Exception service + outstanding products = Industry 4.0 readiness
LYNQ software products for Exact and Macola Software help SMBs take steps to future proof their manufacturing environments.
Meet our friends at LYNQ
LYNQ is a global provider of manufacturing execution system (MES) software targeted at small to midsize manufacturers across a variety of industries.
For years the Exceptional Software Solutions LLC and LYNQ teams have partnered together to help SMBs running Exact Macola ERP meet the business challenges of a new economy. LYNQ manufacturing operations management software helps SMBs with planning and scheduling, factory performance analysis and loss management.
We recently had the opportunity to sit down with John Grima, director of sales and marketing at LYNQ, to look under the hood of their software and its partnership with Exceptional Software Solutions LLC. We wanted to discuss how the two teams are helping to potentially “future proof” customers’ manufacturing environments to help them get ready for Industry 4.0 and the digital supply chain era.
Q. Tell us about the LYNQ and Exceptional Software Solutions LLC partnership.
A. Tod Replogle and the Exceptional Software Solutions, LLC (ESS) team are a genuine value-added reseller. Exceptional Software Solutions LLC is so focused on value for the customer. They are very professional, and we enjoy working with them and their customers.
Many Exceptional Software Solutions LLC customers have a real need for better planning and scheduling so that is the impetus for them seeking an LYNQ-like solution. These customers understand there are better ways of doing things. Together our two teams — LYNQ and Exceptional Software Solutions LLC (ESS) — go through a detailed process of understanding customers’ current situations, their requirements and how they could be better going forward with the right additions to their Macola software.
Q: John, for those unfamiliar, what is LYNQ and how does it integrate with Macola Software or Exact Solutions?
A: Smart Manager MES for Macola extends native Macola functionality in the area of manufacturing operations management. Our solution is a single web-based platform that is easy to install and quick to deploy. It provides support to achieve a complete manufacturing life cycle — planning, scheduling, publishing, collecting, tracking and analyzing — to optimize and improve end-to-end manufacturing operations within your Macola ERP.
How often do you publish the production schedule for the day only to hear from the floor that the raw materials have not been received or a machine needs more time for setup — putting the entire plant behind? With Smart Manager, you can gain significant operational efficiencies and execute flawless production schedules.
Frontline managers have full visibility of who is doing what, where and when with live tracking of the execution of scheduled work orders on the shop floor. They can measure the performance of their resources (machines and humans) with three key performance indicators: total effective equipment performance (TEEP), overall labor effectiveness (OLE) and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). These tools help to identify, quantify and classify losses with powerful loss-management analytics. Having a closed-looped, end-to-end solution in place makes a huge difference to our customers competing in global markets.
Q: Which kinds of organizations benefit most from LYNQ’s software?
A: Smart Manager is perfect for small to midsize manufacturers in job shop, batch job or mixed-mode environments. It consists of three core components: planning and scheduling, shop floor data collection, and factory analytics and loss management.
In addition, Smart Manager includes a single Macola company database connection, and 20 named users as standard. It is compatible with all versions of Macola including EM10 and the production order processing (POP) and shop floor control (SFC) modules. Macola’s MRP module is not mandatory. Smart Manager performs time-phased material calculations so customers can see the captured BOM on the work order and any material shortages before scheduling production — it’s like it has its own mini MRP included.
Customers will often start with getting their planning and scheduling right before they move on to shop floor data collection and tracking. With Smart Manager, it is possible to eliminate paper on the shop floor and receive issue alerts when a machine goes down or performance of a work center drops below a set threshold.
Q. Can you help us understand some particularly useful features of LYNQ?
A: Our very recent software release contains the ability to publish production plans to the rest of the business on any browser-based device. We also now have the ability to collect data directly from machines and equipment that have PLCs or sensors on them. This helps the customer digitize the shop floor.
Q. Each SMB operation is different. How can products and services offered by Exceptional Software Solutions LLC and LYNQ adapt to each unique environment?
A: Sometimes customers want something very specific added to their environment and processes that don’t come with our standard software outlay. They need something tweaked to work within their environment. In these situations, the ESS and LYNQ partnership really shines. Exceptional Software Solutions LLC is great at gathering the customer requirements and general comments and at executing the necessary planning that comes with these types of engagements. LYNQ is also very customer-focused. After all, we want a win-win.
Q: When firms implement LYNQ, what’s most often the wow moment for them?
A: Once it is implemented fully and used live, management definitely sees the benefit. There are considerable improvements in the way firms are managing their operations. They’re improving resource performance — it is a very eye-opening experience for them. They’re finally able to fully understand where the losses are coming from. Then they’re able to reduce losses and improve margins. For example, the daily cost of a computer numerical control (CNC) machine is significant. Maybe that machine is not loaded effectively. We fix that.
Q: Sometimes organizations running Progression and ES resist upgrading to Macola 10. Have you seen any aha moments from your customers that have completed the upgrade?
A: You hit on something that is important. Sometimes customers will not know what they need until the software is implemented and live in the environment. For this reason, before the customer moves forward with any upgrade, there needs to be a detailed requirements discussion with the solution vendors to try to drive out what the needs might be. We can’t always be the best fit, but we strive to be. For those organizations that don’t fit, we consider their requirements in a future release.
As part of any implementation, we perform detailed factory and master data reviews. We make suggestions anywhere we think a process change could be beneficial. When we get to implementation, we set up and configure the software in a test environment and run a pilot for a while. Inevitably, our customers come forward with any additional requirements during this stage.
Q: What would you like more customers to know about LYNQ and Exceptional Software Solutions LLC?
A: Together, we offer the resources, knowledge and professional approach focused on customer success. The combination of Exceptional Software Solutions LLCs’ extensive Macola experience coupled with our understanding of manufacturing can be truly beneficial to the small and medium manufacturing customers out there. Customers are in safe hands when they choose our team.
Together, our teams can potentially “future proof” their manufacturing environment to ensure they’re ready for Industry 4.0 and the digital supply chain era. We have a very forward-looking solution focused on the digital factory floor. Customers today know they need to better automate and eliminate manual processes to stay ahead of the competition. In effect, we can digitize the shop floor for better control; we can connect floor machines into our software to collect data automatically.
We offer that combination of great service and surety that the solution is the right fit. Customers get true value by extending ESS Macola into the manufacturing environment.