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Meet the Team Series: Jodi Juretich, CFO

Posted by Cimetrix on Jun 8, 2017 11:45:00 AM

JCimetrix-Jodi_Juretich_copy.jpgoin us as we meet the Leadership Team of Cimetrix in the second post in our “Meet the Team” series.

Jodi Juretich joined Cimetrix in May 2007 and was promoted to Chief Financial Officer in November 2008. She has over 15 years of experience in executive accounting management for private high-growth companies and 10 years of public accounting experience. Prior to joining Cimetrix, Jodi was Vice President of Finance for two venture funded private companies, General Manager for a subsidiary of Monster.com, and an Accounting Manager with a division of The Times Mirror Company (Los Angeles Times). She has played key roles in raising venture capital in start-up organizations and led Cimetrix in implementing and managing the new Sarbanes-Oxley compliance requirements. Jodi earned a bachelor's in Business Management from Westminster College. Juretich grew up in Titusville, Fl., where her father worked for NASA, but has been living in Utah for almost 20 years. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Utah Foster Care Foundation.

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What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

I moved to Salt Lake City in 1996 and I celebrated my 10-year anniversary with Cimetrix this year. It’s an interesting story of how I got connected with Cimetrix and proof that networking works! A local CFO consulting firm had my resume which they passed on to a local CPA firm, which happened to be Cimetrix’s CPA firm at the time. They passed my resume on to Cimetrix and the rest is history. I was attracted to Cimetrix because it was a small company and had strong leadership with heart and passion.

What's your favorite thing about working at Cimetrix?

Most definitely the people, without a doubt. Cimetrix’s core values include Integrity, defined as “Upholding the Highest Ethical Standards in Everything We do”. I could not work for a company where bad behavior or unethical practices were tolerated.

What do you think makes a good CFO?

A good CFO must be suspicious of everything and can’t be bamboozled by anyone, no matter the circumstances. I am responsible for making sure the books are clean, people are doing what they say they are doing and we are making decisions based on increasing shareholder value and not personal or “alternative” agendas.  I am proud to say that we have our financials audited by independent third-party auditors each year and this year, we did not have any audit adjustments. My peers in the finance world know that’s no simple accomplishment. I have an incredible accounting team and they are committed to maintaining solid internal controls to prove there is no monkey-business going on.

CFOs at smaller and mid-size companies often wear a lot of different hats, tell us about your experience with that.

I have worked for small companies for most my career and have had similar experiences at all: You must be agile as a CFO of a small company because there are not layers of people to delegate responsibilities to. You must recognize your own capacity in terms of work load and technical expertise and know when to ask for help. Establishing good relationships with third-party professionals as well as your own network is vital. No one knows everything and you must be prepared to call on those relationships when necessary.

Do you have a favorite quote?

“If you say you can, you will, if you say you can’t, you won’t.” I continue to be amazed at what we, as human beings, are capable of. During the mortgage crisis when businesses were closing right and left, including many of our clients, Cimetrix survived. A business must have grit to survive hard times and Cimetrix has lots of grit.

How do you deal with challenges that come up in your work life?

I like to reflect on the Basic Principles, which I learned from a wonderful employer a long time ago.  

    • Focus on the situation, issue, or behavior, not on the person.
    • Maintain the self-confidence and self-esteem of others.
    • Maintain constructive relationships.
    • Take the initiative to make things better.
    • Lead by example.
    • Think beyond the moment.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Since 2012, I’ve been competing in triathlons, completing 3 half Ironman’s and 2 full Ironman’s in the last 4 years. This year, I am committed to relaxing a little more, taking a few more vacations with my husband and son and work in my garden.

What's the best thing that's happened to you in your time working at Cimetrix?

The best thing that’s happened to me at Cimetrix is the professional growth, feeling that I make a difference and friendships made. Cimetrix is a great place to work.  

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Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Working at Cimetrix, Cimetrix Culture

Meet the Team Series: Robert Reback, CEO

Posted by Cimetrix on May 24, 2017 4:27:00 PM

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Join us as we meet the Leadership Team of Cimetrix in this first post of our “Meet the Team” series

Bob Reback — has served as President and CEO of the company since June 2001. Bob joined Cimetrix as Vice President of Sales in January 1996, was promoted to Executive Vice President of Sales in January 1997, and became President on June 25, 2001.  Bob grew up in Wisconsin and is an enthusiastic Green Bay Packers fan. We talked to Bob about how he got started at Cimetrix, the makings of a good CEO, and the challenges of running a global business.

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What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

My background was in robotics and factory automation. I worked at Texas Instruments in the ‘80s when TI’s business was booming and had the opportunity to deploy leading robotics and factory automation technologies of that era. I became involved in the semiconductor industry in the mid-80s with an important project which was one of the first applications of clean-room robots and the SEMI Equipment Communications Standard (SECS) to fully automate a lithography bay. This led to additional factory automation projects with the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers, including the first uses of the new Generic Equipment Model (GEM) standard. In the early ‘90s, I moved to California to work for FANUC Robotics, the world’s largest robot maker. While at FANUC Robotics, Cimetrix called and recruited me. Cimetrix had a unique concept for a PC-based open architecture robot controller, which had the potential to disrupt the growing robotics industry.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Cimetrix?

There are several things that get me really energized. The first is meeting with a client who is an enthusiastic reference for Cimetrix. Fortunately, these meetings now occur on a frequent basis, and have become our expectation. These meetings are very enjoyable and personally satisfying, as I get to hear wonderful stories about how Cimetrix team members worked hard and took extra care to help our clients. The second thing is seeing the individual professional development of the great people who work at Cimetrix. We invest a lot in building the Cimetrix culture, emphasizing continuous improvement, and establishing shared values. It is a joy to see Cimetrix employees grow in not only the skill sets of their craft, but also in their professional careers.

What do you think makes a good CEO?

Well, I believe there are a number of things necessary to be a good CEO. First, I believe the focus must be on creating long-term value and building a company that lasts. This means looking at “What is best for Cimetrix?” over the long term. You must consider the interests of shareholders, clients and employees, while also ensuring every decision reflects the Company values. I believe the values and culture of the company start at the top. The CEO must personally possess the values he or she wants in the company, and demonstrate those values by example. They can’t just appear on a poster on the breakroom wall - you’ve got to really live and breathe them. They should be communicated and celebrated regularly, and there must be consequences for those whose actions do not reflect the company’s values.

Second, being a good CEO means being a good teacher who is able to listen, understand, empathize, and mentor. To do this, the CEO must be secure in his position - slow to blame others for problems, and quick to give credit to others when good things happen.

In addition, I believe the CEO must have passion and perseverance in the business. You never know what challenges may arise, and the CEO must be ready and able to lead the team in overcoming whatever obstacles the world may throw at us. It’s important for the CEO to have passion in order to articulate and reach alignment on the vision for the company, because you need people to be excited and energized about their role in fulfilling that vision.

Do you have a favorite quote?

People at Cimetrix know I read a lot of biographies, and can pull out quotes for almost any occasion. If I had to choose one favorite, I would go with the classic Vince Lombardi, “The will to win is not nearly so important as the will to prepare to win.”

How do you deal with challenges that come up in your work life?

First I refresh my memory and review what were the real goals and objectives we were trying to achieve. Then I try to understand the possible options, how much time we have to make a decision, and whether or not we have time to gather more data. We also always check to ensure that any decision reflects our company values, and discard options that might not reflect them.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to read on a wide variety of topics, especially history and biographies. I believe in doing some physical exercise on a daily basis, which might be running, biking, golfing, or skiing. I’ve also developed an interest in mindfulness and meditation which has led to some formal classes, retreats, and a regular yoga practice.

What’s the best thing that’s happened to you in your time working at Cimetrix?

Without a doubt, it would have to be all the wonderful people I’ve come to know, which includes clients, shareholders and employees. It also gives me genuine pleasure to see the company grow, and to work with satisfied clients and the truly great team of people we have here at Cimetrix. We’ve invested a lot in continually improving our software products, and know our clients can use our products to achieve success in their projects. We’re also seeing the financial rewards that come with that growth, using our profits to invest in some new products and markets to support that growth over the long term. It’s exciting for me to consider what’s possible in the next phase of our evolution as a company. We have a clear vision for how we can grow our markets, expand our product offerings, add more value for our clients, and do all that in a way that provides a good return to our shareholders. 

Finally, we know you travel quite a bit with your job. What have you learned from your travels?

For the past 20 years, Cimetrix has developed a client base across the US, Europe and Japan. This has provided many opportunities to travel to semiconductor regions in the US, such as the Bay Area, Portland, Phoenix, Austin, Boston and many other cities. We have clients in almost every European country, each with its own culture and work habits. Japan was the first Asian country in which we developed a meaningful client base. Japan requires a lot of patience as it has a unique culture, but once you establish a solid reputation and client base, it is a great place to do business.

Recently we’ve been developing business opportunities in Taiwan, Korea, China and southeast Asia. It has been fascinating to recruit staff and open offices in these areas, as each country has its unique ways of doing business. Cimetrix has become a truly international company with a diverse group of employees, as we now have employees from many different countries.

If I had to summarize what I’ve learned, it is that even though we have employees and clients from a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives, we also share many similarities. People want to be treated with respect, they want to be appreciated for their contributions, they want to be part of a team in which they take pride, and everyone wants to provide a good living for their family. I am convinced we can build a great company with employees from many different backgrounds while also having a shared Cimetrix culture and set of values.

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Thanks Bob for a great interview!

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Working at Cimetrix, Cimetrix Culture

Making Cimetrix Lean

Posted by Richard Howard: Director of Tech Ops on May 3, 2017 12:40:00 PM

lean-six-sigma-green-belt-t.pngDo you have waste in your organization?  Does your organization do things that seem inefficient? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you might want to consider Lean.  If you answered no, you are in denial!  We all have processes and procedures that are inefficient.  Processes and procedures tend to grow over time with items added on to address changing business needs or special cases.  At some point, the process has grown so huge that two things occur: (1) It becomes very fragile, such that small changes tend to break it or (2) it is so very intensive that the resources it requires outweigh the benefits it provides.

To determine if you suffer from excessive process and should consider investigating Lean, I would recommend you ask yourself the following questions:  As a business, what are we doing that is less productive? How can we eliminate inefficiencies and implement change to address a problem? How do we know if the change made a difference?  Will that difference bring value to our clients?  These four questions are the key to making meaningful changes and getting rid of entropy and waste in an organization.  This is how you introduce Lean principles into your organization.  Cimetrix began introducing Lean last year: Here is our story.

David Warren, Director of Software Engineering, initially introduced the concept of Lean software development through a book club he started for the Engineering group.  David’s book club read the book Implementing Lean Software Development, From Concept to Cash by Mary and Tom Poppendieck.  The book provides insight into the seven lean principles as they apply to software development.  The timing our study of the the Lean concept coincided with the Cimetrix All Company Gathering.  David proposed doing a value-stream map of one of our key processes as an exercise for the entire company as one of our large group activities.  To ensure the success of the activity, David found a local consulting company that is proficient in Lean to conduct a hands-on workshop for the All Company Gathering activity.

Our first workshop in Lean was conducted by Alan Davis of Promontory Management Group.  The initial four-hour workshop focused on generating an as-is map of our process for handling our Software Change Requests (SCR).  The process involved identifying each of the steps currently used for addressing an SCR as well as the time lapse for each step.  Every member of Cimetrix was involved in identifying the steps involved.  At the end of our workshop, there was a great desire by all involved to look at the next step of how to identify our pain points and look for areas to improve our processes. 

The interest by all our employees was great enough that we changed the schedule for the following mornings activities to continue with a follow-on workshop. During that workshop, we identified several pain points that could be addressed.  The top five were identified, by consensus of all involved. Alan Weber put together a proposal for training a group of Cimetrix employees in the process of Lean Six Sigma using the five identified pain points for hands on training.  The Round Table, our leadership team, felt there would be value in moving forward with implementing lean processes in Cimetrix.

The employees who would be trained in the Lean Six Sigma process, and be responsible for the projects, were taken on a volunteer basis.  Nine people volunteered for the training.  I was one of the volunteers and was assigned to be the facilitator for the overall Lean Six Sigma training.  The training occurred over the course of the next five months for the volunteers.  This was done in addition to each members’ regular work requirements.  The training focused on the principles of Lean.  Terms such as DMAIC, 5-whys, baseline metrics, and ROI were not just studied, they were put into practice by the project leads.  Each project lead put together a team consisting of Cimetrix employees to tackle their assigned project.

Each project lead was awarded a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification at the conclusion of their training.  A celebration was held to present the awards to each of the project leads.  I would like to congratulate:

  • David Warren
  • Brian Rubow
  • Tami Traci
  • Brent Forsgren
  • Jake Strong
  • Mohammad Islam
  • Jesse Wright
  • Kim Daich

Each project lead did an outstanding job both as a participant and as a team leader in this process.  They took on the responsibility of learning, leadership and project execution in a manner that is true to the core values of Cimetrix. 

Topics: Working at Cimetrix, Cimetrix Culture

President's Letter to our Cimetrix Community

Posted by Robert H. Reback: President and Chief Executive Officer on Feb 2, 2017 11:30:00 AM

To the Cimetrix community of clients, partners, shareholders and employees,

Cimetrix had another year of solid progress during 2016. Financial results were in-line with expectations, as Cimetrix continued to achieve profitability every quarter with full-year revenue in the $6M to $7M range.

Our key highlights include:

  • Cimetrix continued to enhance its reputation for product quality and the highest levels of customer support in the industry, receiving consistently excellent feedback from our client base.

  • Cimetrix continued to invest in building great products with new releases of all our product lines. Substantial improvements were made in both new features and internal testing that will benefit our clients for many years. 

  • Cimetrix gained additional “design wins” for its products in North America, Europe and Japan, where the company has an established presence. In addition, Cimetrix won important new clients in China and Korea. 

  • Cimetrix strengthened its organization as we added a number of new employees in business development, software engineering and technical support functions. The Company continued to invest in employee development, education and continuous improvement. We believe the concepts and training we’ve received in lean and agile processes will enable Cimetrix to build better products and more efficiently provide our clients with the highest levels of service. 

  • Cimetrix made a number of key investments that we believe will lead to future long-term growth. We strengthened our local sales and technical support in a number of Asian countries. We developed a number of new product prototypes in collaboration with key clients leading to the introduction of an exciting new Cimetrix product in 2016. Several other new products are in development and have the potential to significantly expand our markets.

Cimetrix also held its first shareholder meeting since going private in late 2014, which provided a forum to explain to shareholders why the Company took that important step, the progress we’ve made since going private, and our future plans. As a result of generating positive cash flow from operations, Cimetrix was able to continue providing liquidity for shareholders that contacted the Company. Prior to going private, the Company had over 4.5M shares outstanding, adjusted for stock splits. As of December 31, 2016, the Company had fewer than 3.9M shares outstanding. This means that every current shareholder’s ownership percentage has increased by over 15%.

Going Forward

Going forward, industry analysts predict an increase in semiconductor capital equipment spending for 2017. In addition, we are seeing increased traction for the relatively new SEMI Standards for Equipment Data Acquisition (EDA), also known as Interface A. We believe these trends will enable us to achieve short-term incremental increases in revenue that support continued operations on a profitable basis and investments in new products and markets that will lead to longer-term step function increases in revenue.

We will continue to focus on satisfying our worldwide base of clients, improving our efficiencies and effectiveness, and executing our plan to expand the markets for Cimetrix products for long-term growth.

From all of us at Cimetrix, we thank our clients for the trust they have placed in our products and our team. We also thank our shareholders for their patience and support. 

Sincerely,

Robert H. Reback
President and Chief Executive Officer

Topics: Partners, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Working at Cimetrix, Cimetrix Culture, Announcements, Investor News

The Right Stuff

Posted by Jodi M. Juretich: Chief Financial Officer on Mar 31, 2016 1:09:00 PM

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Over the past six months, Cimetrix has hired some fantastic new employees in a number of positions, including software engineering, quality assurance, client training and support, and even some new administrative positions. As we are always searching for good employees, there are times I reflect on my father’s legacy of over 30 years with NASA and think of all the challenges NASA faced finding good people in their quest to put a man on the moon. I remember him talking about the “young kids” coming into the organization. By the way, those “young kids” are now my age and older, including many that are retired. Today I find myself using the same term, “young kids” and, as I do, I catch myself and laugh.

Finding “The Right Stuff,” if you will excuse my cheesy reference to the movie version of the Mercury 7 first manned space flights in the early 60’s, is no easy task—especially in these days of low unemployment for highly skilled technical people. But we have found if you make the investment in your recruiting process, you can attract smart talent and greatly increase your chances of finding superior employees that enjoy high job satisfaction, fit well with the team, and contribute to the success of the organization.

To make a successful hire, we move slowly and take our time getting to know the candidate. Our philosophy is that everyone has natural strengths and talents. A good fit is when a potential new hire can leverage their natural strengths and talents in the job function and matches the core values of the company. The right job for anyone is the job that provides an outstanding opportunity to apply those natural strengths and talents in teamwork with others towards a compelling vision and opportunity. You must find someone who possesses the skills your company is looking for, shares the same core values as the company, and is priced at a range that is equitable in the organization. If there is misalignment in any of these core characteristics, DO NOT HIRE.   

A good recruiting process takes patience but, with patience, comes risk. If an employer take too long in the recruiting process, they risk losing a good candidate to other offers. On the other hand, if a company possesses the clout of, say, Google, patience becomes the burden of the candidate and not the hiring company. According to Laszlo Bock, author of Insights from Inside Google, ‘Work Rules’ that will transform how you live and lead, Google may take six months to make an offer. I suspect in the early 60’s, NASA carried the same clout as Google because almost everyone in America wanted to be part of creating history.

Bottom line, recruiting is an investment in a long term relationship. Be thorough. Involve a large number of employees across the organization in the hiring and decision making process. The initial interaction on how a candidate treats the receptionist can be very revealing. Administer “talent tests” to validate required skills. Call references. Perform the necessary educational and other background checks. Take the candidate to lunch in a more social environment and observe how they interact with others. Leave no stone unturned. If you are diligent in the recruiting process, you may just find “The Right Stuff” for your organization.

For more insight into successful hiring, read How to Think About Hiring: Play Smarter to Win the Talent Management Game by Lex Sisney, CEO Coach and author of Organizational Physics.

Topics: Working at Cimetrix, Cimetrix Culture

New Emerging Business and Technology Office

With the new year, comes a major new initiative for Cimetrix to grow the markets for its products.  The company used the transition to 300mm manufacturing to establish a leadership position for its current product portfolio in the semiconductor industry. However, the company is starting to have success expanding into adjacent vertical markets that includes disk drive, display, LED, and photovoltaic. The objective of this new initiative is for Cimetrix to leverage its experience, technology, and product portfolio gained in the advanced semiconductor manufacturing industry to expand the markets for Cimetrix products. We will be exploring new opportunities in our current adjacent markets as well as possible new markets such as SMT and electronic assembly.

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To head up this initiative, Ranjan Chatterjee has joined the company in the role of Vice President, Emerging Business and Technology Office. He will focus on extending and introducing Cimetrix’ portfolio of products into Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) initiatives by interfacing manufacturing equipment with big data and analytics tools. The data generated by devices connected via Cimetrix products can also be enlisted to bolster another methodology often used with lean manufacturing—Six Sigma. With the improvements in cloud and big data tools and infrastructure, one can use these methodologies on data with much bigger volume, velocity, and variety. This enables process control and a lack of variation of products. Processes can be monitored and corrected in real-time instead of inspecting machines merely at completion, and eventually this will help improve yields and reduce scrap. Specifically, manufacturers will need to establish a robust data infrastructure that works across the broader array of machines on the shop floor while breaking down protocol barriers so the machines can communicate effectively and in real time.

Manufacturers will also need to establish a bidirectional data flow so they are not only collecting information from equipment, but also pushing control back to the machines to optimize their usage. Manufacturers that can capture the right information, sift through it, and use it at the right time will be the ones that succeed.  Cimetrix intends to be a leader in enabling this vision. Ranjan’s decades of experience at Motorola and in the industry as a whole in software development, big data, cloud, process control, and lean manufacturing will enable Cimetrix to both adapt and develop products and partnerships to enable a robust ecosystem for a compelling solution.

Ranjan’s relationship with Cimetrix is not a new one as he is a former client. While at Motorola, Ranjan oversaw the development and deployment of a standards-based factory control system for SMT and assembly, which encompassed 24 factories around the world, and connected to over 20,000 pieces of equipment using the first generation of Cimetrix connectivity software. At that time, it was the leader in cell phone manufacturing and the largest purchaser of SMT equipment in the world. More recently, Ranjan has worked with companies developing and deploying systems using cloud technologies, big data analytics, and various modern technologies with a global software development team.

Ranjan is extremely excited to join the Cimetrix team as he sees many opportunities to leverage the latest cloud and big data analytics with Cimetrix core expertise and product portfolio into new markets for Cimetrix. He sees great potential for expanding Cimetrix in this new direction and we here at Cimetrix are looking forward to Ranjan leading the way.

If you are interested in discussing possible business opportunities and/or partnerships with Cimetrix with this new initiatives, please fill out our contact form to reach the Emerging Business and Technology Office.

Topics: Working at Cimetrix, Cimetrix Culture, Announcements, IoT

To the Cimetrix Community of Clients, Partners, Shareholders, and Employees

I believe that 2015 will be viewed as a significant turning point in the history of Cimetrix. When I accepted the role and responsibility of president and CEO of Cimetrix in 2001, Cimetrix was a publicly traded company. In addition to the normal challenges of running a business, Cimetrix was required to comply with all SEC reporting obligations. When the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) imposed additional financial reporting obligations with increased internal controls, Cimetrix was required to spend even more time and money. I’ve always believed if you are going to do something, you should do it to the best of your abilities. Consequently, Cimetrix dutifully fulfilled its quarterly SEC reporting and SOX compliance obligations. Every year independent SOX auditors performed the required annual audit and their reports always concluded that there were no material weaknesses in our financial reporting or internal controls.

IMG_5110.jpgFor a small company like Cimetrix, we can be proud of these accomplishments. We are very thankful to have had Jodi Juretich as CFO for these past eight years. Jodi managed the company’s financials and was responsible for preparing all of our SEC filings. For those of you not aware, the SOX laws include significant personal liability for the CEO and CFO in the event of any material errors or misstatements. As a result, while we had no idea how many people might read our SEC filings (other than the fact that we know our competitors all meticulously read each and every one), each filing had to be reviewed not only internally, but also by SOX compliance consultants, auditors, lawyers, and the board of directors. Significant management time and precious time with our board of directors was spent reviewing and approving SEC filings. As I hope everyone can appreciate, this represented a huge burden for a small company like Cimetrix. In addition to the hard costs that we estimated at approximately $250,000 per year, it is difficult to overstate the amount of energy in terms of management time and attention that went into reviewing and approving not only the financial statements, but the mandatory narratives for these quarterly SEC filings.

Since the introduction of SOX, many public companies have made the decision to go private, and we received a lot of advice over the years that Cimetrix would likewise be much better off as a private company. As you can imagine, however, there are many factors that go into such a decision. We always considered what is best for our shareholders, clients, and employees. Accordingly we were careful and patient in waiting for the right opportunity. From our perspective, that opportunity arose last year, which allowed us to go private without the need for external capital or any dilution to our shareholders. We believe it was an excellent use of the company’s cash to remove the ongoing “tax” of being a public company, which we accomplished in late 2014.

As I reflect back on our first year as a private company, there were a number of highlights in 2015.

  • The change in management focus has been remarkable. From the board-level to the daily and weekly operational meetings, the focus is now centered on clients, products, and strategy. How can we better serve our clients? How can we operate more effectively and efficiently?

  • Maybe the timing was coincidental, but Cimetrix also completed a major corporate organizational restructuring in early 2015. We involved ten of our key employees in an off-site workshop to map out the type of company we wanted to be going forward. Using an experienced coach and facilitator, we spent time reviewing and reaching agreement on “core” items including our shared vision and values, identification of our core customers, what is our promise to our clients, what is our long term “big hairy audacious goal,” and, equally important, what are the things we should stop doing. We identified the key functions of the company and the people with the best skills and experience to lead those functional areas. The result was a much flatter organization with opportunities for some of our most experienced engineers to assume more management responsibility. It was a very energizing and invigorating process that aligned the entire company on the path forward.

  • We also made the commitment to go through our product lines and address all outstanding issues. Over time, the number of product issues that were not urgent or high priority had been slowly building. We made the decision that in order to position the company for faster long-term growth, as well as to reflect our values and brand promise to our clients, we should refresh our current product lines and drive the number of outstanding issues down to zero. This strategy will greatly reduce the long-term costs of maintaining our product lines going forward, as well as further improve the quality and performance of our industry leading product lines. It was wonderful to see the cooperation of our different departments work through the full database of all reported issues and reach resolution. During 2015 we completed new Service Releases for our GEM and GEM300 product lines, which included SECSConnect, CIMConnect, and CIM300, that resolved all reported issues and significantly increased the test coverage for each product. Our Product Management group coordinated the effort to resolve all issues with appropriate stakeholders. Once the backlog of work was clearly identified, our Software Engineering group accepted the challenge and took great pride in doing the work they had wanted to do, but never had had the time, to improve our products and significantly increase the level of automated tests.

  • As part of the strategy to improve our customers’ experience using Cimetrix products, we expanded our customer support group into a “Client Training & Support” group with an enhanced staff of senior engineers. Their responsibility is to demonstrate Cimetrix products during the sales cycle, train new clients, and serve as proactive technical liaisons as our clients progress through the critical development cycle. Initial feedback from clients has been outstanding. In particular, I had one new client tell me that in his experience, it is natural for the level of support to fall off a bit after they place an order for a product. However, in the case of Cimetrix, we provided a very high level of attention and support during the sales cycle, and once they placed the PO, they were pleasantly surprised to see that the level of attention and support from Cimetrix actually increased. While they have had problems with other suppliers “over-promising and under-delivering,” their experience with Cimetrix has been overwhelmingly positive, as our software does what we say it will do, and we provide very responsive and passionate support with senior engineering staff.

  • We have been at the forefront of the new industry standards for “Interface A,” or its alias “Equipment Data Acquisition (EDA),” for over ten years. When these standards were initially conceived and driven by representatives from Intel and AMD, we thought these new standards made logical sense and would ultimately be adopted by the industry, but we had no idea how long it might take for these standards to be adopted. A large semiconductor foundry in the industry has become the leading user of EDA. Our strategy has been to work closely with this company and the large number of equipment makers that selected Cimetrix’ CIMPortal Plus product to meet the company’s requirements for EDA. While Cimetrix did this facilitation work on our own dime, we believe this investment has paid off handsomely as we’ve helped many of our clients achieve good success in this company's factories, and, as a result, we now have very appreciative clients all over the world that serve as solid references for Cimetrix and our EDA products. In parallel, our Sales and Account Management team has been evangelizing the benefits of EDA to other semiconductor manufacturers. The list of companies now implementing some aspect of EDA has grown to include industry leaders such as Globalfoundaries, Infineon, Inotera, Samsung, Toshiba, and TSMC. The biggest news was Samsung announcing plans for an EDA pilot project in 2016. In a recent briefing to local Korea-based equipment makers, it was reported that some large equipment makers such as Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron developed their EDA solutions in-house, but “most of the rest use Cimetrix products.” To respond to these opportunities, the Cimetrix Sales and Account Management group worked quickly to establish relationships, distribution channels, and local sales and support for Cimetrix products in Taiwan and Korea. While Cimetrix has great partners in Japan, we have learned that each country is different and customers prefer to receive support from companies within their own country, in their native language. Dave Faulkner and Alan Weber logged many miles this year explaining the best practices for EDA and establishing these very important relationships for Cimetrix, which we believe position Cimetrix to sell and support our products more effectively within these markets. In 2016 Cimetrix is scheduled to exhibit in industry trade shows in Korea, China, Taiwan, and Japan that we believe will lead to new clients in these growing markets.

  • Lastly, even though we are no longer required to publish SEC filings, we maintain the same high level of internal controls and fiscal discipline. The only difference is we don’t go through the seemingly endless quarterly reviews and narratives. The semiconductor capital equipment market is widely reported to have declined during 2015 and is expected to be flat for 2016. Cimetrix has noticed similar trends among our client base. During 2014, Cimetrix was profitable every quarter with total revenue in the $6 to 7M range with over $500,000 of adjusted EBITDA. For 2015, we continue to operate profitably on a quarterly basis and expect to have similar full-year financial results as 2014. We expect to end the year with close to $2M of cash and, of course, no debt.

Going Forward

Going forward, industry analysts predict a decrease in semiconductor capital equipment spending for 2016. Cimetrix has a number of irons in the fire that we hope will counteract the overall industry trends and enable us to grow next year. We have some major clients in adjacent markets that have the potential to contribute increased revenue. We also hope to get some traction from our efforts to add new clients and grow revenue in the Taiwanese, Korean, and Chinese markets. However, as we have learned over the years, it takes time to develop such new markets, so we are not planning to see large increases in revenue in the immediate future.

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By working closely with our clients in semiconductor and adjacent markets, we have identified a number of opportunities for new products. We plan to continue to invest in our current product lines for GEM, EDA, and Equipment Control, as well as look for opportunities to develop new products in conjunction with industry leaders.

If I sound excited about the future for Cimetrix, it is because I am. We have a great team here at Cimetrix and we added a number of solid new team members during 2015. While we have made great progress, we are never satisfied, and will strive for continual improvement as we pursue closer relationships with our clients, improvements in our efficiency and effectiveness, and above all, building great products that help our clients be successful and perform well for those they care about.

I want to thank our clients for the faith and confidence they have placed in Cimetrix’ products and team members, our employees for their passion, dedication and commitment, and our shareholders for their patience that we believe will ultimately be rewarded.

Topics: Semiconductor Industry, Market Trends, EDA, Customer Service, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Culture, Investor News

Worldwide Support... for Football

Posted by Cimetrix on Jul 7, 2010 11:10:00 AM

world cupThe World Cup is one of the greatest sporting events around the globe - and, for many parts of the world, it is THE sporting event of the year. This year, ABC & ESPN experienced an 80% gain in viewers during the opening matches... and the team at Cimetrix definitely helped contribute to that statistic. An avid fan, Cimetrix's CEO, Bob Reback, spearheaded the "soccer spirit" and organized several gatherings to view the matches.

With a worldwide customer base, it was fun to establish a friendly rivalry with the teams (and our friends) from other countries. However, with the US no longer in the running, we chose to focus our loyalties on the other strong teams: the Netherlands and Germany.  Our friends at Assembleon appreciated the support:

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If you're new to football and/or the World Cup, you might want to check out "A step-by-step guide on How to Appreciate a Soccer Game." before the final matches.  And for the latest news and results, visit the official World Cup website: FIFA.

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Working at Cimetrix, Cimetrix Culture, Germany, Netherlands

Health Care Reform and You

Posted by Cimetrix on Jun 10, 2010 6:00:00 AM

by Jentry Nourse,
AP/AR Coordinator

For months now the only think anyone has been talking about is Healthcare. Now that the bill has passed, it seems like everyone is wondering …..”what does this mean for me? And, how will my company/employer be affected?”

I was able to attend a webinar just 1 day after the Healthcare Bill was signed into law. It was offered through our benefits provider and, in an attempt to gain more knowledge on the upcoming changes, our HR Department attended. The webinar was conducted by Janet Trautwein, CEO of NAHU (National Association of Healthcare Underwriters.) Janet briefly went through the signed Healthcare Bill noting that a Reconciliation Bill would be proposed by the house and that the immediate impact could not be determined until the Reconciliation Bill was passed or rejected. http://www.www.nahu.org/Reform%20Timeline%20revised.pdf

Timelines for these changes are easy to find and most of them show changes to the laws being implemented over the next 9 years to allow for the phasing in of the new changes and phasing out of the old procedures. The details are simply not outlined yet, making it hard to determine what the short term and long term effect will be.

With our benefits open enrollment just around the corner (July), we are actively looking at the upcoming changes and what they mean for our company and our employees, both short term and long term http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/03/23/health.care.timeline/index.html

The next few months will be full of meetings with our providers to determine what we can do to keep healthcare premiums at a minimum as well as how to make healthcare work harder for our employees. Being able to provide a comprehensive benefits package is one of our top priorities. In order to successfully do this, it’s important to know what concerns / questions they have.

  • What questions/concerns do you have with the newly passed Healthcare Bill?
  • What do you like/dislike about our current benefits?
  • What are your biggest concerns for the future of healthcare?

Topics: Working at Cimetrix, Cimetrix Culture

Another step in the right direction

Posted by Cimetrix on Apr 22, 2010 7:50:00 AM

by Jodi Juretich,
Chief Financial Officer

after the stormHave you ever been through a hurricane or a blizzard or maybe just a really bad thunderstorm? I’ve been through them all and when the storm finally passes, we all go outside, assess the damage and immediately start cleaning up and rebuilding. Not too different from the economic storm of 2008-2009.

As a kid growing up in Florida, I remember boarding up windows, stocking-piling supplies, making sure the generator worked and everyone was accounted for. When the storm passed, it was always interesting to see which neighbors emerged defeated and ready to pack up and move out of the state and which neighbors emerged feeling victorious and ready to get right back in the game.

Like most companies across the world, Cimetrix was not spared the pounding forces of the recession. However, before the recession hit, we tightened up the ship and hunkered down, then licked our wounds after the storm passed and emerged feeling stronger and more determined than ever to rebuild and make Cimetrix, once again, VICTORIOUS! We are off to a good start by posting two consecutive quarters of POSTIVE NET INCOME in the last two quarters and 2009. The forecast for 2010 is Bright and Sunny!

When you are faced with rebuilding, it’s a good opportunity to assess what you can do differently to improve operations, generate growth and increase shareholder value. One of the many changes Cimetrix recently implemented was to our IT operations. In November, 2009, Cimetrix made the brave move to outsource all of our IT operations. There was some resistance at first and I even paused at the idea before fully embracing it. After all, it is so nice to call your on-site guy to your computer, at the drop of a hat, to retrieve your missing icon or re-configuring your dual monitor or some of those other voo-doo things that they do!

We selected a local and reputable company (ITNow.net) and they are virtually available 24 x 7 and can be on-site in minutes, if need be. To my surprise, the transition of not having someone physically present at my computer when I have an issue has not been as traumatic as I expected. Their team of dedicated IT professionals can directly remote in to my computer (with my permission, of course) and do all they need to do without leaving their office. Some of the other advantages of replacing a one-man on-site IT shop are the expanded wealth of knowledge a TEAM of people bring to the operations rather than a single source. Since partnering with ITNow.net, we’ve outsourced and upgraded our email, upgraded numerous aging engineering hardware and software, consolidated hardware for more efficient performance, reduced down-time with monitoring equipment and redundant back ups which all leads to increased efficiencies through out the entire organization. Increased efficiencies translates into reduced costs, revenue growth and ultimately, increased shareholder value!

So if you are looking for opportunities to make improvements to your company’s infrastructure, make sure IT outsourcing is on your list to consider.

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Topics: Working at Cimetrix, Cimetrix Culture

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