California Dreaming and Shop Floor Data Collection

I’ve had several people message me asking how my trip to California went so I thought I would blog about it. Anyway, I was there for eight days evenly divided between consulting and recreation.

My primary reason for the trip was to implement Shop Floor Data Collection for an affiliate company near Los Angeles. To prepare for the trip, I had installed SFDC on my test server and tested the basic functionality of it. This went well, even though the documentation for it is lacking in my opinion. I then contracted with SMS to check the installation of it on my live server.

While on site at the affiliate, I job shadowed and evaluated their use of M2M and made recommendations for better implementation. It never ceases to amaze me how much extra work people are “forced” to do in Excel and other programs to compensate for M2M’s shortcomings or a lack of knowledge on a user’s part. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told a user, “You can get that out of M2M here.”

On the last day, we had contracted with a M2M Consultant to help us implement the use of SFDC as this was my first time using the product. This was not entirely successful. Even though I repeatedly asked if I had all the prerequisites accomplished, and had paid SMS to check all of the server settings, there were problems with the system. More troubling was the time wasted for the consultant to look around at things and try to figure out how to fix them. Now all of us have had to troubleshoot our systems and it takes time, however I would expect at $225 an hour, plus expenses, for a consultant to have firm grasp of the product and most of the associated issues with it. I repeatedly heard “I don’t know” and it angered the affiliate company. We were left with a non-functioning install which I had to fix upon my return to Dallas. Thankfully we are up and running now and are just ironing out the details.

Anyway, the Los Angeles M2M User Group was meeting while I was in their fair city and I felt bad that I could not attend. Instead I arranged dinner with Raj Walia (a highly competent M2M Administrator), Connie Lopez (an independent consultant), and Glenn Tobey. Glenn Tobey has the distinction of being one of M2M’s most senior employees (but has since left the company), and specializes in Visual FoxPro report writing. I had a great time at dinner and we discussed everything from Made2Manage and user issues to life in general and how to deal with the current economy. It’s always great when “old Warriors” get together to swap stories.

After I was done consulting I spent four days in Southern California seeing the sights and will hit the highlights here. The only downside was the weather which was sometimes rainy and never warmer than 60. The first day we arrived in Southern California we had a free evening so we went to see an episode of the Gary Unmarried show. Viewing a taping of a show like that is actually hard work for the audience. All that “fake” laughing to create a laugh track for the episode, is hard work.

My first free day was Saturday so a co-worker and I took the VIP Tour at Universal Studios. If you’re going to do Universal, and can afford the $199 price, I highly recommend the VIP Tour. We toured the behind the scenes areas such as the set of the show Life, the huge prop warehouse, and saw the set making facilities. It was fascinating.


My co-worker and I posing with “Jaws.”

For the rest of the trip, I was on my own. One of the evenings I walked the famous Hollywood Boulevard and took some pictures with the folks there.


Really cool Transformer costume.


I had just told Rambo that my gun is bigger.

I visited Griffith Observatory, which is an amazing and free attraction which offers unrivaled views of Los Angeles as well as an education on Astronomy.

The next few days I drove down the Pacific Coast Highway and the scenery was beautiful.

Pacific Coast Highway

Huntington Beach Pier

This girl was spinning in circles at sunset at the Huntington Beach Pier. I don’t think she knew I was there.

I also took the behind the scenes tour at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. I was the only one that morning who took it, but I can highly recommend it.

Long Beach Aquarium

Holding a whale vertebrae at the Aquarium of the Pacific

Anyway, those are the highlights from my trip. I can’t wait to return to Southern California when the weather is warm to more fully enjoy what it has to offer.

2 comments to California Dreaming and Shop Floor Data Collection

  • Jason Griffith

    Sounds like quite a trip to me, all typical M2M support and implementation issues aside.

    We’ve looked at bringing SFDC into use a couple of times now, but it keeps getting put back on the shelf when other issues arise. Maybe we’ll have time to get it up and running this year.

  • WOW! That looks like a ton of fun. I didn’t even know Universal Studios had a behind-the-scenes tour – that sounds pretty cool.

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