The Components of MES Value

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The Components of MES Value

MES can impact every part of your business, glean return and drive efficiency from each area of your operation. When considering where to get the value that MES brings it’s really about identifying and filling the gaps and voids between operations and your ERP system. The ERP directs macro-scheduling and a wide variety of activities on the plant floor such as asset usage, production balancing, crew / operator planning, etc. By using MES as the integration path to tie the ERP to the process control layer you expose information and status of the individual asset in the plant. By using MES as the bridge to Process Control integration it allows insight to understand how well you’re running (Performance), what it is that you’re running (Operations) and visibility into how much you have made that is sellable (Quality). These are valuable insights and warrant a little deeper understanding.

Performance Insight

How am I running? Manufacturing plants have a lot of data about how much / how many things they made. The problem is that the data they have lacks the context of the type of product made and the issues experienced while they made that number of products. MES Performance (aka OEE) provides the required connective contextual information to allow the supervisor and plant leadership the ability to see what they made from a productivity perspective against a standard of measure. A path to standardized OEE calculations is to add MES Performance to a couple of select assets on the line to gain an understanding on how the entire line is running. From that info and resultant actions there is often further justification to add in more details and additional assets to the model and the use of MES evolves over time. With OEE information and the included downtime reasons it is possible to understand where it is feasible to improve manufacturing lines and have concrete data to build an ROI for a project that’s going to make an area of the plant more efficient and overall, more profitable. MES provides visibility into those areas of leakage.

Quality Insight

What is sellable? Manufacturing plants determine what is sellable by performing a significant number of quality checks throughout the production process. Many of these checks are performed on paper via tally and clip boards. The majority of the checks are required on a very frequent basis (e.g. every 15 minutes or every hour) and, as a result, are very labor intensive. But this manual process of checking is very prone to human error. A way to close this gap is to implement MES Quality. MES Quality implementations provide an electronic means to enter and integrate quality measurement directly into SCADA clients or plant floor tablets. The use of MES provides a means to ensure quality checks are performed in a timely manner and are accurate regardless of the measurement mechanism. The resultant reports, alerts, and insight show how well the systems are running within the expected quality parameters. From this integrated information it is possible to implement a positive product release approach with a high degree of confidence.

Operational Insight

What am I (and how should I be) running? When you start to relate information from one function (OEE) to another (Quality) it unlocks even more insight. For example, scheduling production is a challenging area of plant operations. Traditionally every facility has scheduling algorithms embedded in a large Excel file that was developed based on years of measurement, assumptions, and tribal knowledge. There is typically one (or maybe two) people in the plant that understand the complexity of the operations and the use of the spreadsheet. These schedulers spend significant time to build the day’s changeover matrix via a manual process for the plant. Worse than the manual constraints, these scheduling people leave the plant every night and (hopefully) come in every morning. As a result, these systems are very reliant on that one person and are prone to error based on misapplied assumptions and mistargeted tribal knowledge. MES for Operations takes the MES Quality and Performance data, compares the past performance and results, and recommends scheduling configurations that optimize changeover, cleaning and set up requirements on a product-to-product basis. Operations MES can provide the ability to set ingredient orders based on inventory and auto schedule the inventory on the equipment that’s available today. Operational MES removes the need for people to think about what’s going to be coming next or what your clean requirements might be. Instead, operations can focus on more pressing human element issues and coordination between departments.
MES functions and value rollup into the three large buckets of Performance, Quality and Operations. Manufacturing plants have solutions to address the individual demands of these buckets. The challenge is that the solutions are siloed. The data is siloed. The information and the flow of it is siloed. It’s not a connected approach. The people that use the solutions live inside the solution, sometimes as rudimentary as an Excel spreadsheet. They print out information and they give it to the operators daily. The printout has no intelligence around or in it. There’s no information about how well we’re attaining the goals. To understand that, plant resources need to go back and retro actively dig through all the hard copy data. MES provides the ability to see all of that in real time and influence the outcome while working under a single umbrella. Rather than having dead end data silos, MES provides data context, access, and understanding, communicating those results back to the ERP system. MES empowers the operator and plant leadership with the tools to deliver results and improve upon them daily.
Interested in taking the steps to implement a practical MES strategy to improve your operations? Click here to connect with a consultant.

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