Training

Who will succeed in your business?

Succession plans do not usually feature highly on the priority list for small businesses. Yet failing to plan in this area can have a seismic impact on a business – particularly where the business owner’s departure is through unexpected illness, or worse.

The benefits of planning in this area are numerous. For staff, it provides a clearer vision for the future. For investors, it provides reassurance that there is contingency in place for when the business owner steps down. For the business owner him or herself, passing the reins to other trusted members of the team – albeit slowly – can help to address a work-life balance with which so many struggle.

Business owners can often find it difficult to let go; after all, their business is literally part of their DNA. However, any growing business cannot rely solely on the leadership of one or two individuals, and implementing a staged plan need not be daunting:

  1. Identify those key areas and positions that, where vacant, would have the most detrimental impact on the business’ ability to achieve its objective
  2. Compile a list of required capabilities of successors. Whilst it’s tempting to consider this solely according to department or function, the softer skills that help the business to function efficiently should not be overlooked. An individual’s ability to get things done by building upon their informal networks across departments, hierarchies or with external stakeholders is as important as any product, company and sector knowledge.
  3. Identify interested employees and assess their knowledge, skills, ability and experience. It is natural in small businesses to look first and foremost to long-serving members of staff, particularly when they are family members. But if the skills for both today and tomorrow are not present (and nor can they be coached), the contribution of incoming successors will pay for their onboarding costs many times over.
  4. Develop knowledge transfer plans so that the business owner’s years of experience can be harvested, allowing others to build on his or her legacy.
  5. Evaluate effectiveness. Succession is not a linear process; it is a collective process that requires buy-in across the business.

Succession plans need to be implemented slowly and methodically to ensure all are committed to making them work. The business owner needs to have confidence in his or her successors and empower them to succeed; and the team as a whole need to accept the new boss. Done well, succession planning is an opportunity to sow the values of the founder for many years to come.

To find out more about Cimteq’s own approach to succession planning, please email Katy Harrison, Marketing Manager, Cimteq, [email protected].

Cimteq to showcase Industry 4.0 capabilities at international conference

The Cimteq team are exhibiting at the IWCS 2019 Cable and Connectivity Symposium, which is taking place at the Charlotte Convention Centre in North Carolina next month (29 September – 2 October).  The company will also be part of the Symposium’s poster presentation, with a paper – ‘Applying Industry 4.0 to the Cable Factory Environment’ – prepared by Yufei Du, Cimteq’s Software Implementation Manager.

The presentation, based on Yufei’s paper, examines Industry 4.0 and explores its application to the cable industry at every level – from the shop floor through to product design, R&D, sales and finance – forms part of the wider conference.  In addition to the presentation at the symposium, accepted papers will be available in the symposium proceedings book and in the IWCS online archive.

IWCS is viewed as one of the premier events for exploring new technologies in cable and connectivity materials, products, processes and applications.  Delegates can explore the latest technologies within a symposium format and there is the opportunity to attend professional development courses with tutorials on basic and emerging technologies.  There will also be the chance to speak with leading industry suppliers at the exhibition and network with other industry professionals.

For over 20 years, Cimteq has been the world’s cable design and manufacturing software provider of choice, with customers spanning Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe and Australia.  Its presence at the show (stand #502) gives visitors the opportunity to meet Sales Director Richard Cotter and Account Manager James Concannon to find out more about how their businesses can take full advantage of Industry 4.0.

Cimteq’s CableBuilder software manages the complete cycle of cable design and manufacture through typical workflow milestones of Design, Customer Quotation, Ordering, Production, Quality Assurance and ERP system.

Customers across the globe renew year on year to derive the following benefits: accurate costings through consolidation of all relevant systems and applications into one application; waste reduction through digital twinning; and the automation of labour-intensive tasks. Quite simply, rapid design allows for rapid customer response, and with all the benefits of such a sprint to market.

Cimteq’s portfolio also includes its CableMES Manufacturing Execution System, specifically designed with the cable industry in mind. Customers of CableMES report an almost immediate impact to bottom line through maximising plant production, improving product quality, reducing inventory and ensuring on-time delivery.

Cimteq recognises that the cable and wire industry is fast-paced and increasingly competitive and seeks to reflect that in its own growth. The expansion of its senior management team and launch of the online Cimteq Academy are some of the initiatives launched so far in 2019.

For further information on Cimteq visit stand #502 to meet the team and learn more about how your business can reap the benefits of joining the growing Cimteq community, view Cimteq’s presentation on ‘Applying Industry 4.0 to a Cable Factory’ or email Katy Harrison, Marketing Manager, Cimteq, [email protected]. To arrange a personal demonstration, click here

Creating brand authority to secure investment

You know your business offers cutting-edge products, competitive pricing and quality customer service. But when your competitors are matching you in this area, how else can you differentiate your brand?

In a highly-engaged world, the creation of relevant and informative content can set leading businesses apart – setting the scene for interest and ultimately investment in your business.  When producing a content plan, it’s useful to break it down into the 5Ws and 1H of problem solving:

  • Who are you producing content for and why should they be interested? As a cable and wire manufacturer, your audience can typically be segmented into the following:

 

  • Customers who are looking for their ‘problem’ to be addressed
  • Investors seeking to add a high-growth business to their portfolio
  • Funders who want to achieve their own policy aims through funding innovative or employment-creating projects
  • Press and influencers within the sector who can quickly build credibility on your behalf
  • The Board whose personal integrity is very publicly aligned with your business
  • Staff whom you wish to retain in your business
  • Suppliers with whom you want to build a strong working relationship

 

  • What are they interested in? As you’re seeking to build up a picture of a well-rounded business, writing about topics that resonate with your audience will reassure them that your business knowledge extends to their wider issues

 

  • When are you expecting them to digest content? Publish your content at different times to find out what works for your audience

 

  • Where do you expect them to access your content and how does this dictate their attention levels? At their desktop or on the move?

 

  • Why are you producing this piece of content and why should your audience be compelled to action?

 

  • How will you present this content/ what form will be most successful in getting your message across? Examples include blogs, whitepapers, video, elearning courses, quizzes, workshops, infographics and speaking engagement

 

Cimteq itself is adopting this approach with its new Cimteq Academy where its many years of experience and expertise will be openly shared with the cable and wire community. Learn more at: www.cimteq.com

Cimteq’s energy efficient factory checklist

Improving your factory’s efficiency not only supports your reputation as a responsible business, it ultimately improves your bottom line.

Here’s Cimteq’s handy list on how to implement some simple changes:

Lighting

  1. Capitalise on natural light by maintaining clean windows and skylights
  2. Where possible, relocate staff and most regularly employed machinery to areas enjoying the most natural light
  3. Educate the workforce on turning off lights. The Carbon Trust offers downloadable posters in English to promote this practice
  4. Switch to energy-efficient, low-maintenance LED lighting
  5. Introduce occupancy sensors to take advantage of downtime and in discrete areas such as rarely-occupied overflow bays
  6. Employ daylight sensors to capitalise on additional light in Summer months.

Heating

  1. Set heating to be used only during occupancy
  2. Separate heated workspaces and offices from unheated storage areas
  3. Improve cavity and loft insulation
  4. Maintain thermostats and boilers for optimum maintenance
  5. Introduce de-stratification fans to recirculate rising heat from machinery from the top of the building back to the shop floor
  6. Introduce solar panels or wind turbines.

Beyond the factory

  1. Encourage staff to use public transport, car share or use bikes. There may well be tax incentives or grants to support these green transport initiatives.
  2. Introduce homeworking for part of the week for staff who don’t always need to be physically present in the factory (eg office staff) for zero commuting impact on those days

Whilst effective in immediately reducing carbon footprint, the impact of the changes outlined above are hard to better year-on-year. Not so where production software is concerned.  The flexibility of cable design software CableBuilder and cable management software CableMES allows users to implement new modules as and when needed. For each module implemented, there’s the opportunity to enjoy even greater efficiencies.

Production software

  1. Analyse your current manufacturing operations, outputs and reporting to identify which machines and processes are experiencing the most faults and could benefit from automation
  2. Create a baseline for improvement by calculating the costs of scrap and rework of the following:
    1. Cost of the scrapped raw materials
    2. Machinery and staff running cost of the re-run
    3. Delays in schedule of re-run
    4. Re-scheduling shipping
    5. Reputational damage where customers have experienced a delay
    6. Opportunity cost of designers working on labour-intensive tasks and not on product development
  3. Introduce design and manufacture software to not only reduce scrap and rework but to bring cost efficiency to every stage of operation.

Identify efficiencies for your business through Cimteq’s ROI calculator. Contact Katy Harrison, Marketing Manager, Cimteq, [email protected] for more information.

Powering the offshore winds of change with Cimteq

The benefits of wind energy are mainfold. Wind is a reliable and endless renewable which dramatically cuts carbon emissions. It is creating millions of new jobs across the world and creates an energy independence for those countries relying heavily on imported gas, coal or oil.

Offshore ambition

The UK’s offshore wind industry is still the largest producer of offshore wind energy in the world. Last year it announced its 2030 vision, with the ambition of powering an impressive 30% of all energy in the UK by this date.

Offshore wind is however an expensive business. The Carbon Trust estimates that 80% of insurance claims in this industry are made up of cable-related incidents alone. Cable suppliers are expected to produce the highest-quality cables that can perform well in the harshest of conditions. Achieving this without increasing the costs of production is however no mean feat.

Improving offshore wind productivity

The good news for offshore cable manufacturers is that Cimteq’s CableBuilder and CableMES software suite can significantly increase productivity through streamlinnig process:

  • Supporting cable design including cable length variation to ensure it’s entirely fit for the environment in which it is being used
  • Helping engineers construct a cable cross-section according to the diversity of the offshore wind operator’s requirements
  • Simulating the manufacturing process using rules to determine the lengths, material losses and the number of joints needed. CableBuilder3D provides an additional dimension on construction and performance
  • Monitoring the manufacturing process from start to finish. Every measurement taken is recorded against a point along the length of the cable, including any cuts and repairs. These precise calculations ensure the most accurate final prototype is produced.

The result? Streamlined design and manufacture of fit-for-purpose cables with optimised performance at installation.

Learn more about how Cimteq can power your offshore ambitions: https://cimteq.com/bookdemo

What’s keeping cable manufacturers awake at night?

Cable and wire manufacturers are facing unprecedented global challenges. Strong competition in particular is growing from countries with access to lower raw material and labour costs and greater Government subsidies.  Protecting market share against such aggressive pricing is at the forefront of every factory owner’s mind. Cimteq has shaped its software over some 20 years to help address the four key issues keeping cable manufacturers awake at night:

1.          How can we react to growing costs?

A staggering 80% of cable cost can be attributed to raw material alone. Any cost reduction in this area can have an immediate positive impact on bottom line.  The creation of a ‘digital twin’ is fully supported by Cimteq’s CableBuilder software.  Put simply, design engineers can quickly and accurately cost various models           before committing to the product line. The result? Time, cost and raw material saved.

2.          How can we avoid product failure?

Understanding any quality issues as soon as they arise significantly reduces the likelihood of wasted material. Cimteq’s CableMES’s automated quality recordings allow immediate response to any non-conformance issues at the earliest stages of the production process.

3.          How can we better react to machinery breakdown?

Machine failure is inevitable in a busy factory. However, every minute lost in production is a loss to profit. CableMES’s Supervisory system provides real-time visibility of the shopfloor, with the ability to manage production from a single screen. Real-time alarms ensure that machines are up and running quickly thereby limiting the impact to production schedules.

4.          How can we avoid losing our best people?

In order to stay ahead of the competition and bring new products quickly to market, design engineers need to live and breathe innovation. Yet too often they find their time spent on tedious tasks. Cimteq’s software effortlessly automates day-to-day tasks freeing up design engineers to accelerate product development and reclaim their job satisfaction.

 

How can Cimteq’s software benefit your bottom line? Contact Katy Harrison, Marketing Manager at Cimteq, [email protected] to arrange a personal online demonstration.

Cimteq welcomes two further additions to its burgeoning team

Cimteq is pleased to announce a further two additions to its team, further consolidating its growth ambitions for the coming five years. It follows the appointments of Cimteq’s new Financial Director, Development Manager, Project Manager and Office Administrator earlier this year.

Frederik Becker has been appointed as Regional Sales Manager and will be responsible for new business sales of CableBuilder and CableMES across EMEA. Frederik is no stranger to the wire and cable industry, having worked previously at managerial level at the highly-regarded measurement instrument manufacturers Sikora and Beta LaserMike (NDC Technologies).

Frederik comments:  “I wanted to join the Cimteq team as its growth plans are made all the more robust through its systematic commitment to product development. Whilst there are very many happy Cimteq customers across my EMEA area of responsibility, I look forward to convincing the remaining few of the merits in joining this flourishing community!”

On a personal note, Frederik loves to combine his two passions of food and travel, and appreciates the diversity of cuisine and culture across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Pippa Bindin also joins as Cimteq’s new Marketing Assistant and will support the development of marketing campaigns and strategies. Having recently graduated from Leeds Beckett University with a degree in International Tourism Management, Pippa seeks to put her interest in a global audience to good use by bolstering Cimteq’s presence on the world stage through planning exhibitions and social media and website content.

Speaking of her appointment, Pippa comments:  “I can’t profess to knowing my coaxials from my fiber-optics or indeed anything else about the cable industry! But I’m very excited to learn. I’ve just returned from my internship in Palm Beach, Florida. What made that experience most stimulating also applies to Cimteq  – the opportunity to build on a common aim with colleagues and clients of different nationalities.”

Frederik and Pippa can be contacted at [email protected] and [email protected] respectively.

3D development places CableBuilder customers firmly ahead of the curve

Cimteq is pleased to announce the latest upgrade to its cable and design software CableBuilder 3D.

Cimteq’s CableBuilder software manages the complete cycle of cable design and manufacture through typical workflow milestones of Design, Customer Quotation, Ordering, Production, Quality Assurance and ERP.

By freeing up engineer time to work on more innovative activities, CableBuilder customers are able to shorten the time to new product launch and enjoy the ROI that brings.  Its 3D imaging – fully integrated into a customer’s website – ensures that cable end-users have access to prototypes of the highest detail and accuracy.

The new development allows CableBuilder clients to create sectored cables in 3D.

The latest iterations to CableBuilder offer enhancements across a number of key areas:

Performance and Efficiency

  1. Processing designs in multiple threads
  2. mixMagic.e2keyVLookup() and mixMagic.e3keyVLookup()
  3. Scheduling
  4. Synchronous design indexing
  5. Bulk project processing

Additional Drawing Types

  1. 3D sector drawings
  2. 2D Grease under/under & over/over
  3. 2D Hatching

Additional Features

  1. SPC QA Module
  2. Inspection frequencies

Katy Harrison, Cimteq Marketing Manager, explains the reason behind this latest development:  “2019 is proving to be a significant development year for Cimteq. This new product iteration takes the opportunities afforded by CableBuilder 3D to a whole new level. Our new Cimteq Academy, which has recently launched and is now open for learning, further complements our software with resources on all things cable and wire manufacture.”

To arrange your personal demo of CableBuilder 3D’s new functionality, please click here to Book A Demo.

Cimteq’s Summer BBQ

Cimteq hosted a Summer BBQ for the team at Cimteq this past weekend at Royal Oak, Bangor – to thank the staff for all their hard work throughout the year. It’s a great location, set on the River Dee and a great chance for the whole team to have fun and socialize.

Katy Harrison, Marketing Manager, said “Cimteq holds a Summer BBQ for the team every year and it is a great opportunity for us to relax, get together socially and to meet our colleagues family and friends. We were really lucky with the weather this year and once again, Lee from the Royal Oak laid on an excellent BBQ”.

Cimteq would like to thank everyone for attending and hope everyone had a great time!

 

                               

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What place for cable in a wireless world?

Wireless is becoming increasingly prominent in industries from energy to consumer goods and food processing. Indeed, it also has a place in Cimteq’s own technology – CableMES’ remote sensors that monitor machinery performance and reduce maintenance costs as a result being one such example.

The benefits of wireless are numerous. As there is no mechanical wear and tear, downtime is reduced. It can also access new environments where a wired network is prohibitive – for example, hazardous environments such as at height or involving water, or simply where the scale of coverage through cabling would otherwise be costly.

In our increasingly wireless world, is there still a need for cable?

In the banking sector and other sectors transferring legal or confidential data, wired networks provide the required security. Cyber vulnerability increases significantly when using wireless which at best can result in privacy violation and at worst identity theft and its financial consequences.

Whilst typically more expensive, wired networks are reliable and stable in other ways. They are not subjected to the same interference from other traffic on the network which allows for a greater data transfer speed. Similarly, their performance is not dictated by proximity to the power source.

For many sectors, a concern that may override cost and convenience is reliability. The concept of the Internet of Things is being adopted within the factory environment at a much greater rate than ever before. Its role in connecting physical devices only increases the need for efficient, unfailing cables. In the same way, in fact, that all our Internet and mobile communication signals are facilitated by a fixed fibre optic cable network despite the fact that our mobile devices themselves may be wireless.

The best solution undoubtedly continues to be a combination of wired and wireless.