Category Archives: MRP

The Margin Wars – How to Succeed in Global Manufacturing

Ed Deaton | CIMx Software

Let’s be frank, most of your customers can’t tell the difference between your plant and the next job shop on their vendor list.

You may have the best machinery, the most skilled operators and a spotless reputation, but all they really care about are the big three: quality, turnaround-time and price.

It’s frustrating, illogical and unfair; but it’s the world we sell in.

To stay competitive in manufacturing your shop needs to become the go-to supplier for every run. This means guaranteeing delivery dateseliminating turnbacks and producing the same work with fewer resources than your competitors.

 

Three Steps to Victory
Your secret weapon in the Margin Wars is simple. Enforce lean manufacturing tactics with a modern production control system.

How many bids have you lost in the last five years to undercutting competitors or overseas shops? It’s not enough to just be competitive with the plants in your area anymore; it’s your shop against the world.

Follow these 3 tips to connect, correct and control production with your existing Manufacturing Execution System (MES). Take control of your shop to gain control of your market.

Connect Your Resources
Lean manufacturing requires every resource on your shop floor to be as efficient as possible. This means optimized scheduling, complete asset control and total conformance on every build.

Manufacturers attempting to manage the complexities of their shop with spreadsheets and paper find themselves stuck in a damage control loop. Unreliable data, guesswork and unexpected changes lead to daily chaos, forcing your leadership team to spend more time putting out fires than growing your business.

Tip 1: Leverage your existing MES to tether every aspect of your workflow and guarantee your shop is running at maximum efficiency. Make sure your system allows priority-centric scheduling and real-time rerouting to avoid bottlenecks when the unexpected strikes.

 

Correct Errors in Real-Time
If you accept scrap and turnbacks as simply the cost of doing business then you’ve become your own worst enemy.

The biggest threat to the sustainability of your business is waste: wasted time, wasted materials and wasted opportunities. To maximize your margins it’s essential that you eliminate the waste that is eating away at your bottom line.

Tip 2: Your leadership team needs the ability to visually track every order throughout production in real-time to correct errors as they occur. Live Production Dashboards built into your MES allow your team to prevent workflow errors before they occur and react to issues instantly, eliminating defects and bottlenecks.

 

Control Every Stage of Production
In order to maintain quality while bidding competitively, your shop needs to plan each operation to perfection while capturing the necessary data every step of the way. Paper travelers, dry erase boards and pencil whipped data sheets are error prone, time consuming threats to production.

You need to ensure your customers that every tolerance has been checked and every specification met.

Tip 3: Digitizing your travelers, work instructions and data collection sheets ensure your Operators are following every step and completing every check necessary to remain compliant, all on one screen. Collect the data required for audits and build quality work faster with digital shop floor control.

 

Next Steps
The key to winning the Margin Wars is simple: make more with less. Take the steps required to gain market share by implementing an MES designed to control production from Engineering through Delivery. Give your team the tools they need to build it right™, ahead of schedule and under budget with Quantum.

Connect with a CIMx Application Expert to discuss your workflow and determine if the Quantum MES/MOM is the right solution for your shop. Request a quote or schedule your live demo today!


Manufacturing Software Experience | CIMx Software
For more than 20 years, CIMx has developed software solutions that connect, correct and control production for U.S. manufacturers of all sizes. Build it right with Quantum®.

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

Advertisements

Turning Manufacturing Audits into Profit

Ed Deaton | CIMx Software

Audits can either cost you money or make you money. The choice is yours.

In the manufacturing industry, audits are the key factor in determining a company’s continued growth or imminent decline. Audits quantify the success of your team’s efforts by ensuring your shop is up to snuff in every stage of production.

However, the stress and time invested into filing frequent audits can weigh on your team, slowing down production and negatively impacting your bottom line.

Save Resources and Increase Value

The simple solution is to implement a system that reduces auditing time while impressing potential customers into delivering more contracts. Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are designed to optimize production while automatically collecting the essential data required to complete audits in a fraction of the time of manual audits.

But as you know, it’s not enough to just be compliant in a global market; you need to “wow” your way into new work and onto Preferred Supplier lists. Your shop needs to be the number your customers’ dial when a run absolutely must be completed on time. Audits are about one thing, mitigating risk. Show your prospective customers exactly why they should trust your shop by implementing an MES into your existing workflow.

Reduce your average audit time by 50% when you connect, correct and control every asset, operator and order in an MES designed specifically for your industry.

“We’ve already had eight separate audits in 2018 and every one has been completed in half the time. An audit that should take a full day only takes half a day in Quantum. From an ISO standpoint it’s been great. Every document we make becomes a permanent record and every revision is automatically stored in one system.”
– Ray Swanson, President of Tornik, LLC

MES systems like Quantum track and control production from Engineering through Delivery with Digital Planning, Real-Time Scheduling, Asset Management and Quality Control built into one complete platform. Give accurate timelines and enforce best practices on every job regardless of the unique specifications or complexity of an operation. Your Operators will complete their work faster with fewer non-conformances while automatically collecting the data required for future audits.

Give your best customers a tour of your shop floor to see your competitive advantage in action. The more Preferred Supplier lists you land your company on, the more readily your customers will bring you work and recommend your team to colleagues. It’s time you connected production with the complete MES designed for real world manufacturing, Quantum.

Next Steps
Connect with a CIMx Application Expert to discuss your workflow and determine if the Quantum MES/MOM is the right solution for your shop. Request a quote or schedule your live demo today!


Manufacturing Software Experience | CIMx Software
For more than 20 years, CIMx has developed software solutions that connect, correct and control production for U.S. manufacturers of all sizes. Build it right with Quantum®.

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

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!

What to Consider When Selecting a Manufacturing Software Vendor

Liz Hamedi | CIMx Software

In this day and age, customer service and reputable businesses are getting harder to find. There is more to the sustainability of a software system than just the promised functionality. In fact, a system is only as good as the support and the reputation of the company that maintains it. This means it is critical to find a vendor that proves they are trustworthy, knowledgeable and collaborative.

Avoid the Vendor that does it all.

If you’ve ever started down the software implementation path, you’ve likely been blindsided by costs that you hadn’t planned for.

Maybe you had to add a module or two to meet your core requirements. Maybe you needed to pay extra for support or additional training. Or maybe your vendor required you to purchase an additional service to upgrade or integrate?

Unfortunately, the list goes on and on. To combat this, look for a vendor that will not say “yes” to everything. A trustworthy vendor will ask the right questions to ensure you get what you need, without adding additional cost for little to no benefit towards solving your long term goal.

Find a Vendor that supports your buying process.

Your primary goal is to find a system that is reliable with minimum support needs. However, it is important to know that if something does go wrong, or if you have a question, you won’t need to waste time hunting down a response. Although you can never truly understand the future support structure until you become a customer, there are red flags throughout the sales process that you should look out for.

When you ask your sales rep a question or request a demonstration, how long does it take for them to respond back? If you find your buying process to be slowed or hindered because your vendor is unable to deliver, this will be a strong indication of their ongoing customer service.

Find a vendor that can see the big picture.

Most businesses have more than one system to support their production. For you, if all the different parts do not move in harmony, you will be left with more headache than efficiency. Find a vendor that is willing to partner with other software systems to ensure the end result is a positive one.

A good vendor will ask questions to understand the important systems you are currently using and how they impact production so that you have everything you need. It is important that they keep you focused on the primary goals and help you identify future opportunities for additional functionality or system integrations.

By focusing on a vendor that will care enough to ask questions about your most costly production issues and your long-term goals, you will be sure to succeed. You don’t need someone that will tell you they can do everything, because you don’t need everything. You need a vendor that has the expertise and the experience to guide you through a successful project, while also taking into account what is best for you and your shop, not just their bottom line.


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!

5 More Easy Shop Floor Quality Improvements

Production Control Systems and Quality Improvement

We are all in the quality business. Wasted time, scrapped materials and customer turnbacks reduce margins and damage our reputations. It’s only by putting the proper systems in place that our shops can achieve maximum efficiency and profitability.

With your existing production control system (PCS) and these five easy steps, your business can eliminate scrap and accelerate production in a matter of weeks.

  1. Review Non-Conformance Issues Daily
    Evaluate your previous day’s non-conformances in your morning production meeting. One competitive advantage your PCS provides is access to real-time production data. Don’t let your team revert back to weekly updates. Keep your processes as agile as your operators. You have all the data you need at your fingertips; use it.
  2. Monitor Quality Throughout Live Production
    Leverage buy-offs and tolerance checks at critical points throughout production. Stop non-conformances in their tracks with your Production Control System’s quality gates. If a check fails or a measurement is marked out of tolerance, use your PCS’s real-time alerts to notify the right team member to resolve the issue and keep production running. If you expect to increase both production velocity and quality rates, it’s essential that you monitor quality throughout production, not just at the end of the line.
  3. Properly Schedule Machine Maintenance and Tool Calibration
    Update and expand your machine maintenance program with digital control. Schedule more frequent maintenance to limit disruption or implement your PCS’s asset management capacity to track usage rates. Why risk falling out of compliance on a run when you have all of the tools you need in one system? Guarantee your customers that every operator, asset and machine is certified for its role in production.
  4. Create Standard Workaround and Rework Paths
    Plan standard workaround and rework paths to maintain production velocity when problems occur. Your ERP is an essential tool for running your business, but your Production Control System shines when production doesn’t go as planned. Take advantage of your PCS’s ability to map proactive solutions to problems from the common to the critical and resolve production issues before they have the chance to disrupt ship dates.
  5. Review Reports and Trend Analysis to Identify and Resolve Errors
    This is why you invested in a Production Control System in the first place. Successful shops require the visibility to track and control production with the agility to handle even the most complex of processes. Use reports and trend analysis to identify the source of common errors, and then utilize process control to eliminate errors in the future. Take control of your shop, eliminate scrap and deliver your customers the highest quality product available.

Continue reading

Efficient Manufacturing

How one midwest manufacturer increased production by 35% while reducing scrap by 80%

Case Study: Scrap Down. Production Up.

A midwest make-to-order manufacturer was experiencing both escalating levels of scrap and a consistently under-performing shop. After experimenting with a series of homegrown solutions, a production supervisor connected with CIMx to deliver a comprehensive, sustainable solution.

“Now we can zero-in on problems very easily… as long as I’ve been in my position, I’ve never been able to dig into my business like this. It’s been great!”
– Assistant Production Supervisor

The previous processes had utilized a homegrown Access database to track parts, tools and materials and paper sign-offs to document quality. When the team member responsible for managing the database retired, a more sustainable, efficient and reliable approach was required that would both accurately track the manufacturing data on every order and control the production process from engineering through delivery.

The Power of Production Control

CIMx Software’s Quantum production control system was selected to both migrate data out of the legacy systems and the provide shop floor visibility and quality control for every order. CIMx worked closely with the production team to understand their production processes and map out the solution that met their needs. Once configured, the Quantum solution was not only familiar to the operators but offered extensive hard and soft cost savings for the company.

35% Increase in Production. 80% Reduction in Scrap.
– Data from 2018 CIMx System Engagement Review –

In the first 6 months, this shop has already reported dramatic savings and increased revenue generation from the implementation of Quantum. By enforcing quality checks, utilizing digital planning and delivering interactive work instructions to their operators, production has increased by an average of more than 35% per day. As production rates increase, there has been a simultaneous 80% reduction in scrap!

See what Quantum can do for your shop!
Explore the Power of the Quantum Production Control System!

Imagine reporting these numbers to your CEO. What could you do with all that additional revenue returned to your budget: upgrade facilities, hire more operators, increase outreach? Whether your shop has outgrown past production processes or your facility is being pushed to deliver more with less, Quantum is your solution.

Learn more about the timeline and impact of introducing a production control system to your shop by connecting with a CIMx process expert today!

Ready to track, control and increase production velocity?
Connect with an Application Specialist today!

The Problem with Managing Tools, Parts, and Materials in your ERP – and What You Can Do About It

Not long ago, we worked with a manufacturer struggling with a serious scrap problem.

They were a make-to-order composite manufacturer building an expensive product with several critical components. The problem was – operators often used the wrong component. Components were similar and the specifics precise, so every mistake generated scrap, delayed the shipment, and left the sales team scrambling for new excuses.

It didn’t take long for the CIMx Application Specialist to discover the problem… the shop floor was trying to manage production with a bill of material in their ERP.

The ERP Doesn’t Understand Your Bill of Materials

The bill of materials is a critical part of the production process, but if it’s being managed in an enterprise system like an ERP, the system and the shop floor sees it more like a shopping list than a specification, and that’s a problem costing your business productivity and profit.

For manufacturing, especially discrete manufacturing, assets are more than just a list – they are critical specifications required in accurate and error-free manufacturing. But if a shopping list is all the shop floor gets from the ERP, you have lost production conformance. There’s no validation or control in how parts and materials are used in production – just a list that may or may not be referenced later in the production process.

The Struggle Is Real on the Shop Floor

We’ve seen it happen before – operators find costly workarounds for the gaps and problems the ERP is causing. For example:

  • The shop floor hides tools they know they will need because the ERP isn’t tracking production or the assets used. It’s better for them to hide tools now than search for them later.
  • Operators grab materials during kitting without even consulting the bill of materials. They’ve done it before and know what they’re doing.
  • Tools and machines on the shop floor are out of calibration because the static bill of materials doesn’t track the shop floor or assets.
  • Experienced operators work from memory anyway, and never even look at the plans or bill of materials because there’s no validation, no process conformance, and no control of work.
  • There’s no way to specify tools and materials anyway, so mistakes aren’t caught till the end, and then it’s a problem for somebody else.

Many shop floors operate like this. Work is done and products ship, but it’s often in spite of production processes and planning. The ERP can’t support the conformance and control required for make-to-order manufacturing.

Process Control for Make-to-Order Manufacturing

The problem is the reliance on their ERP. The ERP can store information, but it’s not driving the conformance and control this manufacturer needs. The hands-off manufacturing approach of the system is fertile ground for mistakes and increased production costs. The shop floor tries to eliminate the errors, but they’re getting no support from the ERP.

The first step to solving the scrap problem for this customer is moving the bill of materials out of the ERP during production and into a production control system – Quantum.

During kitting, Quantum validates critical materials against the specifications on the bill of material. If the shop floor picks or tries to use the wrong materials, a simple barcode scan will flag the mistake and corrective action can be taken immediately. The problem ends there, minimizing the cost and impact on the schedule.

If necessary, conformance can be driven throughout the production process using pass/fail data collection and automated validation checks against the parts and materials specifications on the bill of material. The manufacturer can control the process and add necessary safeguards.

Problems are eliminated. The shop floor gets the support they need at every phase of production. The bill of material becomes a tool for error-free manufacturing and the foundation of conformance rather than a shopping list.

Contact CIMx today to learn more about Quantum and how you can turn a bill of material into a production tool that drives profit, and eliminates errors and scrap.