Memex Automation: Flexibility Improves Efficiency

Originally published online by SBW!RE.  Link to full article here.

According to John Rattray, of Financial OEE leader, Memex Automation, “Flexibility improves efficiency…Being efficient while responsive to shifting customer demand requires an enterprise-wide manufacturing transformation: moving from Manufacturing-to-Forecast (MTF) to Build-to-Order (BTO) which can create a dramatic payoff. Greater flexibility means allocation for most efficient production across plants, shifts or suppliers, resulting in a faster response to changing conditions and improved overall plant utilization. Greater efficiency reduces Work in Process (WIP), labor, scrap and rework, saving both time and money.

Improving manufacturing efficiency is a pre-requisite to better profitability and corporate success. Enhancing manufacturing performance yields huge advantages – from cost reductions to a stronger competitive position – which can be passed on to shareholders or customers. The trick is to be highly efficient while improving quality, expanding product portfolio, and becoming more demand driven.”

“Success is increasingly tied to improving manufacturing performance, and improving it quickly. Manufacturers are increasing their focus on the bottom line. This scrutiny is leading to renewed attention on manufacturing, where the most significant assets (plant and equipment) and costs are. Manufacturers need to cut costs, increase cash flow and become more responsive to changing market conditions.”

Rattray insists there are rules that will drive profitability to the bottom line.

Culture of Continuous Improvement

Having an enterprise platform for manufacturing operations real-time Key Performance Metrics such as OEE provides global visibility, across your operations. These capabilities let you easily identify and replicate best practices across your global operations while instilling a culture of continuous improvement across production, warehouse, quality, maintenance and labor activities. Standardized best-practices reduce cycle and takt times across your operations, helping to ensure On Time Delivery (OTD). Global, real-time visibility that is actionable on a 24/7 basis enables immediate resolution to operational disruptions.

North American Manufacturing can Compete with Overseas Outsourcing

Important Manufacturing Industry Information

There is a movement to prove that North America can be more competitive than China or offshore.  Consider that the “Reshoring Initiatives” that reduce the total cost gap from 30% to close to zero. Right there North America can be competitive with a level playing field. Add to this that Memex lean tools to increase efficiency 10-50%, there is a very compelling case for North America manufacturing to be more competitive than China or other offshore locations.  Now, with recent moves indicating that North America governments are serious, with unprecedented moves, about bringing manufacturing back to North America

So all combined:

  • Reshoring Initiatives with TCO calculations to reduce 30% cost gap to zero
  • OEE efficiency improvements of 10-50% on shop floor
  • Unprecedented federal financial assistance, 100% capital equipment write-off – should fund these projects.

North America can truly be more competitive than China in manufacturing!

According to Manufacturing & Technology News:

A new nationwide initiative is underway to convince companies that it is worth bringing manufacturing back to the United States. Illinois is the first state in the country to start a “Reshoring Initiative” aimed at large OEMs to re-open factories in America. Backers hope to create similar chapters in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and California.

Leading the charge is Harry Moser, a charismatic, straight-talking former CEO of a major U.S. manufacturing technology supplier who has received financial backing from major trade associations and companies.

Moser and his partners are trying to get manufacturers and their suppliers to use the total cost of ownership software estimator the Reshoring Initiative has developed to compare the China price to the U.S. price, including an estimation of risks. If Moser can get companies to run the data, what they usually find is that Chinese costs are 30 percent below those of a U.S.-made product, but once the total cost of ownership is included, that gap can almost be eliminated.

Business Outlook 2011 – Innovation Advantage

A recent publication, “Business Outlook 2011 – Innovation Advantage” that was put together by Canadian Plant magazine and Rogers Communications shed some interesting light on the manufacturing industry. It is based on a survey of manufacturing companies as well as a roundtable discussion with senior executives of leading manufacturing companies. Memex Automation was invited to participate as a supplier to the manufacturing industry, specifically David McPhail, President.

Some interesting notes about this outlook:

  • 77% of manufacturers identified improving productivity as a major issue.
  • 86% identified innovation is an important aspect of their competitive strategies.
  • Most panelists agree lean manufacturing is key to productivity improvement and innovation but adoption among survey respondents is just under half at 49%, suggesting there is much room for improvement here.
  • 91% of manufacturers have investment plans for 2011.
  • Process improvement tops the list of priorities for 2011.
  • Only about 40% of companies took advantage of the federal tax credit.

Much discussion was had about applying tax credits towards improving manufacturing productivity, all as a competitive advantage.

If you would like a hardcopy glossy reprint of the article, feel free to email to and we will mail it out, or go online.

2009 was a Banner Year!

Much work was done in 2009 with new product development and many customer deployments. The flagship OEE+DNC product was rolled out this year.

Many customers offered to work with us to evaluate its merits as well as many aerospace customers, including one in a corporate wide multi-plant rollout into production.  Going into 2010 we are working with about 2 dozen customers in various stages of deployment with this enterprise product offering 5-20% increase in productivity at the shop floor.

Memex’s engineering team continued in its reputation as the “Go To machine technology company”, and rolled out many new hardware and software products in 2009, from memory boards, the Ax750 I/O Link – Fanuc Interface Board, Ax2200HS High Speed File Server, AxDNC and AxConfig software tools and many other items.

Although it was a tough year for our manufacturing industry, our business paradigm of offering tools to increase efficiency was in demand, and we responded with solutions, attending trade shows, industry association events and delivering customer successes.

Company-wise, thanks to some timely positioning of resources, our investors and our employees along with our distribution channel are very pleased and we are ready to roll for 2010!

MTConnect and Memex Support Legacy Machine Connectivity E-mail Clarification

Dave Edstrom, President and Chairman of the Board for the MTConnect Institute, has requested that we clarify an earlier email where we stated, “A significant announcement at the show was the industry consortium, MTConnect, asked Memex to co-chair the Legacy Machine Tool Connectivity Working Group to develop industry standards, effectively endorsing our product direction.”

Dave Edstrom stated, “We are thrilled that David McPhail is the Co-Chair, with John Turner, of the new Legacy Machine Tool Connectivity Working Group. It is imperative that everyone understands that the MTConnect Institute has never and will never endorse any company, organization or set of products. This is why I asked Memex Automation to send out this clarification.”