nMetric Tackles PLM

Adds product lifecycle management functionality to shop floor software for mid-market manufacturers

Costa Mesa, CA  November 20, 2002  Software company nMetric today rolled out new product lifecycle management (PLM) functionality in its shop floor software for mid-market manufacturers.

nMetric said its 4C@Site software will allow midsize manufacturers to affordably track final assemblies, subassemblies and components by lot and serial number while achieving real-time scheduling, monitoring and tracking of manufacturing status.

The suite lets users identify assemblies individually or as part of a set, the provider said, and the system also validates the uniqueness of serial numbers for final assemblies and components.

"Bringing product lifecycle management down to the factory floor in an affordable manner is a key attribute for midsize manufacturers," said Tom Carpenter, nMetric CEO. "Both they and their customers can have instant feedback on who built an item at what workstation at what time with what components and parts, when it was ready for shipment and for whom it was built."

Users can record information on which resources, such as a part, tool, materials or labor, have been consumed and used when manufacturing a specific product. Control types are configurable by the user and include serial number, lot number, expiration date and spool numbers, among others. Resource tracking information is then available for genealogy and product tracing. "This is an essential element of PLM that has been absent from traditional PLM software," Carpenter asserted.

nMetric said that 4C allows manufacturers to monitor orders continuously at every moment throughout the production process in real time to assure status and provide notification to all members in the supply chain if delivery expectations are not going to be met. When and if resources or demands change or might change, 4C attempts to resolve any problems that could affect delivery dates and/or proactively notifies all specified parties so they are aware and can plan accordingly.

In the event of prospective large shifts in plans or resources, users can use 4C to manually determine the impact of various "what-ifs" on present order dates in the queue. Management can then better anticipate what the effects of each change will be before making them, the provider said.

Carpenter suggested that this type of software is critical to link mid-market manufacturers to the "virtual supply chains" extended out from larger manufacturers. "If these firms are out of the virtual supply chain, then the chain is not complete, which limits the speed of business even for large companies," Carpenter said.