Although “making chips” may be the primary objective, a myriad of other details must be managed and coordinated for a manufacturing business to operate profitably. From the time a work order or request for quotation (RFQ) comes into a shop, to the time the product is sent out the door, dozens of things must be accomplished to assure that the job can be delivered on time, on spec and performed at the lowest reasonable cost. If the steps necessary to complete projects were taken sequentially, lead times would be beyond control and running an efficient manufacturing business would be impossible.
The conventional way of initiating, sequencing, visualizing, and managing these essential events has relied on manual tools such as paper documentation, flowcharts, and good interpersonal and interdepartmental communications. These are still important, but they are being significantly augmented by a new wave of transparent information technologies that allow data to move swiftly and seamlessly throughout the shop so that it can be accessed, used, and updated instantly wherever it is needed.
We believe the use of seamlessly integrated data communications among a wide variety of manufacturing systems will provide significant competitive advantages to job shops and OEMs who implement a data-managed approach to their shop floor operations. To this end, we have established technology relationships with like-minded partners who are intent on safeguarding the integrity and improving the flow of data between our products.
In this blog series we will present a number of these partnerships that include, but are not limited to, such interrelated applications as:
- Machine Shop enterprise resource planning (ERP).
- Reverse engineering.
- CNC programming.
- Cutting tool management.
- CAD/CAM for robotics.
- Dimensional management.
- Machine performance monitoring and optimization.
We’ll take a deeper dive into this fascinating topic in the next installment of our Beyond CAM series—Job Shop ERP.