When I hired Kevin in 2019, it was just the two of us, and we were very busy. So even though I briefly welcomed him when introducing him to our customers, he didn’t receive the welcome he deserved.
Now that we hired two new employees this year (Dawn and Pete), and officially welcomed them on this blog, I felt it was only right to give Kevin the same kind of welcome. Without further ado, meet Kevin Payne.
I first met Kevin through his previous job as an injection mold maker. The company he was working for needed to upgrade its DNC software. Kevin knew he wanted to use CIMCO software, which led him to contact Managed Solutions.
After the software purchase, I let Kevin know I would send the license key and set up deployment and configuration. Kevin told me he wouldn’t need anything other than the key. Years later, I told him I was 100% sure I would hear from him within a week after sending the key. That never happened.
A few years after this, I posted a comment on LinkedIn which led to a conversation with Kevin. That’s when I mentioned that Managed Solutions was expanding its Southern California business. This was fortunate for Kevin as he needed a change. The long commute and physical demands of his job were beginning to take a toll on his health and his family life. He desperately wanted to be able to spend more time with his kids. I promptly hired Kevin to work for Managed Solutions in 2019.
“The single biggest change is just the amount of extra family time I’ve had,” said Kevin.
At Managed Solutions, Kevin does more innovative deployments like integrating ERP systems with Machine Data Collection or Manufacturing Data Management. He thrives on getting into the practical details of the database and has a true affinity for numbers. He is very resourceful and tenacious when it comes to getting to the bottom of a problem.
I’ll let Kevin take it from here.
Getting into the Nitty-gritty of the Database
What I love about the work is there are instances where we’ve talked about something we’d like to do, and we’ll go back to CIMCO developers and say, “Look, the customer is trying to do this, is this possible?” And to that end, we’ve been able to make several major changes to the software to facilitate a customer’s need. The fact that Managed Solutions is willing to do this, and CIMCO is willing to support us, gives us a major leg up on other companies who operate in our space.
With CIMCO software, it’s not a question of can it do what we need? It’s a question of can it do what we need right now? We have to adapt to meet the customer’s needs. Being able to manage those needs in a way that makes sense to the customer’s current workflow, and making it a seamless transition to a workflow that includes CIMCO software, is a big part of where we stand apart from others.
For example, I am doing a major data collection setup for manual machines right now. There’s no computer running in the background, no calculations going on, the machine does a very simple job. Our team added external devices to capture signals which turn into useful data. Once the data is implemented, we can do graphing and look at utilization, stoppages, and a variety of other items. The client can insert information on a touchscreen, right at the machine. It’s a pretty slick system that Joe dreamed up, and we figured out a way to execute it.
Another example: If there is no access to historical data it is really difficult to make improvements, to pinpoint issues and fix them. Clients can go back and look at the last time they read or every time they run the job. Maybe they notice a job took 20% longer this time. They can review and compare to spot an issue they didn’t know they had. They now have the data. So the engineers look at it and discover they need to change the hose, and that fixes the feeding problem.
A job that was a pain to run now runs really smoothly because they could identify places for improvement.
Having a manufacturing background, I can really appreciate this. Sometimes there are little idiosyncrasies operators aren’t aware of. They might think “that thing always runs (in some quirky way or another).” But trying to explain it to others is rarely simple. Someone would have to come over and watch the process. And if they’re willing to watch, they’ve probably seen the same thing before and accept it for what it is.
That is super low-tech as far as root cause analysis goes. Now, engineers are coming out of school with more sophisticated training. Give them the right metrics and data which make sense to them, and the outcome is huge.
Making the Case for Data Collection
There are some operators who think data collection is “Big Brother” watching. I tell them it depends on how you look at it.
When viewing data as a helpful resource, those operators will now be able to give detailed explanations for downtime or any other issues to anyone who questions them. This gives them ammunition, or more importantly, bargaining power.
Data can easily be a justification for more equipment or more people. If you’re constantly slammed, and utilization is 85% every day, then you have a compelling argument to justify more equipment. During your annual review, you can justify your work (and a raise) by showing your boss you are consistently 10% more efficient than anyone else in the shop.
Explaining data collection in this way generally turns the tune of the operators to a more positive one. They just needed to know how to use data to their advantage.
CIMCO software is super-configurable, but I like to tell customers the chances I’ll configure it the way they want the first time is basically zero unless they tell me exactly what they don’t like. If they’re upfront with me, and tell me what is not working for them, we’ll work through it.
I can make it better for them. Make one minor change, and suddenly things are running much better. The closer we configure the software to be exactly what the employees on the floor need and want, the more likely they will be to use it.
And this, folks, is Kevin in his element. Give him a problem to solve and he excels at digging into it, finding the cause, and making things better for our customers.