Jul 21, 2023 5:00:00 PM / by PlantStar Team
In today's fast-paced, highly competitive manufacturing landscape, optimizing operations and maximizing productivity are critical success factors. Manufacturing execution systems (MES) are the key to such changes. They break down traditional departmental and organizational barriers, giving executives real-time, end-to-end visibility into the production process so they can streamline operations, enhance efficiency operations, and achieve higher levels of quality control.
Traditionally, manufacturing was broken down into distinct steps that were handled by various departments. Challenges arose because each worked in isolation. The supply chain management staff worked with material information; the manufacturing team examined production run data; the distribution group monitored the flow of goods; and the back office personnel tinkered with financial information
As a result, what happened during a production run was often known only after it was completed and daily reports were run. Although various tasks impacted one another, they were conducted separately: for example, late delivery of materials causes delay of the production run. Consequently, suppliers missed opportunities to adjust dynamically as issues like these arose.
How does using an MES boost manufacturing potential?
An MES changes the landscape. It acts as a central hub, collecting information and breaking down the barriers among different manufacturing activities such as planning, scheduling, monitoring, producing, delivering, and reporting.
In the past, manufacturing personnel lacked insight into what was happening outside their departments. With an MES, they gain real-time visibility into what is happening everywhere in the plant. MES dashboards and reports illustrate device performance and condition, labor hours, production summaries, and much more. Decision makers can even receive alerts when certain conditions are met. With such information, a company becomes much more agile and adaptable. If materials arrive early, for example, managers can add staff and fill an order early.
One of the key benefits of an MES is its ability to streamline operations throughout the manufacturing lifecycle. Thanks to the the internet of things, manufacturers can easily collect information about manufacturing floor equipment. They can examine more than 100 metrics and evaluate items like
By capturing and analyzing real-time data from machines, MES creates the opportunity for proactive maintenance, reducing downtime and optimizing production scheduling.
Quality control is paramount in manufacturing, as it directly impacts revenue, customer satisfaction, referrals, and brand reputation. MES plays a vital role in ensuring product quality by providing comprehensive visibility into the production process. It enables real-time monitoring of critical parameters, identifies deviations, and triggers immediate alerts to take corrective actions. By integrating quality management systems with MES, manufacturers can implement stringent quality control measures, minimize defects, and improve product consistency and delivery.
In the digital age, data is a valuable asset, and leveraging it effectively can create significant competitive advantages. MES collects and analyzes vast amounts of data from different sources, such as machines, sensors, and workers. The wealth of information empowers manufacturers to make data-driven decisions at every stage of production. From demand forecasting and inventory management to resource allocation and performance optimization, MES provides the real-time information manufacturers need to maximize output and minimize expenses. Because it works interactively, MES also facilitates the implementation of lean manufacturing principles and supports initiatives such as Six Sigma and total quality management.
Each business has its own key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, if a manufacturer’s focus is on creating long lasting goods, they may want its MES reports to highlight data like product quality, defects, and recalls. Whatever KPIs are chosen become the company’s most important metrics. As a result, those reports are typically reviewed daily.
Continuous improvement is a cornerstone of successful manufacturing operations. MES supports this with real-time visibility into KPIs and performance metrics. By tracking and analyzing data over time, manufacturers can identify trends, uncover inefficiencies, and implement targeted improvements. For instance, an overall equipment efficiency (OEE) dashboard measures items like actual vs. planned downtime, actual vs. standard production rates, and defects. End-of-shift reporting provides employees’ reporting and exit times, completed tasks, and ongoing projects. The reports come with customization features, allowing plant managers to adjust them to meet their specific needs. In essence, the OEE dashboard reveals what is happening in real time in the supply chain, on the manufacturing floor, and in the back office. Companies can use this information to achieve optimal performance.
MES systems can unlock the true potential of manufacturing operations. Providing end-to-end insight into the production process, they help manufacturers streamline operations, enhance quality control, and make data-driven decisions. This transformative technology is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. Embracing MES empowers businesses to deliver the highest quality products, adapt to ever-evolving global market demands, and thrive in today’s competitive environment.
To learn more about how MES can support businesses like yours, see our case studies or subscribe to the SYSCON PlantStar blog.