Engineering Today started in 1982 providing consulting, design, custom tooling (Small Cavity Work, Tool and Die), and Injection Molding. Built on Doug Henry’s years of experience developing over-molding solutions, cable assembly, and various other engineering solutions on the West Coast.
In 1995 after experiencing a wave of growth it became clear that Engineering Today needed a small business software solution to help with several objectives:
- Job Costing for the Custom Fabrication
- Labor Collection for the Machine Shop operations (Milling. EDM, Fabrication etc…)
- Materials Tracking for costs
- Purchasing Controls
- Inventory Control and Usage
- Sales Order processing
- Customer Contact Management
- Order Entry
- Shipping, Document Generation (Packing Slips, Invoices, Shipping Documents)
- Manufacturing Control
- Work Orders
- Lot Number Tracking
- Machine Setup and Inspection
- Manufacturing History and Records
As they began to research solutions, similar to today, there was abroad rage of offerings. Many were far more complex, very rigid in their approach, or so expensive as to be out of range. This resulted in setting up and designing their own custom database solution.
Starting with Nutshell Plus (a DOS based database application), moving to ULTRA Plus, and then the earliest versions of Microsoft Access, Engineering Today began collecting data, and processing it. As time went on, numerous modifications in both the application and the methods continued improving the application.
Eventually, Engineering Today had a full functioning database operating system that worked for reporting, analysis, monthly Time and Materials Billing, remote data sharing and more. in 1997 a recent startup organization (across the street), Onshore Technologies, had a need for an MRP (Materials Requirements Planning) solution. The General Manager, with extensive experience at Westinghouse, General Electric, and other manufacturing companies wanted a simple, direct solution. Engineering Today providing the framework they had developed, and even more development and maturation occurred.
Shortly afterward, a startup organization, Affinity Medical Technologies, involving the aforementioned organizations, was looking for an inexpensive, real data solution for their medical device manufacturing. They purchased the data solution developed at Engineering Today, and incorporated many of the element developed at Onshore Technologies. The plan was to use the software until the size and revenue goals required a jump up into something larger.
This software ran the organization from startup through to its eventual purchase by Molex in 2013! After years of growth, with revenue far exceeding the original specs, the software developed at Engineering Today worked as a constantly evolving framework far beyond the intial expectations.
Spinning off into Master Solutions
Starting in 1997, Sean Henry took the framework he developed and worked with a totally different company, His Life Woodworks, and implemented what eventually became an end to end software solution. Both Sean, and the owner John Johnson, started a software company called Master Solutions. Master Solutions began selling this software to cabinet shops, and then eventually many different kinds of manufacturing operations throughout the USA and Canada. Master Solutions soon licensed the software to a vertical software company that provided design and manufacturing software Planit Solutions (now Vero Software) to the cabinet making industry.
Since this time. Sean has maintained, developed, customized, and supported the database application (called Business Master) for hundreds of different people at dozens x dozens of organizations across the USA and Canada.
Business Master has become a basic frame work based on a standard Microsoft Windows/Office platform. This allows the simplest and most effective support scenario, requiring basic windows desktops and laptops with a standard network. Business Master can be scaled up to Microsoft SQL, and interconnected with Web and Mobile based solutions.
Real World Consulting
One of the most direct results of installing and supporting software installations in myriad industries is the reality that software is not the only part of the solution. The solution is the final step allowing a whole mix of processes, concepts, information, behaviors, and people to accomplish their actions. In a well designed solution, users should experience many things:
- Minimal Entry of information
- Maximum reuse of data wherever it is needed.
- Centralization of information
- No duplication of data
- Accurate data entry
- Easy maintenance and support
In addition, the majority of the processes in a small business manufacturing organization tend to operate in a vacuum. Many small buisinesses don’t have the typical big business corporate structure and rule (which is often good!) but also lack the comprehensive business management understanding. After so many years of working with, learning from, and supporting clients, Master Solutions ends up having significant Business Process Management (BPM) understanding, and provides a resource to our users on how other businesses handle similar problems. Often we spend as much time helping users understand HOW and WHY to do things as much as showing them how to use the software.
Whatever your needs are, Master Solutions can help you evaluate your needs, determine f software or process (or both) is the problem, and what we can do to help you.