3 min read

Truth in Advertising, Truth in Manufacturing?

Truth in Advertising, Truth in Manufacturing?

I’m a person that does a fair amount of research into companies before I buy something. I want to know that someone I’m going to do business with has my back. That can mean different things for me depending on the type of item I’m purchasing but, in general, I want to know the person across the table. What process do you go through when you’re making a substantial purchase?


Our customers have the same discerning attitude towards purchasing. These are people driven to solve a particular problem or set of problems and they want us and our product to help them do it. While they’re getting to know us, we’re getting to know them. We want to know what they make, how they do it, and what challenges they know they have. Often, we find that we can add to the list of items.

For instance, when someone tells me that they have to do inventory counts periodically to “true up” the inventory in their ERP, I know that, often, they also have production schedule issues. Your schedule just cannot be smooth if you don’t have enough inventory for the work you have to do where you need it. On the opposite side of that coin, if you know that you are never short on inventory, I might assume you have an over-abundance and thus a profitability issue. I want to know how often you turn each item and whether or not you know when you have to order and how much.


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where is there truth on your shop floor?

There’s a saying that goes “the proof is in the pudding.” It comes from an early 14th-century expression: “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Now, in America, pudding is a dessert, often cold and whipped. In Britain, however, pudding is a meat dish; it is often a combination of meats ground down and boiled or steamed in a casing.

Today, the word proof means to show something to be true. I know this from Geometry, where we had to do proofs to show whether a mathematical statement was true or not true. Back in the 14th century, however, to prove something meant to test it. And, if I were going to eat a sausage dish back then, before the age of refrigeration, I was certainly going to test it.

All that history aside, to find the “truth” on your shop floor, should you follow the expression and test it? And, more specifically, what would you test?


inventory truth

I’d start with inventory. While inventory is not often the problem, it can often point to the source of it. For instance, if you ask the question “if I look at the most expensive item in our inventory, how much should we have on hand at any given time?” you should find out an upper (and lower) threshold to keep on hand. Without the right resources, however, this answer is almost impossible to calculate. The issues that you might see with incorrect or missing thresholds are things like shortages at workstations, missing inventory, and even operators subbing out some materials for others where you should not allow it.


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scheduling truth

Even worse than inventory, scheduling is a nightmare if you don’t have the resources and information you need when you require it. Unless you are the only person making the schedule and everything goes according to your plan, it’s likely that you’ll be writing and re-writing that schedule long into the day as things unravel. So the schedule may start out as the truth for the day, but by noontime, that is often long-forgotten and the only truth is what’s happening and, quite frankly, you may not even know what that is.


order truth

Your customers give you an order for one or more than one of your products. Yay. What’s next? Well, if you have to make it, you’re going to find or put aside (it’s actually quite difficult to reserve inventory) the materials and tools you need to do the work, get it to the right place in the shop (right person, right machine, right time). For us, order truth is all about whether you can make an accurate promised delivery date to your customer. And keep it. You also need to be able to promise your company that you can make these goods and ship them at a profit because you cannot stay in business if you’re not making money. The number of items you need to balance to do this is large – inventory, people, machines, tools, materials, time, money, instructions, and data just to start.


how do you get to truth?

You know that you need control over every bit of your shop to know what’s going on. Or is it that you need to know everything that’s going on to get control over your shop? For us, control gives you everything you need. Production control gives you order control. Process control delivers the ability to run work when it’s going right and wrong. Inventory control reduces the money that you invest in items stacked on shelves. I could go on with all the areas that you want or need control over in your shop to be able to predict how you’re going to do this year and into the future.

Want to know more about how to get there? Schedule a demo. Or, contact us at info@cimx.com with your questions.

Anxious to move forward faster? Ask for a Process Gap Analysis of your shop. Whatever works for you, we are here to help.



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


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