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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.

IMG_5431.jpg

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

Critical System Support - Semiconductor, PV, LED OEMs

Posted by Cimetrix on Apr 16, 2012 3:41:00 PM

by Brett Horsley
Customer Support Engineer

Back in December 2011 and January 2012, I posted a couple of blogs about the Customer License Generator. You can see what I wrote at New Web License Generator and Transfer a Cimetrix License To A New Machine. Our customers have been using the license generator and we have had a lot of very positive feedback.

One of our goals in developing the license generator is to improve support for critical systems.  When a hardware failure occurs on a vital piece of capital equipment running Cimetrix software, we know our customer – and our customer’s customer – cannot waste time waiting for a response.  Often replacing hardware or re-imaging a control system's operating system will require the Cimetrix license file to be transferred to new equipment. In past years,  Cimetrix customers would need to submit a license request via email and then wait for our license department to complete that request.  This process could cause significant delays, particularly if these requests came in during after-hours or on weekends.   

With the Customer License Generator, customers can request new licenses and license transfers online and receive their license file instantly, no matter what time of day they use it. Furthermore, even if the old license information is not-recoverable, the Customer License Generator can provide a 10-day demo license for a critical system, so they can get back online as soon as possible while we sort out any licensing paperwork. 

Customer License Generator

Getting equipment back into production can make or break business relationships.  Providing this level of support to our customers’ critical systems, whether they are on the production floor or in the lab, is important to us. If you are an existing customer, please try the Customer License Generator and let us know how you like it.

If you need help accessing or using our Customer License Generator, contact us at licenses@cimetrix.com.

Topics: Customer Service, Support, Licenses

New Web License Generator

Posted by Cimetrix on Dec 21, 2011 2:39:00 PM

By Brett Horsley
Customer Support Engineer

We are working to streamline our processes at Cimetrix in order to improve our customer service. We now have a new license generator on the Cimetrix web site that we know will reduce the paperwork and throughput time to obtain new SDK and runtime licenses.

Previously, you had to email us the information and we would attempt to send you a new license within 24 hours. We almost always achieved that goal, but because of holiday schedules we sometimes took more than a day to send new licenses. 

Web License Generator resized 600

Now with the new web-based license generator, you can go to the Cimetrix web site and log in using your Support user name and password. Then you enter your COA (Certificate of Authenticity) number, MAC ID, and email address, and you will get an email with your new license.

It's fast and easy.  We have tested out the process and it works well, but, if you run into problems, send us an email at licenses@cimetrix.com.

Topics: Customer Service, Licenses

Data Delivery to Cimetrix Support

Posted by Cimetrix on Aug 17, 2010 7:00:00 AM

The Good, The Bad, and The UglyThe Security

by Ryoko Fukushima,
Application Engineer

Email, Search Engines, Blog, Twitter, Ebay, Internet Banking. The Internet is deeply integrated into our everyday life and work. It makes it possible to exchange information and data almost instantaneously anywhere, anytime, and to anyone. The changes the Internet brought to our world have been irreversible, and the only way we can go is to forward.

But like any great human invention, it brought the good with the bad. Computer viruses, spam, malware, spyware, phishing. It is like opening the 21st century version of Pandora’s box. Cyber security has become an even more critical part of government and business infrastructure. However, tightening security against cyber threats actually can end up working against us. For instance, sometime our customers' network security unintentionally blocks harmless emails from Cimetrix with important attachment/data. Cimetrix believes that a smooth data delivery system is critical for our customer’s success.

This year, we began providing a data upload/download function to our protected customer support site. Data exchange is performed without compromising the customer’s network security.

To access, log in to the support website provided by Cimetrix with a valid username and password.

Support Website

Picture 1: Support Website Logon Page

After successfully logging in, a user should see the following page with Support Files Upload/Download link.

Support Website

Picture 2: Successfully Logged On

Clicking Support File Upload/Download directs a user to a file uploading page. Select a file to be uploaded by typing its complete path and name in File textbox or by selecting a file from Choose File to Upload dialog opened by clicking Browse button.

Next, click Upload button to upload the file to the support site. When file upload is complete, the user will see the newly uploaded file below the Browse and Upload buttons.The  user can download the uploaded file by clicking on its file name.

Support Website

Picture 3: Upload Page

If you have any problems using the support website, please feel free to contact Cimetrix’s support group (support@cimetrix.com).

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Topics: Customer Service, Support, Doing Business with Cimetrix

Connect. Chat. Collaborate.

Posted by Cimetrix on Mar 11, 2010 7:47:00 AM

by DeAnn Rowan,
Marketing

As a blog reader, we would like to ask you a question:

So….What do you think?

We’ve been at this blogging thing for 6 months (almost to the day) now. We’ve seen a lot of interest as the traffic to our blog posts continues to rise at a rapid pace. The entire Cimetrix team has provided contributions and feels passionate about the information that we have been sharing with readers.

Some of our most popular posts to date – and ones you’ll want to check out if you haven’t already - include a narrative touting the benefits of software frameworks, a comparison of the data collection functions of SECS/GEM and Interface A, and the answer to the “He Said/ She Said” game between equipment and host.

What have you found to be the most valuable?
What topics would you like to see discussed more? Or less?

We want to be a resource of information for you regarding the SEMI connectivity standards and their implementation. As you read through our blog, please feel free to ask questions or provide insight on the topics being discussed. We welcome your comments!

In addition to this blog, we encourage you to interact with us, and others within the manufacturing community, via various social media networks:

Cimetrix Twitter   Cimetrix Facebook   Cimetrix LinkedIn   Cimetrix RSS   

Use these avenues as an alternative means to ask questions, provide feedback, and stay abreast of any industry or Cimetrix updates.

Thank you for your continued readership and we look forward to future discussions.

Connect with Us on LinkedIn:

Also check out the resources page of our website which offers several white papers, presentations, and articles for download on these topics!

Topics: SEMI Standards, Semiconductor Industry, Semiconductor News, Customer Service, Support, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Culture

Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance and Cimetrix

Posted by Cimetrix on Feb 5, 2010 8:59:00 AM

by Peggy Faulkner,
Assistant Controller

Sarbanes Oxley ComplianceWhen I confided to a long-time friend with whom I used to work in the financial arena at General Electric that I was thinking of returning to work after 20 years of raising a family, and that I would be doing Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance work for Cimetrix, she gasped, and blurted, “I am SO sorry!” I was pretty sure her dismay was not an indictment of me returning to work, nor to Cimetrix—it was all about SOX.

When SOX was federally mandated in 2002, as a financial regulatory response to the Enron and Worldcom (and others) scandals, the intent was to soothe panicked investors and restore confidence that our public companies operate under sufficient financial control, oversight, and transparency. Revenue level or company size matter not—all public companies must comply, and compliance places a disproportionately heavier cost burden on small companies such as Cimetrix. Annual auditing must be performed by an independent, registered public accounting firm, and an extra layer of control in the form of reporting and certification is included in all SEC filings by financial management. Transparency to financial reports is now greater, and penalties for financial fraud or misrepresentation are harsh.

In an economic downturn, such as we are now experiencing, the cost of compliance becomes even more burdensome. Nonetheless, Cimetrix is fully compliant with all SOX regulations, and has been for some time now, due to the diligence of the Finance team. Long before I joined the company, measures were taken to reorganize, analyze, report, and verify financial data at a SOX-mandated level.

Currently, cross-training and report collaboration within the department ensure an additional level of review. Our goal this year is to become paperless—in keeping with environmental concerns, and our connection to the PV industry, perhaps?

Eighteen months after talking with my old friend, when she asks how things are going, I smile and say, “Piece of cake!”

Now, if I could just win the company Soup Cook-off!!

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Topics: Customer Service, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Working at Cimetrix, Cimetrix Culture, Investor News

New Year, New Operating System

Posted by Cimetrix on Jan 6, 2010 10:25:00 AM

by Brent Forsgren,
EFA Practice Manager

It is the start of a new year, thank goodness! I wonder what is in store for my Global Services team this year. Last year was a tough year for the semiconductor market, but early indications and market experts are saying that 2010 should be much better than 2009.

On top of the market’s expected upward turn, Microsoft released Windows 7 in late 2009 to replace their not so popular Windows Vista. I expect that a significant portion of our customer’s equipment sales this year will be of existing technology and software. But for our customers that will be developing and selling new tools and software, will you jump to Windows 7 or will you wait for it to prove itself in the market place? Additionally, if you switch to Windows 7 will you also make the jump to a 64-bit architecture or will you stay with the aging 32-bit architecture?

We welcome your comments and feedback! I would love to hear your thoughts and plans.  Please comment below or email me at brent.forsgren@cimetrix.com.

Topics: Customer Service, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Product Information, Global Services, Windows 7, Microsoft

Holiday Hours 2009

Posted by Cimetrix on Dec 23, 2009 2:35:00 PM

Cimetrix's main offices in Salt Lake City will be closed starting, Thursday, December 24 through Friday, January 1. Returning to normal business hours on Monday, January 4th.

Should you require assistance during that time, please do not hesitate to contact us:

As always, for urgent Support incidents, please dial the support line +1 800-344-7292 or call the main line (+1 801-256-6500) and select option #2.

From all of us at Cimetrix, we sincerely wish you a Joyous Holiday Season. May the New Year bring you continued success and prosperity.  We look forward to furthering our business relationship in 2010!


Topics: Customer Service, Support, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Announcements

Got Licenses?

Posted by Cimetrix on Dec 15, 2009 1:32:00 PM

software licensesby Stephanie Sampson,
Project & Sales Coordinator

Need a license for a Cimetrix software product? Not sure how to go about getting one?  Well, let me share with you some quick and simple steps for requesting and receiving a license as efficiently as possible.

First, you will need a Purchase Order. Once you have that we would love to see it! Email or fax, can’t decide which way to send it? Either one of these will work:

Upon receipt of the Cimetrix software and Certificate of Authenticity (COA), it’s time to request your license file. The license file contains installation codes required to correctly install the software. You can send all of your license requests, transfers, or questions to licenses@cimetrix.com.

Please list your MAC ID and indicate one of the following to activate your license:

  • Purchase Order Number
  • Sales Order Number
  • Certificate of Authenticity Number

If a license transfer is what you are looking for instead, then please send your “Old” MAC ID along with your “New” MAC ID to complete the transfer.

If you are not sure where to find your MAC ID, then please use the following steps:

  1. Go to the “Start” menu on the computer you want to license
  2. Click “Run”
  3. Inside the Open box type “cmd” then press OK
  4. At this point a Command/DOS/Shell window should pop-up
  5. Type “ipconfig –all” Then press Enter
  6. You can either take a screen shot here or type in the information that corresponds to the
  7. Physical Address of the primary network card.

Now that we have all of your information your license file will be emailed to you within the one business day.

See, it’s almost as easy as 1..2..3! If you are still unsure about any of these steps, please feel free to contact us at licenses@cimetrix.com or call 801-256-6500.

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Topics: Customer Service, Licenses, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Product Information

“This is Cimetrix Support, How May I Help You?”

Posted by Cimetrix on Dec 2, 2009 9:03:00 AM

Quality Customer Support Callby Ryoko Fukushima
Application Engineer

Computers, cell phones, video games, internet, online banking, etc., we live in a brave new world of technologies. It is true that these technologies have improved our lives tremendously. But, when things stop working or you have questions outside of the information found in a manual, who ya gonna call?

Tech Support !!!
(If you whispered “Ghostbusters” in your mind secretly, give yourself a little pat on the back and pull your legwarmers from your closet.)

Cimetrix Support works very hard to give the best support to our customers. Since this spring, I began working as one of support engineers. After handling various cases, I began to feel more and more like a CSI, than a support engineer. Most often, I spend my time gathering enough information to formulate a logical explanation and solution for an issue reported by the customer.

From a customer’s perspective, this adds more time until incident resolution. So, I thought I could save our customers any unnecessary delays and headaches by providing insight on how to expedite the technical support process.

In order to have your issue effectively handled and solved in a speedy matter, please provide the critical pieces of information listed below to your support engineer:

  • Version of Product(s) you are using
  • An output file produced by Support Tool
  • Product Log Files (i.e. log files generated by CIMPortal, CIMConnect, etc.)
  • EPJ file (for CIMConnect/CIM300 User)
  • A details instruction for how to reproduce your issue
  • A stand-alone application reproducing the your issue

As a member of the Cimetrix Quality Customer Support team, my goal is to serve as an extension of your engineering department, partnering with you to efficiently solve all incidents. Working together, I am sure that we can get you back on track in no time.

Now remember, if there's something weird and it don't look good...
Who ya gonna call?

+1 (800) 344-7292 Cimetrix Quality Customer Support

You might also be interested in:

Topics: Customer Service, Support, Doing Business with Cimetrix

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