At the end of each year, we talk about trends in manufacturing. We hope to bring into focus for you the things that have happened over the last year that may impact you in the future. This year, we’re going to do this in several parts, and, today, we’re focused on what we’ve actually heard you say this last year.



Quite simply, we’ve been doing this for almost 27 years. Manufacturing software is similar to manufacturing itself in so many ways. Any good Manufacturing Execution System (MES) or Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) software system out there has enough different functions that you cannot demonstrate them in an hour or more. There are many tools that manufacturers become reliant on in those platforms and some that those same companies will just never use or discover. Information flows from one thing to the next. You simply cannot take one area (say, inventory, as we’ll be discussing it in depth here) and extract it from everything else.

It's rare that, in an industry that needs to be flexible enough to handle all of that, we see a pattern of requests. Every manufacturer has a different problem to solve. Whether it’s control over one or more processes, establishing those processes and procedures, or recording scrap, each manufacturer we talk to has something driving their decision to use a digital tool in manufacturing for the first time.

This year has been different.

For the first time in 27 years, we see a pattern in almost every single person that we are engaged with.  And that's unusual.


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There are two really. The top two issues on everyone’s mind – whether they are mid-tier, a tier-1 supplier to the Fortune 50, or a 15-person shop – that have been consistent the entire year. Everyone wanted inventory control (and I mean real-time) and a reliable production schedule. Whether you are in the camp where the supply chain is repairing itself or still broken, we talk to you constantly about issues with inventory.

  • Do you have enough inventory to cover current work-in-process (WIP)?
  • How much inventory should you carry to ensure that you can keep up?
  • Where is my inventory?
  • How long does it take you to get raw materials and parts in?
  • How much does my inventory cost me? And, are you making any money on the orders that use it? This one has been especially critical for those of you that must purchase commodities that have fluctuated wildly in price.
  • Are you using your most expensive inventory first?
  • How about your oldest?

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Do you know the current state of inventory? That could mean the products you make and sell or the raw materials and parts you purchase to use in production. You could also make your own parts that you stock and use later in production. Where is it and where are you using it?

If you read the global diaries of CEOs or listen to the economic community, it seems that a dip in the market is coming. Some call it a correction; some a recession. I’m a person that likes to be prepared for either. I want to make sure that we, as a business, can make the corrections that are required as our market shifts and changes.

The same is likely true for you. Inventory is one of the easiest ways I know to control costs. If you were to keep stocks of parts, subassemblies, kits, crates, pallets, and boxes at the absolute minimum you need plus a small overage, you could manage your cash flow tighter. And, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all these years, it’s that cash flow is king. Moving your cash by just one point can cascade into additional savings all the way down the line.


From what we’ve seen this year, inventory management, analysis and control is something that’s here to stay. Even if the economy were to be flush again, many people have learned the easy lessons of keeping tight inventory controls. It’s an elementary way to earn back money, save precious cash and keep your books cleaner. Across your organization, it allows you to streamline work, storage, and reporting.

Have you considered the market out there for the items you have in inventory that you no longer need? A true inventory control platform could show you where those items are, how much you have invested in them and predict whether you will need them in the near-term. I’ve not seen a book on Marie Kondo-ing manufacturing inventory but that does not mean that one does not deserve to exist.




Next week, we dive into Production Scheduling and then we’ll bring it all together with some new year resolutions you can make to move forward as a more aligned and profitable manufacturer.

Interested in getting tighter control of your inventory? Increased flexibility in your scheduling? Ask us at Or better yet, schedule a demo or move even faster towards Complete Production Control with a Process Gap Analysis of your shop. You decide, and we look forward to meeting you.

Contact CIMx Software to see how a Manufacturing Execution System can improve production control for you.


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