Tag Archives: Manufacturing Execution System

The Benefits of MES Expertise

Spend enough time in the manufacturing software industry, and you’ll find software experts, manufacturing experts, and plenty of salespeople, but an MES expert is what you really need.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

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MES Success is much easier with the support of MES Experts. Image by http://www.colourbox.com

For more than 20 years, CIMx Software has developed software solutions for manufacturers. In the beginning, it wasn’t called MES (Manufacturing Execution System) or Paperless Manufacturing. MOM (Manufacturing Operations Management) was still short for Mother, and IoT (Internet of Things) was science fiction and not imminent fact. Our system was known as CAPP (Computer-Aided Process Planning). CAPP was a powerful tool for manufacturing back then.

Today’s systems are built on modern software platforms – easy-to-install, implement and adapt. With the right system you plan production and manage your shop floor, the software becomes the foundation of an IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) and digital manufacturing enterprise. The solution provides the discipline and data to implement a successful continuous improvement program. It eliminates the root cause of errors, reduces scrap and waste, and mitigates many of the risk factors that hold back manufacturing.

Working with manufacturers for more than 20 years to solve their costliest and most vexing problems has made CIMx MES experts. MES expertise is critical for success in an implementation for your shop floor.

Why You Need MES and Paperless Manufacturing Expertise

You have manufacturing expertise. You know how to build products and design workflows to maximize production safely and efficiently. IT experts maintain, implement and update technology. With enough time and money (okay, a lot of time and money) a team of software experts can build a software system.

Confidence Button Shows Assurance Belief And Boldness

A project guided by MES Experts gives you confidence in success. Image by http://www.colourbox.com

MES experts bridge the gap between those disciplines – bringing experience in manufacturing, an understanding of technology, and intimate familiarity of the software. MES expertise enables a solution provider to guide the implementation and cultural fit of the solution. They ensure you have the right solution optimized for your production operation by removing unnecessary complexity, lowering the overall cost and investment, and delivering better results.

Without this expertise, your shop floor may be forced to adapt to the demands of the software, rather than the software working for you. Systems like this will offer you the functionality you need, but at a much higher cost in productivity and effort than you expect to pay. The solution will never be optimized, and you’ll never see the benefit of a system optimized for you.

At CIMx, we know and love manufacturing and technology. We study the latest trends and technology looking for advantages for our customers. We work closely with manufacturers to understand their processes, and then apply the best technology solution for superior results.

Don’t assume a sales person or IT Solution provider has MES expertise. If a company representative doesn’t know discrete manufacturing from an assembly shop or MRO facility, or is just focused on their product and not your processes, then they may not have the MES expertise you need. You may be left with an overly complex, expensive solution that your shop floor doesn’t want to use.

Get to know your solution provider before signing a contract. Evaluate whether they have MES expertise. With the right provider, you shouldn’t have to figure out how you can make all the pieces of the solution work together for you. From the beginning the solution should support you.

Want to learn more, or see what a provider with real MES expertise can do for you? Then give CIMx a call today for a free shop floor evaluation by real MES experts. We’re always happy to help.

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Say Goodbye to “MES Fear” in the New Year

Many companies play a waiting game with their shop floor improvements, letting profit and opportunity slip through their fingers.

By Lisa Kessler, Customer Relations with CIMx Software

Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”  As 2016 swiftly approaches many of us are considering the New Year’s resolutions we plan to make (and break) come January.

These resolutions are often personal – lose weight, quit smoking, and spend less time on Facebook and more time with family.  But what if we focused on a resolution to improve our business? What if we resolved to eliminate the fear of change? What if we quit ignoring the fundamental problems holding our shop floor back and invested in optimized production?

Embracing Opportunity with MES and Paperless Manufacturing

Many manufacturers run their core business on outdated software systems. They struggle with outdated paper processes because they fear upsetting the status quo, or are confused about the cost and benefits of a modern software system. Manufacturers fear manufacturing software systems are too complex and aren’t designed for manufacturing. They believe the production floor won’t be able to utilize the tools in the system, and the software will end up as shelfware. These fears force them to rely on old and inefficient processes. They know these processes cost them money and productivity, but they feel helpless to change them.   Scrap, data errors, paper-based operations and out-of-control production processes keep the shop floor from excelling.

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Embrace change and improve production by eliminating software fear in 2016. Image by http://www.colourbox.com

By embracing change and jumping into the future with a modern, easy-to-use MES platform you can quickly eliminate many shop floor headaches and start the New Year off right. Embracing a modern MES costs less money and is less of an investment in time and resources than you might think.  With a little planning and the right MES you will see a return on your investment before the end of 2016. You’ll be prepared for the future of manufacturing with a system that gives you complete shop floor visibility and control.

Consider the benefits of saying goodbye to fear and embracing change with MES and Paperless Manufacturing:

  • Operations scheduling. Work Order scheduling with Quantum eliminates guesswork, giving management confidence in meeting customer demand.
  • Performance analysis. Develop and utilize KPIs with a real-time dashboard you can access anywhere and anytime, helping focus and support data-driven process improvement.
  • End-to-end traceability. Mitigate risk and ensure compliance with automated product serialization and sequential assembly data for better supply chain management.
  • Quality management. Improve quality with minimal effort using real-time quality checks, automatic tolerance checks and a complete custom disposition system.
  • Workflow management. Procedure management, and process sequencing and control, ensures you have the procedural enforcement to optimize operations quickly and easily.
  • Resource management. Labor management and machine maintenance tools provide simplified shop floor administration – dramatically improving efficiency with minimal effort.
  • Document control. Quantum’s library of master planning, derived directly from your existing planning with additional error checks and security, complete digital audit records and product history eliminates inefficiencies based on error-prone paper-based records.

With a modern manufacturing software system that uses existing work instructions and processes, and an efficient phased implementation, your team will be trained and the system up and running in a few short weeks. You’ll have the benefit and tools you need to charge into the New Year with confidence and increased profitability.

Worried about cost?  A new system configured to your shop floor and manufacturing processes shouldn’t cost millions to digitally run your shop floor.  With a modern, Smart MES you don’t need to design an entire new system or add custom functionality that drives up the cost and complexity with limited benefit. With core functionality in place and a modern software platform, you can quickly map the system tools to your processes, getting software customized for your needs at a much lower cost.

Don’t let opportunity continue to pass you by. There has never been a better time to invest in manufacturing software. Going into the New Year plan for improvement and invest in optimized manufacturing.   If you are looking to forge ahead and leave fear behind, we’d love to help you build a case for improvement, ROI, and positive change.

For a free shop floor analysis contact CIMx, we look forward to hearing from you!

A Simple Solution to Shop Floor Struggles

For anyone who wonders if paperless manufacturing is a viable solution to their shop floor troubles, a lesson in social history provides the answer.

By David Oeters, Corporate Communications with CIMx Software

A few months ago, I spent some time at a bed and breakfast deep in the Appalachian Mountains – far from the urban sprawl.  There was one power line; phone access consisted of a satellite phone and a single cliff that had decent cell reception.

The first night was nice.  The scenery was gorgeous and the quiet serenity absolutely relaxing.  The next day was… disconcerting.  With only one TV, most of the news came via a morning paper.  It felt old and outdated.  There was no internet access, no cell reception, and no way to touch the world or even reliably communicate.

What can the power of the Internet do for your shop floor? Image  by www.colourbox.com

What can the power of the Internet do for your shop floor? Image by http://www.colourbox.com

Without the Internet, I had no visibility.  I felt like I had no control.  To get any real time facts, reliable information, or make a phone call, I had to drive 30+ minutes.  It reminded me of the world before the Internet, or life on a shop floor without paperless manufacturing.

Did I get your attention?  Consider this – many production environments have disconnected islands of automation, with information scattered across several media.  Real-time information requires you to be there.  Accessing information, collating data, and even communicating within your organization is a struggle.  Many companies have limited ability to analyze and improve the work flow process – sounds a lot like life before the Internet.

Everyone has their own unique view and definition of the Internet (including the late Senator Ted Stevens who was sure it wasn’t a big truck, but a series of tubes).  If you look beyond the conveniences at the true value of the Internet, it has become a vehicle to collect, consolidate and communicate information between people anytime and anywhere.  The Internet has removed geographic distance as a limitation on human endeavor.  It gives everyone access to a single, convenient source of information.  The Internet gives us visibility and control, which many shop floors are still struggling to find.

With paperless manufacturing, remove the silos of information holding your company back. Image by www.colourbox.com

With paperless manufacturing, remove the silos of information holding your company back. Image by http://www.colourbox.com

The goal of paperless manufacturing is to bring the power and convenience of the Internet to manufacturing.  Paperless manufacturing collects, consolidates, sorts and communicates information between people in the company anytime and anywhere.  It collects and preserves production data while providing instant access to each element of the work flow.  Paperless manufacturing saves historical data to help shape the future of the company.  It eliminates the “silos” of knowledge.  No more disconnected reports with information 2+ weeks old, missing data, unreliable analytics, reactive quality control, or bits of information hiding in multiple formats.

No more disconnected (but stunningly beautiful) information-vacuum-like bed and breakfast sitting inside your company and holding you back.

This does not mean you are opening your company up to the horrors of the Internet (and I will admit, there are horrors out there).  Paperless manufacturing uses the concept of the Internet to provide you with the tools and power connectedness – a rich reservoir of information at your fingertips all the time and instantly available.  It gives your team a location to store all the data they accumulate, and an easy way to access it when you need to.   You have the security of firewalls and encryption, but the convenience of an enterprise Internet you control.

The Internet has made a dramatic difference in our lives, and paperless manufacturing can potentially make an equally dramatic difference for your shop floor.  I can remember many arguments against the Internet (including a neighbor who swore robots were spying on her through the Internet), but the power of technology has shaped our world, ultimately for the better.  Paperless Manufacturing is here – what are you waiting for?

4 Reasons Why Manufacturing Excellence Is Within Reach…

4 Reasons Why Manufacturing Excellence Is Within Reach…

Finding opportunities for improvement is easy, but taking the steps necessary to improve is much more challenging.  The unfortunate mess in my basement is proof of that.  I wrote a list of “basement improvements,” but boxes sit against the wall and shelves still aren’t hung.

Too often, process improvement faces a similar challenge in manufacturing.  We recognize steps for improvement, but taking them is more difficult.  But I believe now, more than ever, manufacturing excellence is within reach.  Here are a few simple reasons why:

Moving toward Operational Excellence.

  1. Seamless, integrated communication is possible (and affordable).  To manage change and ensure quality, shop floor workers need access to up-to-the-minute information and the latest plans.  Managers need access to quality control and other data instantly so they can rapidly respond and make informed decisions.  With improvements to data collection, integrated MES software systems, wireless networks, and secure mobile technology, seamless communication is not only feasible, but easy to implement using the right tools.
  2. Lean and Six Sigma processes are sustainable.  There is no doubt Lean and Six Sigma processes improve efficiency, work flow, and inventory control, leading to improved shop floor processes and company profit.  According to the Manufacturing Advisory Service in the UK, implementing Lean manufacturing principles will, on average, improve productivity 25%, reduce scrap levels 26%, and improve delivery performance by 26%.  The challenge has been sustaining improvements.  MES systems implement and maintain a production system that takes advantage of improvements through procedural enforcement and controlled processes.
  3. Shop floor workers are becoming more proficient with technology.  Mobile technology is revolutionizing manufacturing, and is now as commonplace as the smart phone. In fact, according to AdAge, 4.8 billion (out of 6 billion) people on the planet have a mobile phone (and only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush)! In an age where everyone has multiple home computers and many of us spend more time browsing the web than watching TV, we all find it much easier to accept new technology, even on the shop floor.
  4. Quick implementation of new technology is possible.  Implementing an MES project doesn’t necessarily mean taking production offline for an extended period of time.  There are currently OOTB (Out Of The Box) projects that deliver the functionality manufacturers need, and can be implemented and go live in production in 90 days or less (sometimes, much less).  Creating an implementation plan with short, focused phases can show an almost immediate ROI.

The truth is, production shops are dynamic environments where change, both planned and unplanned, is the norm.  Technology has improved and processes developed to give us the capability to manage change and risk, and deliver quality results in less time and money.

The goal of this blog, Paperless Manufacturing, is to focus on manufacturing excellence and what steps we can take to get there.  Manufacturing excellence is a lofty goal, but it’s not one we can ignore.  According to the National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. manufacturing produces $1.7 trillion dollars of value each year.  For every $1 spent in manufacturing, $1.35 is added to the economy.  We have too much riding on manufacturing not to strive for excellence.

Delivering manufacturing excellence.

If you have an idea for a blog topic, a question you want to ask, or an issue you want to discuss, let us know.  If you have something you want to add to the conversation (and who doesn’t want to be heard), leave a comment.  We’re listening.  You can email us here.  Improvement should be the goal for all of us.  Next week we’ll talk about mobile technology, manufacturing, and what you should look for as you plan for the future.