6 Reasons to Invest in Paperless Manufacturing in 2016

For companies waiting to invest in manufacturing software, now is the perfect time to stop waiting and start benefiting in a shop floor system.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

In more than 20 years of providing manufacturing software solutions, we have heard plenty of excuses why companies hold off on an improvement project.

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Never before has MES and paperless manufacturing been so accessible. Image by http://www.colourbox.com

Some companies would rather focus on another project, or IT wants to look at a few more options, or management wants to see if the market will turn before adding another capital project. In the meantime, they throw money away and hope to get by rather than address the root cause of their production problems.

I can respect their decision, but I don’t understand it. Companies are reacting to an outdated vision of manufacturing software. “MES” is no longer the scary monster it once was. Data collection won’t destroy production. Successful MES project no longer require millions of dollars and years of work.

In fact, today may be the best time to invest in a shop floor system. Consider this:

  • Lower Cost. In the past, only the largest and most profitable companies could afford a shop floor system. Today, technology has eliminated many factors that increased cost in the past. Granted, there are companies still offering expensive systems, and there are factors that will increase price, but it is much easier to manage costs for a system that will dramatically improve production.
  • Ease of Implementation. Companies fear purchasing software requiring a significant investment in time and resources. Today, with modern, web-based software and behavior-based systems, you can literally install the software in a day, train in a few hours, and begin using it the next day. Systems are much easier to install and use, ensuring a greater return on required resources.
  • Increased Functionality. At one time, there was a wide gap between what a software system promised and what it actually delivered. Today, MES and paperless manufacturing are mature systems. The product delivered by established vendors with a history in the market delivers the capability the modern shop floor needs.
  • Customer Demand. Customer expectations have changed, and manufacturers must embrace technology. Old excuses about missed deadlines and shifting schedules are no longer accepted. Customers expect manufacturers to be agile, with visibility and control of production.
  • Workforce Expectations. There is a skills gap in manufacturing. Many shop floor positions aren’t being filled, and new workers aren’t embracing manufacturing as a profession. A shop floor system helps mitigate these challenges. New workers are more comfortable working with a modern software system, rather than a massive build book. In addition, the system increases collaboration passing critical knowledge from experienced workers to new employees.
  • Foundational Technology. Manufacturing is changing. New disruptive technology like Additive Manufacturing and the Internet of Things (IoT) are influencing manufacturing. MES provides a foundation for these disruptive technologies, helping ensure they benefit, rather than disrupt, business operations.

With every year, the capability and power of software increases, while, overall, the costs will decrease. It’s not surprising. Paperless manufacturing has become a cost-effective solution available to most, if not all, manufacturers. The problem is the perception of the software hasn’t caught up to the current functionality or price. Many are still dismissing the effectiveness of the solution.

If you haven’t taken a look at a modern MES or manufacturing system, then contact CIMx today for a free shop floor analysis and see what the software can do for you.

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