Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)


Workforce Development April 10, 2009

Communicate this: Knowledge-based solution solves IT helpdesk incidents “in one call”

The RightAnswers Unified Knowledge Suite offers users a “personalized,” knowledge-driven, self-service environment by capturing, combining, and enhancing an organization’s diverse knowledge, and then delivering it in a consistent and accessible format.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
Workforce Development March 31, 2009

Alarming developments: Manufacturers rethink quality management to keep risk out of new product intros

To combat global competition during the U.S. economic downturn, some manufacturers have been reevaluating their quality management strategies. The belief is consistently high product quality will be the key differentiator in achieving competitive advantage.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
PID, APC March 24, 2009

Eco-friendly design: Software ensures all materials meet environmental standards

Doing business in other countries means understanding everything there is to know about environmental regulations. Product development specialist PTC helped the APC division of Schneider Electric do just that by leveraging InSight, a solution that supports product compliance tracking at the substance, material, part, and product levels.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
Workforce Development February 23, 2009

Query this: Advanced search brings blue-sky simplicity to an enterprise PLM environment

It’s getting easier to conduct such searches within enterprise systems as vendors add in more refined functionality. For one, Aras, a Microsoft enterprise open-source software solution provider, says new options allow access to cloud-based search services in Microsoft Live Search and GlobalSpec’s Web-based engineering part, product, and specification database.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
Workforce Development February 21, 2009

EAI advisory: Winshuttle data-entry solution simplifies changes in SAP without straining IT

You’ve heard the call, but it’s time for manufacturers to “do more with less.” Research out of Boston-based Aberdeen Group shows some companies doing just that. How? In a survey of more than 150 companies, the key strategy of the best-in-class is integrating desktop tools with enterprise applications to improve productivity.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
Manufacturing IT, MES January 20, 2009

Small business advisory: Launching and managing EDI doesn’t call for undue IT burden

Starting up an EDI initiative can be a costly and time-consuming project for small and midsize businesses with limited IT resources when it comes to managing the software, network services, and support necessary for EDI. Read here about options that can facilitate an EDI launch.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
PID, APC November 26, 2008

Tight as a drum: RFID-enabled e-pedigree simplifies product tracking, traceability

There are plenty of valid applications for RFID, but sometimes the technology just doesn’t seem practical. Now that doesn’t have to be the case. Case-in-point involves Dow Corning, a global supplier of silicon-based technology, which recently implemented an RFID application to tag and track 55-gallon metal drums filled with liquids—materials that usually prevent reliable reads.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
Manufacturing IT, MES November 24, 2008

Chasing the rabbit: Expert resource reveals what makes a market leader 

Executives and managers at industry-leading companies often focus on operations to continuously improve enterprise performance. But Steven Spear, a senior lecturer at Cambridge, Mass.-based MIT—in his book, Chasing the Rabbit—offers up a whole new look at innovative strategies used by notable companies that have established themselves as market leaders.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
Info Management November 1, 2008

Voice-directed warehousing & distribution report speaks to new heights in accuracy

While much has been done to improve operations in distribution centers and warehouses, there's always room for improvement. In fact, results of a recent study conducted by Boston-based Aberdeen Group find best-in-class companies want to maximize organizational value across their supply chain operations.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
System Integrators September 1, 2008

Kepware partnerships solidify hardware/software connectivity

Manufacturers need information from equipment and lines on the plant floor, but the prevalent issue that remains connectivity between hardware and software. That's where Kepware Technologies, a leader in embedded device communications for automation, has made a name for itself. Roy Kok, a Kepware VP, says two new programs in particular allow hardware vendors to leverage Kepware's OPC and device...

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
Manufacturing IT, MES June 1, 2008

Front-end sales tool brings newfound simplicity to complex products manufacture

Just because a company makes complex products doesn't mean configuring a sales proposal or a sales order needs to be complicated. Unfortunately, complexity is too often the case for sales in high-tech, industrial equipment, health care, and software/services. But that's not the case for best-in-class companies, which typically employ sales processes and technology that enable their sales forces...

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
IIoT, Industrie 4.0 June 1, 2008

SAP SCM enhancements seek to simplify partner ecosystem interactions

Adapting to changing market conditions is considerably easier said than done when the business network includes global employees, suppliers, customers, partners, and distributors. That's why SAP will release a next-generation supply chain management solution later this year, one that is being developed with customers to address supply chain responsiveness and integration with partner ecosystems.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
Process Safety April 1, 2008

Pharma makers secure full chain of custody using Acsis track & trace

It's one thing to track drugs moving through production; following them throughout the supply chain is the bigger headache—and one for which there is no magic pill. “As an industry, pharmaceutical manufacturers are taking steps to quickly respond to evolving patient safety requirements,” says Andre Pino, chief marketing officer at Acsis, a track & trace solutions supplier.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
HMI, OI April 1, 2008

Rockwell and Cisco back network integration via standard Ethernet technology

Optimizing network integration across the factory floor and throughout the enterprise using standard Ethernet technology brings IT standards onto the plant floor, and is an expressed goal of a growing number of manufacturers. Taking measured steps to help them achieve that goal, Rockwell Automation—a global provider of power, control, and information solutions—and networking solutio...

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
Info Management March 1, 2008

Monitoring, reporting play key roles in tracking, reducing GHG emissions

PPG Industries uses a database solution from ESS, a provider of environmental, health, and safety (EH&S) and crisis management software, to monitor 130 manufacturing facilities. While the system meets PPG's need today, Jerry Osheka, director of environmental compliance for the Pittsburgh-based coatings and specialty products supplier, says PPG is always looking for a better way of doing thi...

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
Process Safety November 1, 2007

Network security appliance protects plant operations from malware

As manufacturers rely on the Internet as the means to run applications—and the vehicle for sending and receiving email—concerns about network security grow in equal measure. One issue, says Charles Kolodgy, research director with Framingham, Mass.-based analyst firm IDC, is determining what type of security product should be used.

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
Energy, Power November 1, 2007

The SAK puts the clutch on business-critical communication using Neverfail exchange

Anytime the power goes out or a server goes down, it reminds people just how much they rely on email in the workplace. That's why more manufacturers are looking for high-availability solutions. “They realize that uninterrupted email is mission-critical, and the goal is to keep users connected no matter what,” says Rhoda Phillips, research manager for storage software at Framingham, ...

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
IIoT, Industrie 4.0 November 1, 2007

Pet products maker knows the rules for systematic compliance labeling

Compliance labeling is routine now for manufacturers in many vertical industries. But it still remains complicated, and keeping costs to a minimum is an ongoing goal—just ask CIO Roy Gallagher. “Roughly 90 percent of our sales revenue comes from Wal-Mart, Target, Petco, and Petsmart, which require specific label formatting and content,” says Gallagher, CIO at Doskocil Manufact...

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
Workforce Development October 1, 2007

Quality grows “in Stature” for innovative electronics components leader Molex

Manufacturers with design and manufacturing facilities around the globe must ensure enterprisewide uniformity of practices. Now there are several ways to do that. For Molex—a Lisle-Ill.-based global supplier of electronic components tasked with maintaining consistency within its product development process—it involves Dyadem's FMEA-Pro7 (failure mode and effects analysis) software ...

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)
HMI, OI September 1, 2007

Ethernet networks—already the standard for office settings—move into the plant

The best approach to passing data between plant-level and enterprise systems—an issue manufacturers have wrestled with for years—could be to simply run a few extra feet of Ethernet cable. At least that's a method now being endorsed by some large IT vendors. “Customers want linked architectures supporting both the office network environment and the factory floor,” says P...

By Jim Fulcher, contributing editor (jimfulcher@comcast.net)