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Building a Strong and Effective Team

Posted by Cimetrix on Oct 12, 2017 10:30:00 AM

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Creating a great company culture isn’t easy. You have to think about hiring the right team members, creating processes everyone can support, promoting an open environment with respect for everyone and without judgement, and fostering a sense of accountability. The Cimetrix Leadership team is always looking for ways to improve the company culture and develop an environment of trust and great communication. Giving everyone a voice and making sure everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts is key to employee engagement and maintaining a great culture.

When many members of the team work remotely, however, a great culture can be difficult to form, maintain and share. Remote employees spend most of their time working without seeing the other members of their team face-to-face.  While there are teams that travel frequently between the global offices, it is a rare opportunity to gather the entire company to work, learn and grow together. By meeting in person, our teams can create a sense of personal connection and trust that carries on long after returning to the remote office.  That’s just what Cimetrix did by organizing our 2017 All Company Gathering.

With the theme of “Growth – Business and Personal”, we started the week getting inspired to focus on each individual’s personal and professional growth. We learned about goal setting, reasons many fail to meet goals and a few secrets on how to make and keep effective goals. We were reminded that it’s important to recognize each other and ourselves when great things are achieved. Cimetrix recognized Crystal Glenn, Client Relations Specialist, for her outstanding contributions above and beyond her daily workload in the form of the Cimetrix Super Charged Award – an award that is rarely given and only to those who display the highest achievement in keeping with company values.

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The next day began with a very interesting discussion led by the individual Country Managers from China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea about the direction of the company, the international growth achieved in 2017 and  the growth expected over the next few years. A panel discussion including Q&A was highly engaging and fun as everyone got to know the Country Managers and their respective cultures a little better.  A team building experience at a series of escape rooms followed by a discussion and analysis of leadership, teams and communication gave everyone the chance to get to know each other better and work together in a new capacity.

After a morning of working in teams, day three was dedicated to learning how to more efficiently use our time, specifically with regards to meetings. Everyone knows that unproductive meetings can be a drain on time and resources, but all too often we sit through too many of them anyway. Learning when to have meetings and how to make them as effective as possible is a skill that everyone should learn, and we look forward to implementing these new processes at Cimetrix. The evening brought a banquet dinner where we were privileged to hear from Mike Thompson, a shareholder, board member and great friend to Cimetrix.

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The All Company Gathering ended Friday afternoon with a company meeting recapping all that happened during the week and a celebration for birthdays, anniversaries and new employees. Interspersed throughout the week were opportunities to get to know employees from different departments and different parts of the world.  Many continued to meet into the weekend for more in-depth training and education. 

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The All Company Gathering requires weeks of organization and planning, but in the end, it’s worth the effort to bring the teams together for a few days as we seek to get to know each other better, build trust between team members, have discussions about company culture and core values and improve teamwork skills.  Good relationships are key to maintaining a successful company culture, and the entire Cimetrix team enjoyed this time to recharge and reenergize.

Topics: Working at Cimetrix, Cimetrix Culture

Meet the Team: Alan Weber, Vice President, New Product Innovations

Posted by Cimetrix on Oct 5, 2017 1:20:00 PM

Cimetrix-Alan_Weber_copy.jpgJoin us as we meet the Leadership Team of Cimetrix in our “Meet the Team” series.

Alan Weber is currently the Vice President, New Product Innovations for Cimetrix. Previously he served on the Board of Directors for eight years before joining the company as a full-time employee in 2011. He has been a part of the semiconductor and manufacturing automation industries for over 40 years. He spent eight of those years as a Program Manager for SEMATECH, 18 as an Engineering Manager at Texas Instruments, and nearly 10 years as President of his own company, Alan Weber & Associates, Inc. Weber holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from Rice University.  

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What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

I first met Bob Reback in the early 90s when he was working at Thesis, one of the leading semiconductor automation software companies at the time, and I was at Sematech, the research consortium tasked with charting a collaborative path to success for domestic semiconductor manufacturing industry. We were both at one of the early Advanced Process Control conferences, and as we talked, it was clear we shared not just a few interesting days in Dallas, but compatible visions for our respective organizations, basic value systems, and a genuine enthusiasm for working in this domain. We stayed in touch thereafter, crossing paths a few times over the next decade. When Bob took over the reins at Cimetrix and needed to re-populate the Board of Directors with industry expertise, he thought of me… and in 2002 I joined the Board.

Eight years later, after getting to know the entire management and technical team, we all agreed that working inside the company would be an ideal match, and I joined Dave Faulkner’s Marketing department.

What's your favorite thing about working here?

One aspect of the job here I especially enjoy is having a broad set of long-range objectives and the freedom to pursue them as I see fit. This works well both for me and Cimetrix because the current job requirements and my skills and experience are very well aligned.

What do you think makes a great VP of New Product Innovation?

A large part of this role requires an understanding of the technology and market trends that affect our industry, so it’s important to have sufficient breadth and depth of knowledge to see the big picture and spot these trends. International experience is also key, since the industries we serve are increasingly global.

Do you have a favorite quote/saying? Why?

I have favorite sayings for lots of situations, but I suppose the one that’s universally applicable is “Live every day.” This helps me find joy and gratitude in almost everything I do.

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

I first step back and ask myself the question “What’s the best use of my time right now?” and see if the answer helps me decide what to do next to address a particular challenge.

If that doesn’t work, I ask another question: “What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen in this situation, and what impact would that have?” Then I assess the likelihood of this actually happening… which is usually very small. From this perspective, the fear of imagined negative consequences evaporates, and I can focus on the problem objectively without the emotional distractions.

If that still doesn’t work, I ask myself “How would Mac have handled this?” He was my mentor for many of the years I worked at Texas Instruments, and never seemed to get ruffled by any challenge that would arise… and there were plenty of examples to draw from.

What do you like to do in your free time?

First of all, I don’t believe there is such a thing as “free time.” We all get the same 24 hours a day to work with, and they are all equally valuable! That being said, I enjoy a variety of activities outside the office.

My wife of 40 years, Kathy Allen-Weber, and I enjoy travelling together, whether it’s visiting family in Texas, friends across the U.S. and Europe, or ticking global destinations off of our “bucket list.”

Music has been a big part of my life since I was very young. I sing and play guitar on the worship team at our church, perform with local choral groups whenever possible, and still play the flute from time to time. Kathy and I also like many genres of classical music, and are especially fond of opera.

I also like being outdoors, and Utah’s climate and scenery are ideal for this. I also still play a little tennis, and have recently taken up pickleball!

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

One of the best things that happened to us over the last five years was the move to Utah. Both being Texas natives, Kathy and I weren't sure how quickly Utah would feel like home, and were pleasantly surprised to find it was almost immediate. Moreover, moving from a big city (Austin) to a small town environment was like taking a 30-year step back in time—a refreshing transition at this point in our lives.

 

 

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

Meet the Team Series: Bill Grey, Distinguished Software Engineer

Posted by Cimetrix on Sep 7, 2017 2:04:08 PM

Cimetrix-Bill_Grey_copy.jpgJoin us as we meet the Leadership Team of Cimetrix in our “Meet the Team” series.

Bill Grey holds the title of Distinguished Software Engineer at Cimetrix. He joined Cimetrix in 1999 and has filled multiple roles since that time. Grey has been developing software for more than 25 years in a variety of industries including Philips Broadcast Television Systems, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and the U.S. Geological Survey. He specializes in Windows software development, Scrum/Agile development, software architecture, software processes, and the software life cycle.

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What Brought you to Cimetrix originally?

I had been working at Philips Electronics  when they shut down their division in Salt Lake City. Cimetrix was looking for a programmer to bring Windows programming into Cimetrix and I was able to fulfill that role

What's your favorite thing about working here?

Basically the people. The Cimetrix team is respectful, intelligent, honest and hardworking. As a group they follow the Cimetrix values and everyone is always willing to help each other.

What do you think makes a great software engineer?

You never "know everything" because the practice changes so quickly so it's important to have perseverance and the ability to learn.

What was the most interesting technical challenge that you’ve worked on at Cimetrix?

The most interesting technical challenge was our CIM300 product. It took many iterations of the SEMI standards over several years before the standards matured enough to be widely adopted. Dealing with different interpretations of gray areas of the standards, as well as industry requirements that were “more open” than the standards specified was a real challenge.

What is the next engineering project that you want to work on?

There are two interesting engineering projects I'd like to work on. The first is Requirements Engineering. Companies must cement how requirements are defined for new products and new product features. Processes, roles and responsibilities, and even education are required for the teams tackling Requirements Engineering. As we do a better job at defining requirements, more time will have to be spent in that phase. However, in the long run, it will reduce the amount of rework done, which is one of the biggest wastes of time in technology companies.

The second project is built-in product diagnostics. Being able to build into all our products self-diagnostics and potentially self-healing, the support team would see their workload reduced and of course it enables the customer to solve any issues without having to turn to outside help.

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

I tend to tackle thing from both sides.  I like to surround my problems and make them submit.  I like to work at the highest level for a bit, until some ideas start to come out, then I'll dive all the way through the solution to the bottom levels.  Somewhere in-between is the solution waiting to surrender

What do you like to do in your free time?

My hobby is hobbies. I have way too many to list from blacksmithing to guitars to woodworking. I change so often that I am truly a man of many talents and a master of none.

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

I met my wife...I think that sums it up pretty well!

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

Meet the Team Series: David Francis, Director of Product Management

Posted by Cimetrix on Aug 30, 2017 11:21:00 AM

Cimetrix-David_Francis_copy.jpgJoin us as we meet the Leadership Team of Cimetrix in our “Meet the Team” series.

David Francis—Director of Project Management—has worked in the semiconductor industry for more than 26 years providing software and services in manufacturing automation. Prior to joining Cimetrix in 2010, Francis worked as an Engineering Manager at Applied Materials from 2007 to 2008, as both the Director of Product Engineering and the APF Product Manager at Brooks Automation from 2000 to 2007, and as the Director of Operations at Auto-Soft Corporation from 1993 to 1996. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah and an MBA from the University of Utah – David Eccles School of Business.

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What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

I knew Bob Reback from back in the early days of my career. I was doing equipment integration services for Motorola in Austin, TX using the products Bob was selling. Years later I worked with Mike Thompson, who sits on the Cimetrix board, for many years when he was at AutoSimulations/Brooks Automation. Mike connected me with Bob again and it was a good fit.

What's your favorite thing about working here?

Without a doubt, it’s the people. I really love the people I work with here at Cimetrix. It also doesn’t hurt that it is a pretty exciting technology field that is enabling the manufacturing of all our new electronic gadgets.

What do you think makes a great Engineering Manager?

I think a great engineering manager is someone that can inspire developers to be creative and look for new ways to improve the products they work on while also establishing the discipline necessary to ensure consistent, high-quality products.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying? Why?

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” I think in today’s world everyone is too worried about being heard – we aren’t listening to others. Often the divide between two different viewpoints isn’t as wide as it first seems, but it takes communication and listening to get a true understanding so you can build a basis for coming together.

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

I am one who likes to talk things through. I like to get different perspectives on how problems can and should be handled.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy boating and waterskiing with my family. I also love to tinker and fix things – it’s like solving a puzzle.

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

Being part of the management team working to define roles and responsibilities to position Cimetrix for healthy growth now and in the future.

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

Cimetrix Annual Meeting of Shareholders

Posted by Cimetrix on Aug 22, 2017 12:30:00 PM

On Friday, August 18, Cimetrix held its Annual Meeting of Shareholders at our headquarters in Salt Lake City, UT. We were excited that sixty percent of Cimetrix shareholders were represented at the meeting. There were two proposals submitted by management and both approved, receiving over 90% of votes cast.

After the formal shareholder meeting was adjourned, Dave Faulkner, Executive VP of Sales and Marketing, gave a presentation on our Cimetrix products and markets. Following Dave’s presentation, Bob Reback, President and CEO, provided his perspective on the state-of-the-company and outlook going forward. 

We appreciate all of our shareholders and are grateful to those that attended the meeting either in person or via proxy. As always, we thank our shareholders for their continued confidence and support.

Topics: Cimetrix Culture, Announcements, Investor News

Meet the Team Series: Richard Howard,  Director of Technical Operations

Posted by Cimetrix on Aug 8, 2017 11:30:00 AM

Cimetrix-Richard_Howard3_copy.jpgJoin us as we meet the Leadership Team of Cimetrix in our “Meet the Team” series.

Richard Howard - Director of Technical Operations—has over 30 years of experience in both vertical and custom software development, and has been with Cimetrix since 2011. Howard previously worked for Murata Machinery USA/ICIS, Inc. as a Senior Software Engineer and Principle Software Engineer. During that period, he worked with large companies such as Honda, Fuji Film, Jet Blue, Fed Ex, Ford, Sony as well as many others involved in manufacturing and distribution. He also has been in various roles for firms developing software for credit unions, banks, insurance, leasing, home automation and medical records. He has degrees in Business and Engineering from the University of Utah and is a Professional Scrum Master.

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What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

I spent a large portion of my career working in the Automated Material Handling System industry. There is something about controlling equipment with software that I found intriguing. When I left that industry, and tried working in businesses that didn’t involve equipment control, I found myself bored and unchallenged.  When I saw an opportunity to get back with a small company that was involved with equipment control, I jumped at it. 

What's your favorite thing about working here?

The people at Cimetrix.  Our team is comprised of the best group of people I have had the privilege of working with, both professionally and personally, in my life.

Your role at Cimetrix has covered a few different areas over the years. What do you enjoy most about your current position?

Two things:  1.  I get to work with the entire organization and everyone in it. 2. The work is always challenging.  

Do you have a favorite saying? Why?

My favorite saying is one my father used to say to me through my teenage years: “No matter what you do in life, always do a good job and learn everything that you can.” I have found great wisdom in those words as I have advanced through life.

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

The only thing you really can do, address them as they arise.  If there were no challenges, what would be the point of getting out of bed in the morning?

What do you like to do in your free time?

I have several hobbies that I rotate between depending on my mood.  I like to golf and enjoy getting out as much as possible.  I like cooking, home remodeling projects, woodworking, attempting to play musical instruments and, of course, being a grandpa.

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

The best thing was joining Cimetrix.  I have enjoyed every opportunity and every challenge that I have been given.  I like to get up each morning and get to work.  Working at Cimetrix is great!

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

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

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