4 min read
What We Learn From Failures
By: Kristin McLane January 15, 2020 at 10:00 AM
I almost hate to start the year off with failure, but it’s so critical that we’re going to talk about it for a few weeks. It’s the number one thing we hear from prospects in almost all industries, from the largest manufacturers in the world to the smallest shops.
Companies regularly tell us their last software vendor didn’t deliver what was promised or even a working product at all. The ideas of “take the money and run” or “if we didn't deliver it for you, we could build it for you” in this space, unfortunately, is not uncommon. We know. We’ve rescued multiple companies mid-implementation and we can all learn a lot from their lessons.
This is the year of education for us at CIMx. We are doubling down on what we teach you this year. We hear so many times that people appreciate the approach we use through both sales and implementation and that the information that they learn from us, whether they become a customer or not, is invaluable to them in the process of running their businesses.
We will cover how you can sniff out an exaggeration that will cost you extra time and money. How you can deal with it. And what to do if you get unfortunately stuck in a situation like this, which we hope you never do.
So, how do you know you’re being taken?
Let’s start with the demo. Providers that use scripted demos don’t have a product to sell you. They have one to build you. That is inherently more expensive. By 10 times as much. More importantly, however, is the incredible risks you are taking by purchasing from someone who is building you a system.
Let me use a specific example here. I may have cited this before, so forgive an old memory because it’s a perfect illustration of why you should NEVER build a manufacturing software system for your business. Or even pay someone else to do so.
We were at a composite manufacturer of those huge turbine blades for windmills. You’ve probably seen them in use on the side of the road or in fields. They are absolutely enormous. A single blade (and remember that those units have 3) must be carried by two flatbeds as it’s too long for a single truck. So you can imagine the length of the assembly line they use to build one. It’s so long that it requires bridges to cross the width of the blade so that Operators, Production Managers and Quality Engineers (QE) can easily get from one side to the other, from one blade in production to another, without walking down to the end and around.
In this environment, the QE suffers the most. Without a system, he or she walks from blade to blade, looking for issues. They seek visual problems because there’s almost no way to find them otherwise. If this manufacturer builds their own requirements, this problem is front and center. They need access to quality information more rapidly and want to be able to do something about it.
Let’s go to best-case scenario. The person they’ve selected to build the system is someone that works on their ERP that has told them that they can minimize the time that these people walk around. They build you a workflow as an extension to the ERP to handle this, with a log-in for the QE to announce issues as they present themselves and maybe even a way to direct what’s next. (This second part is incredibly sophisticated if you’re looking to do it within specification, with the proper approvals and to the right work.)
What they will never be able to do is figure out how their work patterns will change once they have a system. That QE doesn’t need that solution because, quite simply, his or her life will change dramatically (for the good) just by having a system. The software supplier will inevitably build you a system to take care of a problem that would no longer exist if you had a system that’s well-built. So you solve for that problem. Take care of it. Be done with it.
Great, right? Wrong. You have missed the huge upside available to you with a system that is built to handle that problem and grow with you as you push forward. The system that's built for you never grows with you. It stays still, solving the same problems you had when you started.
How do you spot a person who's not capable of doing what you need, what you are really asking for? Ask for a live demo. Today or tomorrow. Make them prove to you that they can show you what you’re asking for right now and that the system has the capability to change without extensive custom code.
Otherwise, it’s just a figment.
In 2020, we will continue to roll out meaningful tools for manufacturers that are affordable, on-target and competitive. We will continue to expand our educational offerings.
We believe in the critical importance of manufacturing right here in North America and we work hard to keep you working. Ask us questions; you will find that we are far more reachable than other software providers you may partner with. We are here to help you find the right tools and use them, whether it's a Google doc, an Excel sheet or a Production Control system. To learn more about meeting your targets for 2020 or just getting a question answered, visit us at www.cimx.com.