In my last post, I talked about how a Manufacturing Execution System, or MES, can improve manufacturing capacity by 10 to 50 percent. That’s because most manufacturers, even those who think they run a pretty tight ship, don’t really know what is happening on the shop floor. An MES system provides them with objective, automated, evidence-based data collection that gives them real-time insight into shop floor metrics.
If you’re looking to add MES to your business systems, you need to do your homework. While a vendor may call their application MES or claim it has MES capabilities, not all applications are created equal. Here are the 10 questions to consider when evaluating MES applications.
1. Does the MES system provide the right information in real-time to all key manufacturing stakeholders?
2. Does the MES show the manufacturing decision-maker how the current conditions on the plant floor can be optimized to improve production output?
3. Does the MES track a true Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) metric, or is it just reporting a machine-level utilization metric?
4. Does the MES provide real-time feedback of requirement changes, helping to reduce process error and improve uptime?
5. Can the vendor explain how their MES system can reduce waste, re-work and scrap, and how it will allow faster setup times?
6. Will the MES system help to capture more accurate cost information, such as costs related to labor, scrap, downtime, and tooling?
7. Can the MES access information and data across all types of machines and workstations on the shop floor, not just those that are PLC-controlled?
8. Does the MES system link seamlessly to the business system? Does it provide for two-way bi-synchronous communication using an electronic traveler?
9. Is the MES system scalable, and does it use advanced database tools for business intelligence reporting?
10. Can the MES vendor demonstrate a direct benefit in ROI by improving manufacturing efficiency?
Increasing capacity utilization in a manufacturing plant is all about effective communications between the shop floor and the top floor, and this is where the MES system shines. By monitoring all of a plant’s machines, not only will productivity and profitability be boosted, but the payback to the bottom line can be realized in just a matter of months. In the long run, MES is a time-saving, money-generating solution that starts with an understanding of what is happening at the machine level. Memex connects its MES package, MERLIN, directly from the shop floor to Microsoft’s Dynamic AX 2012 in a bi-synchronous communication of work orders and respective operational information. To learn more, visit us at www.memex.ca.
John Rattray, V.P., Memex Automation Inc., firstname.lastname@example.org