A few weeks ago, I attended the IQMS Pinnacle User Conference in Orlando, Florida. On the first day, several executives from the company spoke to their product and how it fits in with the current technology landscape.
On Day 2, IQMS went into a bit more detail about specific functionalities, and their benefits to manufacturers across all industries. To read more about my experience on Day 1, view my recent blog post here.
IQMS and MES
IQMS has many strengths as a vendor, but one of them that is especially appealing to the client base we deal with here at Ultra is their ability to manage the shop floor with a true Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) component as part of a whole enterprise system. To that end, Ultra recently sat in on multiple sessions with the IQMS user group to learn more about the software’s capabilities in these areas.
There was a session on how to build a better Bill of Materials (BOM), which was led by Chris Daman and Toby Huston, both training specialists at IQMS. Chris emphasized creating an efficient BOM is all about entering the right data into the system.
Once the decision has been made to start an enterprise software implementation project, most companies want their system up and running as soon as possible.
As an independent consultant, we work hard to meet client demands. But regardless of the stage of an implementation – which can take anywhere from a couple months to a year – the first six months is a great time to go back and look at some of the project assumptions that were put in place at the start, and how those standards may have morphed over time.
Routing and BOMs are two areas in particular that would be good to re-asses and potentially re-work once the company has been operating their selected software for at least six months.
To do this, one must first investigate how the material details were set up. Some questions you may ask yourself include:
- Is the scrap percent correct?
- Are the proper elements excluded from the calculation?
- Are the disposal cycles (re-grind vs. virgin material) set up correctly?
- What items are included vs. excluded in the backflush?
The answers to these questions all have an eventual impact on inventory record accuracy. Secondly, they confirm that labor is setup properly, and if the employee level/skill set up is correct for the job or task.
These tasks also provide a look into the BOM parameters, how work cells are setup, and the manufacturing type to ensure that labor is being accounted for properly.
Lastly, double check the planning fence, scope, and run sizes are set up to drive the proper creation of work orders and accurate scheduling.
IQMS Presents RealTime™
In the next presentation, Jim Hoium, Senior Solutions Engineer, and Trevor Diehl, VP of Product Development for MES educated us on RealTime™. After the system is set up properly, the real-time MES offered by IQMS can pay dividends.
RealTime™ performs both process monitoring, a.k.a. information from machines that informs us what they’re doing, and production monitoring a.k.a. tracking what is being made.
RealTime™ monitors specific parameters, feeds SPC, and creates a historian database to maintain item, job, lot specific details, and process information. This yields a huge amount of data that is created with date and time stamps. RealTime™ also monitors the work center and machine data in response to trends.
The next frontier for RealTime™ is moving into the Internet of Things (IoT), where a machine may react to the data being captured and then adjust the speed, temperature, etc. of the manufacturing equipment for potential quality issues. Our presenters, when asked about the effort required to implement RealTime™, said it is “out-of-the-box, configurable, and ready to rock.”
Statistical Process Control
Next up to talk about Statistical Process Control (SPC) were Toby Huston, Training Specialist, and Lisa Palecek, Senior Solutions Engineer. The IQMS platform allows the user to perform inspections. This inspection information includes:
- Gages and Defaults = Measuring Tools
- Inspection Setup = Defining Parameters
- Quick Inspection = taking measurement
- Statistical Process Control (SPC) – Review and Analyze Statistical Data
Inspection Groups are defined during inspection setup, then the inspection is defined. Questions asked during this stage include:
- Who is performing?
- What is being inspected?
- When is the inspection being performed?
- Which gage/device is in question?
IQMS provides users with charts as the inspection is happening. At this stage, the solution also features a pop-up for open active Engineering Change Orders (ECOs) or corrective actions for specific parts.
Toby and Lisa further demonstrated built in Statistical Process Control (SPC) charts. The best part about this feature is the user gets to determine which view of the chart they want to see, in addition to the many options in how to create a chart, date ranges, sample size, etc.
To learn more about IQMS and their software offerings, visit their website here.