Content By Thomas R. Cutler

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Customer relationship management (CRM) usually refers to sales activities, and CRM software is commonly purchased, and occasionally used, to track potential customers, existing customers and sales activities.

“Contract manufacturing is unquestionably a relationship business. CRM must manage the relationship bringing maximum value to both parties; CRM is and has been key to successful long-term partnerships. Customers rely on their contract manufacturer for the core of their business, and quality validation, corroboration, open communications and the supplier-customer relationship are critical for success,” says Larry Caretsky of Commence Corp.

According to ISO 9001, manufacturing companies seeking a product definition or answers to service and marketing questions must get such information from their customers. The ISO standard requires companies to establish processes for identifying customer requirements and communicating those requirements throughout their organization, as well as processes for tracking and analyzing customer satisfaction. The standard has direct application for CRM, particularly for contract manufacturers.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Customer relationship management (CRM) usually refers to sales activities, and CRM software is commonly purchased, and occasionally used, to track potential customers, existing customers and sales activities.

“Contract manufacturing is unquestionably a relationship business. CRM must manage the relationship bringing maximum value to both parties; CRM is and has been key to successful long-term partnerships. Customers rely on their contract manufacturer for the core of their business, and quality validation, corroboration, open communications and the supplier-customer relationship are critical for success,” says Larry Caretsky of Commence Corp.

According to ISO 9001, manufacturing companies seeking a product definition or answers to service and marketing questions must get such information from their customers. The ISO standard requires companies to establish processes for identifying customer requirements and communicating those requirements throughout their organization, as well as processes for tracking and analyzing customer satisfaction. The standard has direct application for CRM, particularly for contract manufacturers.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Food quality and safety are priorities for consumers, and from Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to the Bioterrorism Act to lot traceability, food manufacturers are responding. Reputations and brands are at risk when safety concerns and product recalls are front-page news. There are many recent examples from spinach to pet food; the cost of low quality can be brand-killing.

As the Jewish population continues to decrease, kosher foods are migrating into the mainstream. According to a recent Mintel report on kosher foods, more than 55 percent of respondents who buy them feel that kosher products meet a higher standard of safety and health than nonkosher items.

Although different religious practices guide the diets of Jews and Muslims, the high-quality standards applied to kosher and halal foods are remarkably similar.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Food quality and safety are priorities for consumers, and from Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) to the Bioterrorism Act to lot traceability, food manufacturers are responding. Reputations and brands are at risk when safety concerns and product recalls are front-page news. There are many recent examples from spinach to pet food; the cost of low quality can be brand-killing.

As the Jewish population continues to decrease, kosher foods are migrating into the mainstream. According to a recent Mintel report on kosher foods, more than 55 percent of respondents who buy them feel that kosher products meet a higher standard of safety and health than nonkosher items.

Although different religious practices guide the diets of Jews and Muslims, the high-quality standards applied to kosher and halal foods are remarkably similar.

Kosher food products

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

More than 13 hours per week creating documents and nearly seven hours per week organizing documents are common among small and midsize engineer-to-order (ETO) manufacturers; four hours per week are spent managing document routing and another 10 hours per week searching for information. All this time searching for documents is waste and counter to lean initiatives and established efficiency metrics.

According to Ricardo Talbot, chief science officer for Elmo Solutions, “The biggest distinction in effective search tools that create and manage engineering documents is the capability to index, retrieve and display a wide range of CAD (computer-aided design) and imaging documents from AutoCAD, other Autodesk-flavored applications, Autodesk Inventor and SolidWorks.”

It’s economically viable to deploy CAD and product lifecycle management (PLM) document retrieval tools because, according to Talbot, “Our original intent was to develop and market a full-fledged technical document management [TDM] system with sophisticated document retrieval and viewing features, revision, approval control, workflow, really the whole enchilada.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

More than 13 hours per week creating documents and nearly seven hours per week organizing documents are common among small and midsize engineer-to-order (ETO) manufacturers; four hours per week are spent managing document routing and another 10 hours per week searching for information. All this time searching for documents is waste and counter to lean initiatives and established efficiency metrics. According to Ricardo Talbot, chief science officer for Elmo Solutions, “The biggest distinction in effective search tools that create and manage engineering documents is the capability to index, retrieve and display a wide range of CAD [computer-aided design] and imaging documents from AutoCAD, other Autodesk-flavored applications, Autodesk Inventor and SolidWorks.”

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Dairy plants are among the heaviest users of municipal water in the United States, using two gallons of water for every gallon of consumer product produced. The clean-in-place (CIP) systems that daily wash and sanitize every truck, tank, pipe and surface in the plant use the greatest amount of that precious water and waste the most as well. The cost of CIP water is high, because much of it has to be heated, chemicals must be added to it and cities levy charges for the use of municipal drain systems. A typical CIP system pushes water and chemicals through dairy plant equipment at 100–200 gallons per minute, although the required rate of flow (5–6 ft per second) across processing surfaces can be accomplished with much less water. Until recently, few companies even knew how long this flow should continue to ensure complete cleaning. It’s common for dairy manufacturers to deal with even minor quality problems that may be CIP-related by increasing time in each step of the CIP wash-and-rinse programs. Most of this water—and sometimes all of it—makes one pass through the equipment and then goes straight to drain. For each minute added to the wash in an attempt to correct quality, another 100–200 gallons of hot water go down the drain. In cleaning a typical dairy plant, three or four steps of each CIP program run water to drain.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

Dairy plants are among the heaviest users of municipal water in the United States, using two gallons of water for every gallon of consumer product produced. The clean-in-place (CIP) systems that daily wash and sanitize every truck, tank, pipe and surface in the plant use the greatest amount of that precious water and waste the most as well.
The cost of CIP water is high, because much of it has to be heated, chemicals must be added to it and cities levy charges for the use of municipal drain systems. A typical CIP system pushes water and chemicals through dairy plant equipment at 100–200 gallons per minute, although the required rate of flow (5–6 ft per second) across processing surfaces can be accomplished with much less water. Until recently, few companies even knew how long this flow should continue to ensure complete cleaning.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

The hiring practices of manufacturing companies have become increasingly lean. The old processes of advertising, screening, interviewing, hiring and training are riddled with waste; it’s both too expensive and extremely time-consuming. The hiring shift to staffing companies has become increasingly cost-effective and an efficient, lean shortcut for manufacturers to acquire the right people with the right skills at the right price. Many executives are examining their hiring practices, training practices and employee retention rates as their enterprisewide lean initiatives land at the door of the human resources (HR) department. The plant floor, back office and most other aspects of the company have been evaluated for elimination of waste, but HR hasn't. The rationale for this hiring process shift isn’t the same throughout all industrial sectors, nor is the quality of each placement organization the same. Generic placement organizations that can place a warm body in a position at the last minute often prove more costly and wasteful than the staffing organizations that recognize the specific personnel requirements and nuances of an industry.

Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

The hiring practices of manufacturing companies have become increasingly lean. The old processes of advertising, screening, interviewing, hiring and training are riddled with waste; it’s both too expensive and extremely time-consuming. The hiring shift to staffing companies has become increasingly cost-effective and an efficient, lean shortcut for manufacturers to acquire the right people with the right skills at the right price. Many executives are examining their hiring practices, training practices and employee retention rates as their enterprisewide lean initiatives land at the door of the human resources (HR) department. The plant floor, back office and most other aspects of the company have been evaluated for elimination of waste, but HR hasn’t.The rationale for this hiring process shift isn’t the same throughout all industrial sectors, nor is the quality of each placement organization the same. Generic placement organizations that can place a warm body in a position at the last minute often prove more costly and wasteful than the staffing organizations that recognize the specific personnel requirements and nuances of an industry.