This blog is dedicated to open, interoperable manufacturing software and the coolest, latest and greatest things I see every day while conducting business under the banner of Inductive Automation.

Hello, my name is Steve Hechtman and I am president of Inductive Automation. During the span of one day there is more excitement, more discovery than I can possibly keep to myself. This blog is, therefore, my outlet. WARNING: This site is highly biased in favor of the most powerful, affordable manufacturing software in the world - Ignition by Inductive Automation!

Automating Business Processes Can Save U.S. Jobs

Recently, I was talking to corporate engineers at a major United States company that has adopted Ignition with a vengeance. They said, "You know what we're doing, don't you? We're saving U.S. jobs."

I've always felt this was the case. But you can't just plop down Ignition and expect to automatically save jobs. Ignition has to be thoughtfully integrated against existing business flows; then if you did well, you can make the same statement as the company above.

I'd love to tell you more about the company that was rejoicing over the phone about saving jobs in America, but we're under a non-disclosure agreement because they are serious about keeping their new-found business advantages.

Better Efficiency Begets Better Jobs
There is another company that generated reams of paper every day just to keep track of their operations. They are in the food industry and have stringent genealogy requirements. The amount of double, triple and quadruple data entry was astounding. Now it's all electronic using Ignition.

You might say, "well, what happens to all those people's jobs?" The answer is they still work there, but in better, more productive, more rewarding jobs. That company is now more competitive. Similar stories are rolling in every day from Ignition users.

A "Living Application" Example
Our own customer relationship management (CRM) system is an example of making everyone's job better. Way back in 2005 we were being overwhelmed administratively on just the traffic we had at the time. We had a hard time tracking everything that was going on. We were doing it all manually and it was labor intensive and not very scalable.

So we took every one of those existing business flows and automated them using Ignition. Everyone knows what's going on. The sales pipeline, all communications, tech support history, knowledge base, statistics of many types, website back-end, license activation and history, quotes, email, phone, appointments, cameras, you name it, it's probably there. And every single day there are updates rolled out to the multitude of open clients, which adds even more functionality.

It's a living application which keeps up with our business processes as we improve them. Ignition makes "continuous improvement" attainable in reality. There is just no way to communicate how our CRM has taken all the internal friction out of our operation and for that we're far more competitive than we otherwise would have been. And it didn't cost us a million dollars.

The Right Mix for Automating Business Processes
Why is Ignition so adept at automating business processes and creating paperless plant floors? Because Ignition is a rapid application development (RAD) tool, because it can easily talk with almost anything in the enterprise, because it has an amazingly simple deployment model, and because it has flat server pricing so you can scale it out without dealing with oppressive economics.

As I mentioned before, achieving these efficiencies doesn't happen auto-magically. It still requires someone who knows existing company business processes as well as a familiarity with Ignition and databases. But with these in place you can do miracles and be the hero.

What many companies are doing here in America today with Ignition is breathtaking. I've seen many of these applications and I'm just thinking, "Wow, these guys have got to be deadly to the competition – such ingenuity." Ingenuity certainly hasn't left America.


Anonymous said...

There's life outside America you know. You're missing out on a lot of business by ignoring it.

Steve said...

Oh, I assure you we aren't ignoring the rest of the planet. In fact, we've delivered thousands of systems in over fifty countries. My post was directed at the fact I have seen evidence of many US companies using Ignition primarily to increase their competitiveness. To them, it is far more than a SCADA system.