Why Manufacturing Execution Software Isn’t What You Think It Is

October 28, 2020
4 min read

When people think of Manufacturing Execution Software, one of the first things that come to mind is, “It costs way too much” or “it would be too disruptive to my current processes”.

But this actually couldn’t be further from the truth.

When you have a complete understanding of your ROI, the cost objection can disappear.

Look at the cost savings alone, generated primarily by tracking, validating, enforcing, and error proofing. Having the ability to capture errors as they occur validates that you are building each product to design and ensures that only quality products leave your facility.   No more rush shipments or costly scrap because of the failure to capture errors before they mount into more costs.  How much are these shipments and quality issues costing you on a regular basis today?

Along with direct cost savings, you also need to consider the advantages of your data. Having data to analyze your processes and operational efficiency allows you to focus on continuous improvement and savings opportunities. 

Process disruptions are always a concern, but a properly designed MES can allow you to avoid process disruptions and can, in fact, provide you the tools to improve your process efficiency and quality. Creating a digital snapshot of your processes provides you with all types of data. 

Not only are you tracking and tracing your parts throughout the manufacturing processes, but you are also gathering information related to the labor, quality, scrap reasons, downtime reasons, preventive maintenance, etc…. giving you a complete picture and understanding of how your processes truly operate.  

This, again, is valuable data for use in analytical and statistical analysis. You can begin by asking the right questions: 

  • Where are my bottlenecks? 
  • Where are my failures happening, and why? 
  • How does my production numbers compare to our goals and objectives? 

An Accurate Way to View an MES

A good MES should be viewed as a tool to support your manufacturing environment. It can ensure you are building the correct product using the right components and following the correct routing every time. Tracking and Tracing in an MES not only provides a genealogical record of your manufactured parts, but it also offers other invaluable data.

In the event of a material recall, you have the data to isolate the suspected material(s) to greatly reduce the number of parts that need to be recalled by only focusing on the usage of the suspect material.  

Providing real-time feedback allows you to capture any errors or defects at the point of failure. Data is your forensic proof of how your employees, material, processes, machines, and quality contribute to your goals and key performance indicators (KPI).

Investing in Data

Requirements are changing in manufacturing all the time.  

Customers want more information and more data, which puts a strain on their suppliers to perform better and faster. In all forms of manufacturing, new processes are put in place to resolve a need, and these unique processes come at a cost.  

Suppose you are investing in your business’ future successes with Customers. In that case, you need the ability to show the data and prove you do pay attention to what is vital when it comes to building only suitable products and building them efficiently.

Recalls are something we all hear about, whether related to an automobile, a child safety device, food products, etc. Recalls are severe and can come at a high cost. That cost will be even greater if you do not collect the data related to the components you are using in your products.

Having the data of where suspected material was used in your facility allows you to isolate it and reduce the amount of product included in that recall.  

Without this information, your losses could be much higher. The lack of being able to show where the suspected material was used expands that recall to a much greater extent and it becomes much more difficult to contain.  

In today’s day in age, Automation has become more and more of a must-have. Integration with your shop floor equipment helps provide that “total picture” of your operations and processes. Collecting the data from your PLCs or other types of equipment adds to your part’s story. It helps to build that evidence that your material and parts are only produced within the designed specifications intended.

At the end of the day, if you have a system that provides you with data related to your KPIs and focuses on your business’s goals and objectives, you will be equipped with the knowledge to grow and be successful. That’s precisely what an MES provides.