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Moldmakers now have a reason to look at ERP

Moldmakers as a group have been slow to adopt full-blown enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems for their businesses. While many continue to develop Bills of Material (BOM) through their mold design software and track job-related inventory using spreadsheets, IQMS, a designer and developer of manufacturing ERP software for repetitive, process, and discrete industries including plastics processing, offers a new method for these tasks.

Clare Goldsberry

April 8, 2013

2 Min Read
Moldmakers now have a reason to look at ERP


IQMS announced last week the release of its SolidWorks add-in to its EnterpriseIQ ERP system in a joint venture. As an established CAD application with 3D design capabilities, used by many mold manufacturers to create mold designs, moldmakers can link parts, tools and other assembly file details and configurations to create ECOs and cross-populate the inventory, create bills of material (BOMs), and more from within the SolidWorks menu.

IQMS Vice President, Glenn Nowak, told PlasticsToday that controlling inventory is a critical aspect of a moldmaker's business. EnterpriseIQ’s interface with SolidWorks is unique in that it eliminates the need to enter data twice: once in the design software program and a second time in the ERP system. “You can control your inventory in SolidWorks without having to export a file out of SolidWorks and then import it into EnterpriseIQ,” said Nowak. “You can use the inventory master in IQMS because IQMS is not interfacing with the SolidWorks program—it is the SolidWorks program.”
   
Jason Slater, Automation Group manager for IQMS, explained that when IQMS first started down this path, they looked at a synchronization tool, but decided on the add-on instead. “The add-in is similar to what you might see in Microsoft Outlook, in which you plug in functionality to the apps and see a new icon on the tool bar,” he said. “We have that same sort of concept in that we’ve added EnterpriseIQ to SolidWorks and plugged our system into SolidWorks. That means you don’t have to leave SolidWorks to enter data, but can keep working in SolidWorks to add data into the EnterpriseIQ system. You can see the EnterpriseIQ system in the SolidWorks system.”

Using the document control application, moldmakers on the shop floor can pull up a drawing through the IQMS system and check it out to machine a component, as the system allows drawings to be checked in and checked out.  Also through the document control system, the moldmaker can see the final revision because the system keeps track of the most recent revisions made. Only the most current revision is made available to the shop floor.

“The document control system keeps people from stepping on other people’s work,” said Slater. “If someone has the file open and is making changes, I can’t open that file until the first person completes the task.”

“To have a successful business model moldmakers need to track job costs, inventory, purchasing and all various functions that go into designing and building the mold,” said Nowak. “The really small shops may not change from the spreadsheet format, but for midsize to larger companies, the transition from spreadsheet to a full ERP system like EnterpriseIQ embedded in SolidWorks will provide some powerful functions and offer real benefits.”

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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