The mistakes companies make when implementing a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) often start at the evaluation stage which then manifest themselves during implementation. Learn from the mistakes others have already made to ensure your MES implementation runs as smoothly as possible.
Five MES Implementation Mistakes to Learn From
- Limited focus: Too often the focus is on machine integration. Not a bad thing. This usually means Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), which refers to an industrial computer system that monitors and controls a process. It’s important to remember in this situation “process” means only the machine’s internal process not the routing process of moving production through the factory, so, don’t expect to improve on-time delivery, eliminate wasted time at bottleneck operations, or control raw material/component usage.
- Forgetting labor: Many MES projects focus on the elimination of labor, but labor must and should be involved with the MES. Unless you can eliminate labor completely, the utopian “lights out factory,” then you should provide a proven intuitive user interface (UI) that is easy-to-use out of the box. At a minimum, it should allow for the manual capture of reasons for downtimes/scrap which often cannot be acquired directly from the machine. For most factories it provides an easy way to capture accurate materials used in production. In addition, it can provide verification of production quantities and on demand bar code labeling. If you ignore the “labor” in this decision, then you should expect them to ignore your final system solution.
- No Advanced Planning & Scheduling: Effective use of assets — both equipment and labor — is a must for any MES. In that same vein, there is often the requirement for optimized scheduling of parts using sequencing rules, and considering multiple constraints: labor, machines, tools, etc. Even now, people think they have a scheduling system when all it provides is a single constraint on inventory! Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) can optimize job/part sequencing by grouping raw materials, minimizing setup times, evaluating labor and tool constraints all within seconds. You should be able to see your sales orders visually linked to specific finished goods production, operations, specific raw material and purchase orders. Now that has value. Learn more about APS.
- Costly Integration: Having a certified solution partner like FACTIVITY with a certified integration will save the headache and cost associated with expensive consulting and integration services from a third party, not to mention the ongoing subscription fees that can mount up as you discover more uses for your MES implementation.
- Data Acquisition: Collecting data from addresses or tags on a machine is easy, but knowing how much data to capture is not intuitive. Capturing OEE related measurements in real time can be effective if the data is presented on a shift/hourly basis, not necessarily job-by-job. Don’t forget to capture the part and tool, if appropriate, and of course capture the people setting up and/or running the job for effective back-end analytics on improving the process. Parametric measures can be time stamped and might include the capture of machine settings when scrap is created or provide capture of recipe/process information when a new part/process is first put online successfully. Learn more about OEE.
More Information on MES Implementation
For more information on MES read Ten Good Reasons to Implement an MES on Your Factory Floor.