Manufacturing is a complicated process with many different organizational functions working in tandem to produce and sell a product. Succeeding in the space requires efficiency, strong cross-functional communication, accurate monitoring and reporting, and high visibility when it comes to how machines and personnel are operating. Prior to technological advances seen within the industry over the past few decades, it was difficult to achieve all of the above. However, a number of manufacturing software solutions exist now to make things easier for an organization to remain at a high level of efficiency, productivity, and profitability.
Manufacturing Execution Systems
Most successful manufacturers utilize some type of manufacturing execution system (MES). Essentially, an MES offers organizations more control over the production process, from start to finish. This software solution records data in real-time and makes that data available to decision-makers throughout the organization immediately. The automated data collection and reporting processes mean fewer communication errors and less time needed to react to issues identified. Ultimately, this reduces both scrap and rework because manufacturing errors are identified and reported immediately, with fewer runs being impacted than if these issues go unnoticed.
Manufacturing execution systems are also helpful when creating production schedules. They factor in variables such as parts inventory and equipment maintenance needs in a way that limits downtime on the production floor. A costly mistake for manufacturers is having personnel on duty without functioning machines to operate or raw materials to process. The same goes for having machines and materials ready for production without machine workers to operate them.
Many MES solutions were created for larger operations, but the CIMAG-MES was designed specifically for small to mid-sized manufacturers, allowing them to customize the software based on their specific needs. Automation capabilities of the software allow manufacturers to seamlessly update production schedules based on changes, be that in personnel availability, identified QC issues, or any other variables monitored and reported on in real-time. The increased visibility that CIMAG-MES offers organizations a quicker reaction time to change, which ultimately – keeps production levels and efficiency high and operations profitable.
Energy Management Systems
For most manufacturers, energy consumption represents a substantial line in their budget – especially with the rise in energy prices as of late. Implementing an energy management system (EMS) can help manufacturers gain better visibility and control over energy usage and make the best decisions regarding that consumption. EMD software accurately measures energy quantities used as well as provides manufacturers with a cost breakdown of that usage.
When thinking about available government incentives for energy efficiency, it requires a great deal of accurate data to determine qualifications for those. An EMs gathers that required information automatically, making it far easier to qualify for incentive programs.
The EnergyMax software from IMCO takes energy management a step further. The application allows manufacturers to perform “what-if” analyses when it comes to selecting energy sources. Doing so helps determine the most cost-effective energy strategy – one that balances production levels while also avoiding peak charges. Its advanced reporting capabilities also help determine eligibility for green manufacturing rebates and incentives.
Maintenance Management Software
Shop floor equipment has advanced in both efficiency and longevity over the years. Still, it doesn’t last forever and requires ongoing maintenance to keep it in good working order for as long as possible. Dome manufacturers take a reactive approach, fixing issues as they arise. Others strictly follow the equipment manufacturer’s guidelines for preventive maintenance. Either way, implementing maintenance management software allows organizations to gain more visibility and control over the condition of their equipment and plan for maintenance accordingly.
The FactoryAI maintenance management software uses artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms combined with recorded, historical data to predict when machines will fail or break down. Manufacturers can then perform preventative maintenance to prevent those breakdowns from happening. Preventing malfunctions is important for a number of reasons. Unnoticed malfunctions lead to products that don’t meet quality standards, causing scrap and rework. Many smaller issues can escalate if not addressed quickly, leading eventually to complete machine failure. The amount of downtime required to fix an issue is generally less when it’s caught early. Using AI in the software means predictions on when to perform maintenance on a machine are far more accurate than if calculated by humans.
Finding the Right Combination of Manufacturing Software Solutions
Many software solutions for manufacturing were designed with large-scale operations in mind. For small to mid-sized manufacturing companies, it can be overwhelming to try and curate the most effective suite of software solutions to implement within their organization.
At IMCO Software, our team has been working with smaller manufacturers for over 30 years, partnering with them to find the best technology options for their specific needs. With our suite of proprietary software and third-party integrations, we provide comprehensive shop floor solutions that consistently result in increased productivity and revenue. Specific achievements of implementing IMCO Software solutions include:
- A 12% increase in energy efficiency
- An improved lead time by 35%
- A 20% decrease in required emergency machine maintenance
- Improved quality management
- A 27% increase in annual inventory turns
Above all, solutions from IMCO Software allow manufacturers to gain greater visibility and control over their shop floor. No matter the size of manufacturing operations, IMCO has powerful software solutions to streamline processes, improve communication, and allow for a more proactive approach to maintenance, reducing downtime along the way. For a demo of any of these solutions or to learn more about the impact they could have on your manufacturing facility, contact the IMCO team today!