Manufacturing Execution System – Make it work for you!
Are you having to deal with low percentage of on-time completions, high throughput times, frequent line down situations or high WIP? Obviously something is very wrong, particularly if you said "Yes" to more than one of the above. Having consulted for several discrete manufacturing clients has made one thing very apparent to me - a lean and agile manufacturing environment is not an option but an imperative for manufacturing industries to achieve operational excellence. All of the above were contra-indicators of operational excellence. A manufacturing execution system (MES) can support a manufacturing firm in achieving this very objective. An MES system works in tandem with a mainstream ERP system to execute, monitor and manage the production processes on a shop floor. Together with an ERP system, an MES system can nudge (or push, if required!) an enterprise into adopting standardized processes and at the same time creating key data elements for performance measurements.
Consider the ways in which an MES system can assist you:
- Detailed scheduling: An MES system can take input from capacities defined for work centers and hourly usage of machines and labor (in routings) to perform detail scheduling. Sophisticated MES systems can take setup times into cognizance to minimize setups and maximize utilization
- Dispatching: A MES system can use a dispatch list format to feed work to work centers. It can be used to perform real time prioritization of work orders to reflect reality on the floor - component shortages, current work center availability, downstream work center availability, premium customers and even executive diktats (a late evening call from the plant manager overrides everything else!!)
- Operational Reporting: An MES system, complemented by the use of the mobile devices using radio frequency, can be used to perform move transactions from one operation to another. This is important in a job shop environment which may have long lead times, to track work orders, correctly reflect work in process costs and perform dispatching of jobs
- Nonconformance tracking: An MES system will provide ways of tracking and managing non-conformances. While eliminating waste such as non-conformances remains a top priority for organizations, managing them on occurrence remains a grim reality. Ways to quickly identify, segregate and disposition non-conformances will aid in minimizing impact upon customer orders
An MES system is now frequently offered by ERP vendors as an add-on or they provide integration with best-of-breed MES vendors. So its time for companies who have not yet invested in MES systems to see how they can make it work for them!