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  1. Pyramid Software, Inc. was founded by Kevin Fenters in 1998.

  2. Growing up in North Carolina, Kevin's family worked in textile mills and farmed to earn a living. Kevin also worked in textiles through high school, graduated with a B.S. in Textile Chemistry in 1985 from NC State, and started his post-graduate career in textiles and had the opportunity to gain experience as a production floor worker, supervisor, department manager, plant chgemist, process engineer and division IT manager.

  3. Like many others, Kevin experienced the economic affect of off-shoring textile manufacturing, consolidation and downsizing. With an interest in automation, Kevin returned to school to attain a Master's degree in Integrated Manufacturing Systems Engineering from NC State.

  4. Pyramid Software provides services guided by three main principles.

    Agile and competitive manufacturers require systems that maintain and utilize accurate and real-time information across all areas of the enterprise.

    Agile and competitive manufacturers require systems that support its users in making critical business decisions at the optimal time and place across all areas of the enterprise. Such systems greatly reduce the cost of errors and new operator training due to high turnover.

    Agile and competitive manufacturers require information systems analysts, through internal and/or external means that understand there are hidden costs associated with technological innovation, know how to qualify and quantify these hidden costs, and design system requirements that are economically justifiable to the enterprise.

Pros & Cons of Technological Innovation

  1. Technological innovation provides value, but often creates costs that must be identified and managed. Consider a few of the innovations that have occured over the past 40 years in manufacturing.

  2. 1980's
    Pro Machine automation provides greater throughput and reduces variation.
    Con Manufacturers learn they also produce off-quality materials at that rate of throughput improvement leading to greater off-quality and the need to make faster decisions.
    Con Manufacturers learn any reduction in direct labor due to automation is offset by addition of indirect labor to maintain information and equipment.
    Manufacturers primarily rely on paper logs maintained by production operators to report the who, what and when of production activities.

  3. 1990's - 2000s
    Pro PC usage becomes more prevalent in manufacturing to run applications such as human-machine interfaces and data collection software which allow information workers to build their own productivity applications.
    Con Disconnected islands of information grow exponentially, often requiring information from other systems to function. Hidden costs to replicate common information across multiple islands occur and leads to decisions made using outdated (inaccurate) information.
    Suddenly process engineers, machine technicians, industrial engineers, planners and clerical workers played a vital role in maintaining information systems throughout the enterprise.
    The primary role of IT shifts away from manufacturing information systems to networking hardware and computer set up / maintenance. Many manufacturers start to rely on outsourced IT, and software vendors to determine the ability to utilize information in an optimum way.

  4. 2000's - 2010s
    Pro The internet becomes more prevalent in manufacturing to exchange information across the enterprise and other external locations.
    Con Movement of potentially time-sensitive and/or critical information become asynchronous.
    Con Critical information and systems become more subjected to viruses and hackers.
    The primary role of IT shifts further away from manufacturing information systems

  5. What areas in your manufacturing process would benefit from continuous process improvement and intelligent integration of your islands of information?