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Adopting CIM Software



Adopting CIM Software | 22 January, 2001

When adopting a new CIM system, it would seem that a large strain could be placed upon the IT department. When putting such a sytem in place, what can be expected interms of needs for the IT department? When planning such a move what changes should be implemented in terms of upgrading the department in terms of both personnel and hardware?

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Jason Spera


Adopting CIM Software | 22 January, 2001

Traditional client-server type CIM systems have required rather heavy IT support, and therefore many companies evaluating CIM systems are understandably concerned about the cost associated with this support. Recent technology advances have radically reduced CIM system support requirements. The architectural design of the solution dictates the load placed on your IT services department more than any other factor. Virtually every CIM supplier promotes "enterprise" and "multi-facility" integration. However, only specifically designed systems are actually capable of operating in large scale deployments. If deploying a properly designed system, you probably already possess adequate client-side capabilities (perhaps only an increase in the number of clients will be required) and you may use existing datacenters and servers as well.

Things to look for in large scale systems: 1)A true browser front-end for system access, not just reports. Web portals are often auto-upgrading to take maintenance load away from IT services. 2)A system built upon one database and without reliance on files. This centralizes all information and eliminates unsynchronized data. 3)A scalable system able to use your existing data centers and distribute active server load across factilities efficiently. 4) Truly web-centric, n-tier solutions are the easiest to deploy and maintain. They make the use of thin clients viable, and extra-corporate visibility a reality. However--beware the terms "web-enabled" or "web-ready", which don't actually mean anything in specific.

With regard to planning a CIM deployment: Unfortunately, there is no standard answer to the hardware upgrade question, since every customer's needs are unique. Encourage your IT services personnel to work closely with deployment engineers at your CIM vendor. Demand a technical deployment plan and have the vendor explain the structure of the system in detail. Consider options such as thin clients and use the personnel from your vendor as a learning resource so you can make educated decisions about your own hardware choices. In general, if your CIM system is designed properly, IT services should not need to allocate any more personnel than presently available. If you really take the deployment planning seriously and work with the vendor's deployment engineers, you'll quickly see the product you learned from the sales process diminish and the actual technology of the system come through. This might actually serve as a good benchmark when evaluating systems for their design. Remember that CIM solutions are supposed to save your corporation money and allow you to operate more efficiently, not create overhead and additional personnel requirements.

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