Category Archives: Composite Manufacturing

3 Manufacturing Slow Downs That are Impacting Your Bottom Line

Ed Deaton | CIMx Software

3 Manufacturing Slow Downs that are Impacting Your Bottom Line

Production and profit had plateaued at a Midwest Composites manufacturer. Orders were consistent enough to turn a small profit, but margins were paper-thin and the workforce was aging out of their roles.

With an influx of inexperienced new hires joining the company, the Production Manager (PM) had the idea of using a stopwatch to measure employee efficiency in the hopes of finding areas of opportunity. What this PM quickly realized was that it wasn’t his team that needed redirection; it was his processes.

These are the 3 process changes that increased production and profitability across his shop:


1. The Chain of Approval

The first issue is well known to manufacturers of every industry: a simple supervisor sign off.

When a non-conformance required a Supervisor to sign off before the Operator could continue, the PM started his stopwatch. Sign offs are commonplace and, in most cases, a non-issue. However, in this instance, the only Supervisor with authority was on the opposite end of the shop floor.

After tracking the amount of time required to simply locate, wait and walk back to the work center with the Supervisor, a shocking realization came to the PM. In the time wasted locating approval, this Operator could have completed an addition 3 pieces of work. When taking a moment to consider how frequently these occurrences take place, the amount of waste impacting the bottom line quickly added up.

2. Change Management Control

The second major slow down occurred when an experienced operator caught an error in a plan’s work instructions. These instructions had been used by less experienced workers to complete dozens of parts over the past week.

Not only did work on that line need to be shut down until a fix could be planned and approved, but the parts that had already been completed were difficult to differentiate due to limited traceability.

This shift in the schedule caused bottlenecks at fixed-time ovens slowing down production even more. There was no quick fix and once again, the clock continued to tick cutting into profit and pushing delivery dates.

3. The Problem with Paper

Lastly, after seeing the negative impact of everyday processes on profitable time, the Production Manager returned to his desk. He pulled records of previous quarters in an effort to verify if what he had seen on the floor could be as common as he feared.

After spilling over binders of paper reports, searching through spreadsheets and digging through a homegrown Access database, the third problem became clear. Not only was the data in front of him unreliable, but the amount of time required to find the information he needed was as wasteful as wandering the shop floor for a sign off.



One Complete Solution

It was only after recognizing the root causes of waste that this manufacturer could explore potential solutions. After connecting with his manufacturing network and discussing potential solutions with multiple software vendors, he determined his shop needed a Manufacturing Execution System to get production under control.

Real-time production visibility, order traceability and complete process control were required to eliminate non-value-added time and increase production. The proper Supervisors could be alerted at the click of a button and management could update change orders across the entire shop in an instant eliminating walk-around time and increasing efficiency on every part.

The data collected from each build ensured Quality standards were met on every order and gave the management team the high level data they required to keep production on schedule.

The Quantum® MES/MOM delivers the order traceability, audit control and production efficiency your shop needs to compete in a global market. Complete orders ahead of schedule and under budget with the manufacturing system designed for your industry. Build it right with Quantum.


Manufacturing Software Experience | CIMx Software

For more than 20 years, CIMx has developed complete solutions for manufacturers. The experience and innovation behind CIMx systems have delivered decades of increased production and cost savings. Quantum® is designed to deliver the production control your team needs to build it right™, ahead of schedule and under budget.

Schedule your live Quantum demo with a CIMx Application Expert today!

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Production Control from Coast to Coast

Quantum connects and controls production for US manufacturers.

Contracting more orders than you have the resources to complete seems like a great problem to have to most manufacturers. However, it’s the consequences of success that have forced many unprepared manufacturers to close shop. Overtime hours chip away at profit margins, over-worked employees become more likely to commit errors and late delivery frustrates longtime customers.

The irony is that the same processes that elevate a company to success can ultimately become that company’s downfall. To succeed in manufacturing, your shop must automate data-capture, enforce build conformance and direct production with real-time WIP dashboards. Keep your delivery promises to every customer and continue your business on the path to success with a production control system designed for every stage of manufacturing.

One CIMx customer was growing at a rapid rate. Business had taken such a positive turn that the company needed to expand operations to the West Coast. To guarantee the level of Quality was consistent at their new facility the company selected Quantum to connect and control production from coast-to-coast.


Case Study: Production Control from Coast to Coast

The Problem
An East Coast electronics manufacturer was growing. Overtime hours skyrocketed and rushed shipping costs began impacting their already narrow margins. This increase in work was welcomed, but resources were thin. To accommodate the increased demand, a secondary shop was scheduled to open on the West coast.

“We were getting by,” explained one production supervisor, “but there were problems we didn’t have solutions for… no records and no good way to track work. We had people just standing around the shop because they were missing information or materials.”

The Solution
Quantum was implemented at both facilities to connect and control the entire enterprise under one sustainable platform. By utilizing Quantum’s advanced planning center and end-to-end production controls, the manufacturer was able to enforce best practices on every build, increase quality standards and track operator/order data from both locations.

In a matter of months, both shops were on schedule and operating at a level of quality and efficiency never before thought possible. By utilizing digital work packets, automatic tolerance checks and real-time WIP quality alerts, the manufacturer was able to prevent common operator errors, stay on schedule and enforce engineering changes from 3,000 miles away.

This customer has continued to grow and is once again expanding their facilities. Record, report and react to errors on your shop floor before they become bottlenecks. Support compliance certification and become the supplier your customers go to first when a job has to be completed on schedule. Build it right™, with Quantum.


If you’re interested in shop floor control, ahead-of-schedule production and complete order visibility, connect with CIMx Application Expert Liz Hamedi at 513-248-7700 x416, or email the CIMx team directly at info@CIMx.com.

CIMx Software celebrates 22 years of US manufacturing software innovation!

After two decades of advanced planning and production control, CIMx announces Quantum 6.0 release for spring of 2018

They say you can learn a lot about a company by understanding where they got their start.

CIMx began its journey in 1996 by developing Process Planning and Engineering systems for Fortune 500 US manufacturers. That foundation in advanced planning, highly regulated compliance reporting and agile engineering change management has fueled more than 20 years of manufacturing software innovation.

“From day one, the goal was to develop our systems in a way that even the shops just starting out could have access to the same tools leveraged by our Fortune 500 customers…” said veteran of the manufacturing tech industry and CEO, Anthony Cuilwik, PhD. “Our Quantum platform achieved that goal. It really is the next generation of manufacturing.”

From aerospace and government defense contractors to medical device, carbon composites and beyond, CIMx has delivered the same care for detail and process demanded by their customers for more than 20 years.

“US manufacturing is going through a renaissance. Shops are growing and their old manual processes just can’t keep up with customer demand.” explained Director of Messaging, Ed Deaton, “Quantum delivers the tools both engineers and operators need to drive velocity, eliminate scrap and ship ahead of schedule, all from one sustainable platform.”

CIMx’s mission of delivering production control to manufacturers of all sizes, regardless of revenue stream, is alive in Quantum. The latest system release is scheduled to deploy spring 2018 as a free upgrade to all licensed users.

If you’re interested in shop floor control, ahead-of-schedule production and complete order visibility, connect with CIMx Application Expert Liz Hamedi at 513-248-7700 x416, or email the CIMx team directly at info@CIMx.com.

 

 

 

4 Ways Paperless Manufacturing Can Benefit Composite Manufacturing

Composite manufacturing can often be more art than science, making consistent production a struggle.  Learn how MES can overcome many of those difficulties to improve production.

 By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

Composites are made from two or more physically different materials that are combined to act as one, yet remain distinct.  Manufacturing composites is complex, and can be difficult, but it’s a vital industry, producing some of the strongest, lightest and most versatile materials in the world.  Composites are used in almost every industry – from Aerospace and Defense, to simple household items, to electrical equipment, and consumer products.  Companies rely on exacting specifications, rigorous recipes for each machine processes, exceedingly stringent quality control, and, in the end, on art as much as science to produce quality composites.

With the right tools, even the best manufacturers can improve results, increase production, reduce errors and scrap, and deliver better quality.  Here are four ways we’ve found a successful paperless manufacturing system can deliver benefits to composite manufacturing:

1. Revision control of all specifications, recipes and process documentation.

Paperless manufacturing delivers measurable improvements to composite manufacturing. Photo by www.colourbox.com

Paperless manufacturing delivers measurable improvements to composite manufacturing. Photo by http://www.colourbox.com

Paper-based recipes, instructions, specifications and quality details add unnecessary complexity for little value.  Think about it – start with the paper-based specifications.  If you have customer specs in addition to internal specs, you are doubling the number of forms and papers.  Add to that the recipes for each of the machine processes.  Then assemble all the process instructions, build books, and other ancillary material – you end up with stacks and stacks of paper.  Can you be sure you are working from the latest, most accurate approved documents?

With paperless manufacturing, you digitize all that paper.  By managing information through a single source, users have access to only the most recent, and accurate, documentation through airtight revision control – even with the tangled web of cross-referenced documentation most composite manufacturers struggle with.  Previous revisions are archived, while only the most recent revisions can be opened and used.

2. Control, management and collection of quality information.

In composite manufacturing, variability must be measured and controlled, and any fixes or defect repairs must be thoroughly documented, matched to the specifications, and then made part of a permanent as-built audit report.  Using a paper-based system to manage quality information leads to errors and scrap.  Paper isn’t the right tool, and is inadequate for the process.

Paperless manufacturing manages and automates much of the process.  The system will automatically check the specification once data is collected, and the quality defect fixes are managed by process enforcement.  Each step is documented and archived in a permanent record.  Automated record-keeping is especially important for companies regulated by the 14 CFR Part 21 Quality Control requirements.

3. Synchronization of specifications, process variables, and actual workflow.

Learn how MES can help your shop floor.  Image by www.colourbox.com

Learn how MES can help your shop floor. Image by http://www.colourbox.com

Precision is necessary for successful composite manufacturing, but many companies struggle to synchronize internal and external specifications, and the necessary process variables.   They’ve recorded best practices and standard operating procedures (SOP), but it doesn’t translate to consistent shop floor execution.

Paperless manufacturing and MES give you the tools to synchronize project work.  That starts by providing a single source of manufacturing truth – one place were project information can be managed and stored.  All documentation, build books, work instruction, and data collection are kept in the system.  Process enforcement allows planners to incorporate the specifications and process variables in the actual workflow used by the shop floor, ensuring specifications are followed.

4. Creation of an as-built audit and data collection to support trend analysis.

With paper-based workflow, the as-built audit (or complete documentation of the manufacturing process) is often more speculative than historical.  The documents and data collection are assembled from handwritten notes or memory of the process.  Work is done outside of the documentation, and then compiled in records that we assume (and hope) are accurate.

Trend analysis and process improvement are even more difficult when predictability is a question.  With paperless manufacturing, each operation and procedure can be scheduled in planning.  Using shop floor data collection, each step, procedure, action, and detail of the process can be recorded and archived, giving as complete a picture of the process as possible.  A complete and largely automated as-built audit is a critical benefit to composite manufacturing, and vitally important to the trend analysis necessary for process improvement.

Determining the variance to specifications is one part of eliminating errors and improving processes.  Studying an accurate as-built report to determine the cause of errors and flaws is equally important.


According to a recent report by accenture, “… modern, mature MES solutions fit into companies helps bring greater efficiency, speed and precision to manufacturing.”  MES helps bridge the gap between IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology) by providing a foundation for the digital factory – delivering shop floor control and visibility.

Understanding the specific benefits a paperless manufacturing or MES system can bring helps in planning targeted shop floor improvements that specifically address the problems faced daily in composite manufacturing.

Want to learn more, or see how we can help you?  Give us a call or leave us a message.  We’re happy to help.