Take Your Manufacturing Business to the Next Level – Opening Moves


Take Your Manufacturing Business to the Next Level is a five-part blog series:

  1. Introduction and Opening Moves
  2. Commit to Post and Go
  3. Ingrain Technology
  4. Use Training as a Tool
  5. Press Your Advantages and Conclusion

The application of new technologies is reducing costs and improving deliveries for many manufacturing businesses today. A big part of that effort is learning how to best take advantage of proven CAM technology to dramatically improve productivity while reducing lead times and operating costs.

This blog series outlines some of the CAM tools and processes many manufacturing businesses have already adopted to “out-machine” the competition and grow their business. It presents an action plan outlining simple steps you can take to achieve productivity increases along with total cost and lead time reductions. Get ready to use your computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) capabilities more effectively.

This blog series was written in partnership with QTE Manufacturing Solutions, a Mastercam Reseller providing CAD/CAM solutions in St. Louis, Kansas City, Wichita, Springfield, Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Hannibal, Quincy, St. Charles, Memphis, Nashville, Jackson, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Cookeville, Little Rock, Bentonville, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and most other locations in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

Part One: Opening Moves

This installment will explore some opening moves for those who want to take CNC manufacturing to the next level.

Start from where you are.

Your manufacturing business is likely to fall into one of three categories regarding your effective use of CAM software:

  1. Your machinists have been manually programming at the machine or using a very basic CAM software package, and this approach now limits both your shop’s productivity and the type of work that is available to it.
  2. You have installed or are about to install new equipment and are planning to implement more sophisticated manufacturing processes. You need software that offers broad capabilities, which will allow you to take full advantage of your new systems. It must be powerful, but also easy to learn so you can get up to speed quickly.
  3. You have been a Mastercam user for a while now but have not stayed current with all the advanced capabilities that have been added to the package with each new product release. You suspect that you might be leaving serious money on the table, and you need a methodical approach for discovering which of these capabilities might be most beneficial to your business, and how to implement them effectively.
Come up with a plan.

To take your CNC manufacturing capabilities to the next level, you need to come up with an appropriate plan based on where you fit in this spectrum of CAD/CAM users. You don’t have to do this alone. Your nearby Mastercam Reseller is ready and able to help. Mastercam Resellers are independent businesses that know and understand the local market and its needs. They roll up their sleeves and delve into the intricacies of manufacturing businesses of all types and sizes from major auto and aerospace manufacturers to job shops of all sizes. They partner with their customers (as well as CNC equipment cutting tool and equipment suppliers) to come up with sensible CNC manufacturing process solutions tailored to their customers’ specific needs.

Before they make a software recommendation, your local Mastercam Reseller will spend some time with you to get a feel for your business, as well as your customers and their expectations. They will consider market opportunities, current equipment, your staff and its capabilities, current bottlenecks and workflow frustrations, current and anticipated new equipment, business expansion opportunities, and more. Based on an analysis of this information, they will make software recommendations to help ameliorate existing problems and advance your business toward improved growth and profitability.

Have help ready and waiting.

But that’s just the beginning. Many Mastercam users have arrangements with their Resellers that give them as-needed access to technical support delivered via phone, the internet, and in person. You will not be left in the dark regarding how to use the software or access advanced features. CAM software licenses may also be packaged with training and consulting service options to help put users in your company on a fast track to becoming more competitive. Many Resellers also sponsor special events where customers can learn about aspects of Mastercam that they could better utilize to improve manufacturing cycles and reduce operating costs.

As an advocate for manufacturing, your Mastercam Reseller will be the first one to tell you that implementing the plan may involve some initial costs and extra effort. They will also be able to refer you to many existing customers who have recouped this investment many times over within months of implementing the plan.

One of the first things your plan is likely to focus on is standardizing many aspects of your CNC workflow to get parts on machines quicker, manufactured more efficiently, and shipped out the door sooner. We will look at that in the next installment of this blog series, Post and Go.

You can download a white paper that overviews the content of this blog series as a manufacturing action plan here: Ignite Your Manufacturing.