How You Can Implement Manufacturing Innovation

Process control, increased profits, and shop floor visibility are easier than you might think.

By Kristin McLane, President of CIMx Software

I’m a mechanical person.  I love the idea that a machine was built to perform a task and make life easier.  Take driving – I’m a fan of a standard transmission because I can feel the mechanics of the car working.  Whether it’s gearing down as I come to a stop or using low gears in snow, I enjoy controlling the vehicle and witnessing it work.  I even like the sound of the door.  I need to feel that heavy machine thud when a car door closes.

Manufacturing brings together mechanics and innovation to improve our lives. Photo by www.colourbox.com.

Manufacturing brings together mechanics and innovation to improve our lives. Photo by http://www.colourbox.com.

Manufacturing makes our lives easier- manufacturing is innovation. It is machines and mechanics shaping and improving our lives.  How would you make toast without a toaster? Sure, we could build a fire and cook on a rock, but manufacturing has improved our lives and given us tasty toast in our kitchen.  Every invention, every innovation, has been met with resistance.  People can be scared of change, sometimes with good reason.  I’m reminded of the phrase about the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.

Humans have healthy skepticism toward anything new.   People thought Henry Ford and the first cars were crazy. It was faster, but also dirty, broke down, and (many thought) not nearly as reliable as a horse and carriage.  Today, it is hard to imagine life without cars (thudding doors and all).  Our world thrives and grows through innovation. 

As I see it, there is a difference between innovation and healthy skepticism.  Sure, evaluating a new concept requires healthy skepticism, but there comes a point when a concept becomes a full-fledged, pedal-to-the-metal innovation, like the automobile.  It happens when a concept has the kinks worked out, and it moves past the first adopters to the general public. Paperless manufacturing has made that transition.

We often talk to manufacturers about implementing paperless manufacturing and using tools to eliminate human error, increase production and drive manufacturing profit.  The truth is, electronic manufacturing has been around for nearly 20 years.  Back then, there weren’t many PCs on the shop floor.  Tablets didn’t exist, but manufacturers were buying our products to keep track of the shop floor and solve production issues.  When the mainframe environment was replaced by PCs with the power to host or use manufacturing applications, our product moved closer to the shop floor.  Today, paperless manufacturing works so closely with the shop floor; it sits in your hand on a tablet and other mobile devices. 

Many risks manufacturers saw in going paperless have been solved.  Today, with the right technology you can control your manufacturing processes on the shop floor within a few days.  It’s that easy.  A phased implementation of the application will support adaptive change by an organization.  We can use the documentation you currently have, in its current form, within the system.  The system can manage the amount of change to protect process control and ultimately improve manufacturing. 

Everyone is looking to innovate, strengthen their business and increase profit.  Paperless manufacturing has the tools to do just that.  Manufacturing has found success offering the machines, tools and technology to make life easier.  Making life easier and improving business with manufacturing solutions is the goal of CIMx Software and our manufacturing system.  The truth is, manufacturing innovation is closer, and more available, than you might think.

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