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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June 30, 2015 at 5:39 AM

Paperless Manufacturing and Procrastination

You may not realize it, but many companies procrastinate away profit and production. We offer easy-to-use tips for eliminating tech-procrastination. 

 

In the book “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength” by John Tierney and Roy Baumeister, Tierney and Baumeister discuss how to set realistic goals, monitor progress, pick your battles, and look beyond immediate challenges.  Studies show, by doing these things you will decrease stress and increase your personal energy and health. 

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June 10, 2015 at 5:35 AM

Do You Need a Two Comma MES?

Some companies throw money away for software that will never do what they need, not knowing a better solution is available without gutting your profits.

 

I love the show Silicon Valley on HBO. It’s raw, open and makes fun of the software industry. Even with the absurd situations and characters, I recognize a grain of truth. There are times I cringe – some humor is misplaced, the language can be foul, and there are inappropriate things happening all the time. Yet, even when the show seems to make no sense at all, (like, why you would be obsessed with sesame seeds on burgers from “The Bur-gur King”?) I recognize… something true. It’s this recognition of reality in absurdity that makes Silicon Valley so entertaining.

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February 17, 2015 at 4:11 AM

What Is the Foundation of Your Paperless Manufacturing Solution?

Position your shop floor for success by identifying and focusing on the key priorities in a potential manufacturing software solution.

 

Last week, we wrote a blog about the Myths and Legends of MES and Paperless Manufacturing, and afterward, we learned one surprising fact – people love their requirement lists. Many argued the requirement list has to be the primary tool in selecting a solution. I can understand that. For some, the requirement list is the first step in the project. You need to know the scope of the project before you start planning, and the requirement list is a good way to start. It’s also an excellent way to build a business case for the project and justify the expense (and, let’s be honest, a four item list is not nearly as convincing as a 200 item list).

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August 12, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Pushing the Envelope with MES and Paperless Manufacturing

Want to get the most out of your paperless manufacturing system? Evaluate the push technology in your system using a few simple tips.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

In manufacturing, a few seconds can mean the difference between success and scrap.  A single error can snowball and lead to missed shipping deadlines, lost profit and angry customers.  Consistency and repeatable processes is the key to success, while complexity leads to errors, waste and worse.

Push technology systems, which automatically deliver contextually relevant data to the shop floor user, and have significant benefits for manufacturers.  Despite this, many companies still rely on less efficient pull technology systems for their MES and paperless manufacturing.  Pull systems require the user to request the data each time, adding complexity and introducing opportunities for errors.

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July 23, 2014 at 4:38 AM

6 Ways Paperless Manufacturing Can Help Your Shop Floor

Paperless Manufacturing Systems can Quickly and Easily Deliver Even More Benefits Than You May Think

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software


Many companies begin researching Paperless Manufacturing to solve a single problem. Depending on the problem, Paperless Manufacturing likely holds the solution. No other shop floor investment addresses so many of the challenges manufacturing faces.  Which is why manufacturing firms spent more than $5 Billion on MES and paperless manufacturing solutions in 2013, and estimates predict the MES market will expand more than 20% annually.

But, a powerful and capable Paperless Manufacturing system offers more than just a single solution or capability.  With the right system, you have workflow control and complete shop floor visibility.  As you consider a system for your shop floor, take a look at the six capabilities that provide the foundation of any paperless system.

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July 16, 2014 at 8:24 AM

Understand (and Increasing) the ROI of your MES

Many companies wonder where the inflection point will be for their paperless manufacturing project. Let us show you how you can design a project that gives you control of your ROI.

 

By Kristin McLane, President of CIMx Software

I spoke to a group of prospects about the inflection point in an ROI – the point where project costs (in licensing, services, training, support, and internal resources) equal the cost savings generated by the paperless manufacturing system. As we talked, I realized there are many misconceptions about ROI, misconceptions that lead to more frustration than certainty.

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July 1, 2014 at 8:19 AM

The Land of Paperless Manufacturing

The beginning adventures of a stranger discovering the world of paperless manufacturing.

By Lisa Kessler, Product Support with CIMx Software

The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies. The mystifying, bewildering, moment when Dorothy lands in Oz fascinates me – discovering the world is much larger, more amazing and more magical than you thought. I find myself relating to that moment – not only because my short frame makes me feel like a munchkin, but because I’ve landed in the magical land of paperless manufacturing.

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May 15, 2014 at 7:29 AM

You Can Build a Business Case for an MES

Many manufacturers understand the benefit of an MES for their shop floor operations, but struggle to build a case for implementation. We offer three tips for building a convincing case for MES.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Ever try to convince a 3 year-old to eat vegetables?

Most times, you explore tactics looking for one that works. You start with logic (“It’s good for you!”). Then you try threats (“Eat those peas, now!”) before moving on to bartering (“We’ll eat dessert if you try the peas.) Finally, other strategies are considered, like reverse psychology (“I figured you wouldn’t eat the good peas,”) identification, (“Dora likes to eat peas,”) to pure insanity (“Tater tots are SO lonely in your belly, can they play with peas?”). The negotiation continues until you find the strategy that works… and many times it never does.

Unfortunately, for many shop floors, building a case study for MES resembles convincing a 3-year old to eat peas. The MES team knows there is a problem (more than likely, many problems). They need to present a convincing case study, but aren’t sure how to start. The team will try everything to build a case, creating a mess that does more to confuse than convince.

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April 23, 2014 at 6:57 AM

Uncovering the Real Benefits of MES and Paperless Manufacturing

Curious to know the real benefits of MES, we asked a shop floor production team what the top benefits of the system were one month after their successful rollout.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Ever read a press release about an MES implementation project and marveled at the carefully worded quotes? Full of buzzwords like, “synergistically,” or “significantly reduced (or increased)” and “comprehensively,” each press release reads like a carefully scripted marketing piece – only the names are changed.

Let’s be honest, you don’t read a press release for the truth. The Vice President of What-everness quoted in the press release isn’t the one using the system, he’s following the script and looking at a report someone prepared for him.

Not long ago, we implemented a complete MES and Paperless Manufacturing system for a customer. To help meet new FDA regulations, they needed the complete solution installed and implemented across their production lines in less than 4 months. To uncover the “true” story regarding the benefits of MES and paperless manufacturing, we asked the shop floor production team what they thought about the software. How is it making their life easier, their work better, and benefiting their operation? Here are the “top” benefits they identified one month after the successful rollout:

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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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November 20, 2013 at 5:20 AM

Making Technology Work for Manufacturing

A few simple tips will help ensure your shop floor benefits from the next technology upgrade.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software


Manufacturing and technology have always had a… curious relationship.  At CIMx Software, we work at the intersection of technology and manufacturing, and it’s interesting to see how the relationship has developed.

Technology needs manufacturing.  Without the support of a strong manufacturing base, and manufacturers willing to innovate, the latest technology won’t be available for the masses.  For example, most of us would still be riding horses if it weren’t for the manufacturing innovation of Henry Ford.

Manufacturing needs technology.  Manufacturing innovation is based on technology.  3D printing and additive manufacturing, mobile technology, paperless manufacturing and robotics are driving the latest advances in manufacturing.  To stay competitive and to lead the industry, manufacturers must embrace technology.

But, that’s not always what happens.  Some manufacturers are skeptical of technology.  Many times, that skepticism isn’t far from outright fear or loathing, and with good reason.   Even when the new technology is understood, its effect on the shop floor (after all… production must continue) may not be understood.  The cost of implementing the technology may lead to an ROI that will never be achieved.  It’s become a truth in the manufacturing industry – new technology holds both tremendous promise and tremendous risk.  A wrong decision can be ruinous.

We’ve seen technology implementations work in manufacturing, and we’ve seen them fail.  Here’s a few questions we’ve learned you should ask as you consider how your business will innovate:

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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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October 15, 2013 at 5:06 AM

A Simple Solution to Shop Floor Struggles

For anyone who wonders if paperless manufacturing is a viable solution to their shop floor troubles, a lesson in social history provides the answer.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software 

A few months ago, I spent some time at a bed and breakfast deep in the Appalachian Mountains – far from the urban sprawl.  There was one power line; phone access consisted of a satellite phone and a single cliff was the only location with decent cell reception.
 
The first night was nice.  The scenery was gorgeous and the quiet serenity absolutely relaxing.  The next day was… disconcerting.  With only one TV, most of the news came via a morning paper.  It felt old and outdated.  There was no internet access, no cell reception, and no way to touch the world or even reliably communicate.

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September 12, 2013 at 9:22 AM

How Do You Steer the Shop Floor? The Difference Between MES and ERP

Struggling to understand how an MES and Paperless Manufacturing will help your shop floor? Look no further than a parking lot for an easy-to-understand answer.

By Kristin McLane, President of CIMx Software

We often turn to the familiar for help explaining the unfamiliar. This is why we often use the line, “It tastes like chicken,” when struggling to describe a new food. We know chicken, and it creates a comfortable, easily relatable connection.

Easy-to-understand definition of ERP and MES
This may be why so many of us see an ERP and MES system as interchangeable, never seeing the critical difference between the two. An ERP is familiar. We understand ERP – accounting, payroll, billing and records. MES is the shop floor, the heart of manufacturing that can be a confusing hurricane of machines, tools, processes and materials. We turn to the familiar and make a connection (maybe even sub-consciously) between ERP and MES. The roles and systems become mixed in our mind.

But it doesn’t work that way, and trying to force an ERP to do the work of an MES usually has a negative impact on your business. I’m going to take a different approach this time, and turn to the familiar to explain the difference…

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