Chasing the Weakest Link

nMetric rolls out collaborative manufacturing system for mid-market

Costa Mesa, CA  November 14, 2001  "In the manufacturing world," software company nMetric tells us, "the weakest links in your supply chain determine your ability to compete."

Strengthening that weakest link for mid-market manufacturers is the self-declared mission of this startup solution provider, and to that end the company announced this week the release of its new Manufacturing Collaboration system

The new system is, nMetric says, "based on a real-time, live-processing engine that provides event-driven scheduling, multi-site monitoring, intelligent messaging and critical analysis to resolve at-risk orders, capacity constraints, engineering changes or other operational events that inhibit the timely completion of customer orders and notifies all who need to know in time to make a difference."


The collaboration system complements nMetrics current offering, a suite of applications, called 4C, designed to provide mid-market manufacturers with ongoing information about the status of the manufacturing processes.

Here's how company CEO Tom Carpenter explains the business pain that the 4C suite addresses: "Instead of monitoring the flow of orders from work center to work center, traditional supply chain management systems simply monitor the flow of materials from site to site. Decisions are made about deliveries without knowing what can be manufactured in time. Our 4C suite provides management with visibility of those variables that impact the timely completion of customer orders."

The new collaboration software schedules, monitors, analyzes and optimizes site level activities in real time. It supports live departmental messaging and collaboration with other departments regarding the status of work orders, labor, materials, shops operations, engineering changes and other operational activities.

nMetric says that the 4C suite also manages enterprise-level activities among internal operating divisions in multi-site environments, supporting internal collaboration among sites, as well as summarized or consolidated reporting by a plant, company or division. Likewise, the new company says that the new solution monitors market-level activities among customers and suppliers in Web-enabled supply chains, supporting external messaging and collaboration with customers and suppliers, allowing manufacturers to maintain a balance between supply and demand for their production resources.

"Industry has migrated from a build-to-stock to a build-to-order paradigm," said Carpenter. "Today's manufacturers must be able to immediately determine their ability to build if the product is not on the shelf. Traditional systems  including MRP [material requirements planning], ERP [enterprise resource planning], APS [advanced planning systems] and MES [manufacturing execution systems]  are unable to be responsive to constantly changing order volumes and mixes, design specifications, tooling and fixture shortages, and the many other variables in the manufacturing mix.

"Our 4C solution responds to these changes, assuring orders are on-time, costs are reduced and margins get increased," Carpenter concludes.

nMetric is due to provide the new 4Csystem through systems integrators and software implementers.