AM

How to Manage the Smart Manufacturing Revolution

For companies still reluctant to change in the face of the next industrial revolution, there are simple strategies you can take to position your company for success.

There’s a famous quote by Albert Einstein that has particular relevance to modern manufacturing – “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

The convergence of Information Technology (IT) and Operations Technology (OT) is having a profound effect on manufacturing. The days when IT resources could get by without ever having stepped on a shop floor are gone. Operations can no longer refuse to put another “damn computer” on a work center or refuse to look at new technology.

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June 28, 2016 at 11:00 AM

What Tesla Teaches You about MES

The software sales process has never been customer-centric, but that may be changing.

Researching and buying software is a horrible job. 

When you buy a commodity, many rely on the “seeing-is-believing” methodology.  Until you can hold a product in your hand, feel and use it, see it in action, the buyer will be reluctant to let go of their money.

Have you ever tried to hold software in your hand? Can you imagine “trying-out” an MES without training or an implementation?  Software is already one of the most challenging things to sell, and MES even more challenging. 

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May 10, 2016 at 8:30 AM

What is Paperless Manufacturing?

Many companies ask us about paperless manufacturing and how it fits with other systems. Here’s our response.

When discussing manufacturing software, there is no end to the acronyms that can be applied to the products on the market – MES, QMS, ERP, PLM, MRP, and on and on…

One question we often get is about paperless manufacturing – how does it fit into the confusing gamut of shop floor software systems? The answer requires a little insight into CIMx’s history.

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March 15, 2016 at 11:26 AM

6 Reasons to Invest in Paperless Manufacturing in 2016

For companies waiting to invest in manufacturing software, now is the perfect time to stop waiting and start benefiting in a shop floor system.

In more than 20 years of providing manufacturing software solutions, we have heard plenty of excuses why companies hold off on an improvement project.

Some companies would rather focus on another project, or IT wants to look at a few more options, or management wants to see if the market will turn before adding another capital project. In the meantime, they throw money away and hope to get by rather than address the root cause of their production problems.

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December 1, 2015 at 4:00 AM

Say Goodbye to “MES Fear” in the New Year

Many companies play a waiting game with their shop floor improvements, letting profit and opportunity slip through their fingers. 

Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”  As 2016 swiftly approaches many of us are considering the New Year’s resolutions we plan to make (and break) come January.
 
These resolutions are often personal – lose weight, quit smoking, and spend less time on Facebook and more time with family.  But what if we focused on a resolution to improve our business? What if we resolved to eliminate the fear of change?

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July 29, 2015 at 5:28 AM

Paperless Manufacturing Made Simple

Many people are reluctant to investigate MES because they think it’s difficult to use, and their shop floor can’t manage the complexity. Truth is, paperless manufacturing is even easier to use than paper-based systems.

 

The other day I sat through a product demo for a document management system. The software promised, “Instant cloud access to all your most important documents, and collaboration tools to improve productivity.”

That sounds good to me. I like instant access, and collaboration is always welcome. Improving productivity sounds even better!

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