How a Workflow System Helps Manufacturers Improve Production

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

I’m beginning to understand why so many manufacturing companies are frustrated when they work with software suppliers, and how we can make the process easier.

3d man in trouble

A digital solution to shop floor challenges is easier to find than you might thinnk. Illustration by http://www.colourbox.com

I spoke to a shop floor manager, let’s call him Joe, struggling with several production databases kept in an old version of Microsoft Access.  Joe was worried the databases would fail. Rightfully so. The servers were old, and it was impractical to move the data to a new server. There was little benefit to upgrading to a new version of Microsoft Office. There were few on Joe’s team who even knew how to properly access the data.

Joe and his IT team researched other possible solutions with little success.  Some suppliers offered an expensive custom solution to match current processes, others required the current processes adapt to match the proposed solution.

Neither option was appealing, and Joe was close to giving up when he spoke with CIMx.

Paperless Manufacturing for the Modern Shop Floor

Given enough time, money and resources, developers can twist and cajole any manufacturing functionality you want out of software code.  Many software companies call this functionality a “module.”  The module is based on a perceived manufacturing need, and the features are focused on solving that need. Manufacturing is not a series of needs, but a workflow. A workflow is a series of linked and sequential events that leads to a state of completion.  The module product approach may work for a single “event,” but leaves serious gaps in the workflow a company will struggle to fill.

This is why the other solution providers required a change in processes (to make connecting those tools easier) or more expensive service charges (so they could fill the gaps).

Quantum is based on manufacturing workflow rather than modules.  The software quickly maps to shop floor processes, supporting existing workflow and providing a quick and less complex solution to manufacturing challenges.

In the case of Joe, the shop floor manager struggling with dated Microsoft Access databases, CIMx was able to provide a new data warehouse for the old files. By mapping Quantum to their current processes, users could easily access the data they needed throughout the workflow. The only real change was the use of Quantum, rather than print outs from Access.

At CIMx, we love connecting manufacturers with technology.  Seeing the software roll out at Joe’s facility, and teaching users how Quantum can make their job easier, was exciting.  It’s why we love our job.  Granted, there were a few reluctant to give up their paper work instructions.  The first time they accessed their planning with the push of a button, rather than a lengthy search across a crowded work station before thumbing through a paper traveler, many asked the CIMx team what else Quantum could do.

We call Quantum a Paperless Manufacturing system because it empowers users to eliminate paper and improve their existing processes, rather than eliminate and replace processes with new tools that may be more complex and less efficient.

If you have inefficiencies or challenges on your shop floor, including old systems or databases, and want to see how a modern software system based on workflow, rather than modules, can help you, then give us a call or contact us today.

Keep an eye on our blog, because over the next few weeks we’ll be making a major announcement, further helping manufacturers like Joe struggling with inefficiencies. We’re excited, and can’t wait to share more!

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