MES Shifting Manufacturing Into High Gear

There are a number of productivity improvements and cost savings that are driving manufacturers to update their manufacturing execution systems software.

Connected Machinery

From automotive to household goods to electronics, manufacturing environments across industries demand complete, accurate and accessible data from the shop floor as efficiently and quickly as possible. Yet this year, manufacturing productivity was challenged by changing processes:

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, 53.1 percent of manufacturers are anticipating a change in operations due to the pandemic. These manufacturers will look to technology investments that leverage data analytics and predictive tools to mitigate unnecessary downtime, simplify processes and make smarter decisions, enabling them to heighten operations and create a smooth supply chain.

Manufacturing Execution System (MES) software is one tool manufacturers can rely on to improve performance. MES software provides businesses with effective monitoring and integration throughout the factory to achieve optimal productivity and to ensure maximum output to respond to consumer demands. With MES software, shop floor information is available to all key decision makers, allowing them to detect and respond rapidly to changing requirements and conditions of the supply chain.

There are a number of critical points like productivity improvements and cost savings that are driving manufacturers to update their plant operations with MES software.

Reducing Waste and Inventory Overages

Agility and flexibility are key attributes to a productive and more competitive operation. MES enables this by allowing smoother integration of new processes and quicker reaction times to unplanned events. This is especially important when businesses start to determine production resources. MES software can determine proper allocation and satisfy manufacturing requirements accurately and efficiently. Such production resources and material management tools largely influence plant success.

With MES software, companies can streamline production to ensure that materials are used properly and waste is reduced. Not only does this create a more sustainable supply chain, but it can help reduce costs and labor. Businesses can also minimize risk for recalls, defects or regulatory issues with MES software. Once a business gains confidence in its agile systems and can stay ahead of malfunctions, it can begin to standardize operations and maximize the use of machines with minimum material waste. 

In addition to properly allocating resources to reduce waste, MES drives business processes for multi-site manufacturers by standardizing workflows and procedures across locations. By maintaining consistent processes, both workflows and material needs can be standardized across all plants, reducing potential downtime.

Having pre-determined workflows for machines is one way to ensure enhanced productivity by decreasing downtime in regular processes, as well as when problem solving when malfunctions arise. MES software can even help manufacturers comply with safety standards during the pandemic, such as adaptive shift scheduling and sensors that track which materials have had human contact.

Complying with these regulations proactively reduces potential downtime from current and future health risks. 

Reducing Costs 

Proper management of physical assets is key to optimizing throughput and productivity, which leads to overall cost savings. With MES software, manufacturers can maximize savings across the board from material, energy, IT and labor perspectives.

For example, smart material management solutions let workers know when to order inventory based on real-time supply levels. This way warehouses are never overstocked or out of raw materials. In addition, monitoring the energy use of key equipment can quickly identify faults while optimizing energy consumption and automatic data collection. This not only improves accuracy, but saves hours of operator time.

One of the main benefits of MES software is deeper and real-time visibility into shop floor operations for enhanced productivity. Once standardized workflows are in place, businesses can begin to maximize the use of MES throughout the shop floor and greater supply chain.

  • Integrated with IoT signals, predictive maintenance can focus on cycled improvements based on accurate and real-time data.
  • Businesses can maximize throughput with this maintenance scheduling and stay ahead of malfunctions to increase productivity.
  • With real-time data at the fingertips of shift supervisors or plant managers, key decision makers are able to focus on driving shop performance more effectively.

Having this deepened view into performance and the ability to detect problems with areas such as production count or machine downtime is key to quickening reaction time when issues arise. Once an issue is detected, a solution can be enacted at a moment’s notice to support continuous production improvement, as well as improved agility and flexibility. 

Accelerating Digital Transformation 

There are a host of benefits that come with MES software and it is a key player in keeping the whole operation and overall business productivity high, without sacrificing quality. However, businesses should not look at these benefits as singular items, but rather how MES software acts as the glue between systems to create a cohesive shop operation for machines and humans. Not only is MES the key to enhanced productivity and core functionality, but it is also the foundation of a business’ ongoing journey of digital transformation.

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