Growing Companies

Tony Cuilwik compares his company's product to an electronic shop foreman.

But his product is far superior, says the CEO and co-founder of CIMx Software. It saves time and increases efficiency. It streamlines operations and improves control. And most importantly for its customers, it saves money time and time again.

What CIMx designs, develops, and sells are software programs that allow manufacturers to exercise strict control over what happens on its shop floors. The software is put into a personal computer on the floor. Engineers break down the design drawings into manufacturing drawings and orders. Workers get into the system via computers at various work stations and get specific orders for their duties.

And it's all kept in a perfect record, readily available at any time to check the work and determine any possible improvements. It eliminates paperwork, the costs to store those paper records, and the inevitable errors that such paperwork brings.

"Everyone gets the same instructions for their piece of the task," Cuilwik said. "We have an absolutely accurate record…we always make a shop floor more efficient and more productive, with fewer mistakes."

It's been a good business for the small - about 20 employees - but steady company in Milford that recently celebrated its 15th year in businesses. It grew quickly after Cuilwik and five others started it when they saw a way to improve existing software in 1996 and sell it to companies looking for an advantage over their competitors.

Selling mostly to aerospace and defense companies - current clients include Boeing, GE Aviation, Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney - CIMx boomed in the years leading up to the Y2K scare. Growth slowed after that when companies put less money into their IT budgets, but picked up again in 2005-2006. It has weathered the recent recession because its customers also have managed to do so.

"Our ultimate goal was to literally improve U.S. manufacturing plants one at a time," Cuilwik said. "It's 15 years later and we're still here."

Ironically, he said, the company had more competition in its early years, when seven other companies were in the same market. Now, he said, most of those have either closed down or been absorbed into larger companies. CIMx and a second company are the only independents left, he said

"It wasn't an entirely new industry (when we started), but we brought some innovations to it," he said.

One thing that has kept the company going strong is being responsive to its customers and keeping its product simple to use. Because most of its clients have large IT departments, CIMx makes its software easily adaptable to their specific needs. That way, each company can use its own workers to adjust the software without needing to confer with CIMx. That allows CIMx to focus on designing and developing the software, Cuilwik said.

A second major change is in leadership, Cuilwik said. He's turned over the day-to-day running of the company to his daughter, Kristin McLane, who has promised and begun even more improvements, he proudly said.

Writer: Paul Long
Source: Tony Cuilwik, CEO
CIMx Software
5400 DuPont Circle, Suite B
Milford, OH 45150