10 Ways Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) Are Accelerating Time-To-Market and Quality

Any manufacturer who pursues greater speed, scale of operations and strives to be simpler to do business with will win more deals and grow faster than competitors. Gartner, IDC and independent research studies all show that manufacturers who provide the first quote have the highest probability of closing a deal.

Add to this the ability to provide real-time updates on orders while managing shop floor operations, and the competitive strength of customer-driven manufacturing becomes clear.

Bottom line: Putting customers at the center of shop floor operations delivers quicker time-to-market, higher quality products and leads to greater trust over time.

MES Is A Catalyst Of Customer-Centric Growth

Just measuring how fast a process gets done using internally-derived analytics and metrics misses the point of how to excel in manufacturing today. All that matters is how manufacturing operations measure up to customer expectations every day.

Making use of every element in an MES can revolutionize any manufacturing business.

When the goal is excelling at customer-based measures of performance, MES is becoming increasingly important, leading to a revolution in manufacturing results.

Here are 10 Ways Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are accelerating time-to-market and quality today:

1. Making product quality a core part of how trust is made – by making it repeatable and real for every customer.

There’s no other aspect of any manufacturer’s operations that says what they value more than product and service quality.

Making the tough decisions to trade off speed or expediency for quality delivers long-term customer relationships and trust MES software must be the foundation for driving quality across the shop floor is essential to stay competitive today.

2. Moving at the speed customers expect, from production cycle times to meeting and beating delivery dates and measuring manufacturing responsiveness is the new normal.

At its most fundamental level, MES software is designed to orchestrate each production process as efficiently as possible to deliver the highest quality product.

MES software can measure shipping performance against a deadline, providing insights into which orders were delivered before their commitment date, on time and late.

3. Providing manufacturers with greater agility in managing mixed mode production operations and scaling to support custom product configurations.

An industrial products manufacturer says that the most profitable new product extensions are coming from specialized, to-order product strategies that entirely new customers are asking for. Turning build-to-order projects into products is providing new customers and revenue streams for the company.

Manufacturers gaining the greatest traction with this strategy have globally scalable manufacturing execution systems that can manage product variation to the bill of materials and work instruction levels. Scaling from make-to-stock to build-to-order, configure-to-order and engineer-to-order, manufacturers can flex their business models and generate greater revenue.

4. Increase production capacity and quality by closing the gaps between production and process data and find new ways to improve operations processes.

No manufacturer’s business model stands still, they are in a continual state of evolution and change. New opportunities emerge from product and service customization and the potential to launch entirely new product lines is consistently happening.

Making the most of these opportunities for growth while diagnosing problems is one area where manufacturing execution systems can contribute to company growth. When MES software is implemented correctly, manufacturers find the areas of improvement they need to address quickly and how best to produce new product lines that drive new revenue.

5.Making the new product development and introduction process a strength based on tighter coordination between sales forecasts, suppliers, production and quality.

In the typical manufacturer 70% of new revenue is generated during new product introductions. The majority of manufacturers aren’t realizing the full revenue potential of their product launches due to forecasts, suppliers, production scheduling workflows and quality all being disconnected from each other. One of the most valuable aspects of integrating shop floor manufacturing operations are the more lucrative new product launches this decision leads to.

Having an integrated approach to new product development and introductions keeps product lifecycles on schedule. It also alleviates the bottlenecks that can constrain product development turning over their designs to manufacturing. Greater speed, simplicity and scale of the new product development and introduction process is achieved.

6. By integrating into support for smartphones and other mobility devices, manufacturers can streamline shop floor operations while responding to customer, sales, supplier and support requests.

Being able to have real-time access to production scheduling, current yield rates and product quality levels on a smartphone or mobile device reduces delays in serving customers while improving in-plant collaboration.

Nearly all mobile apps have alerts that can be configured to support individualized product, workflow, supplier and customer order status. Production teams stay informed and have the time they need to respond and get roadblocks out of the way and keep the plant productive.

7. Creating and continually fine-tuning Manufacturing Intelligence across the shop floor to the top floor.

Gaining greater insights into how each phase of manufacturing operations impacts a company’s financials is now possible. Tracking the impact of quality management decisions at the product, supplier and manufacturing center is achievable today.

Aligning all these sources of insight into a dashboard that provides a predictive look at how manufacturing can be improved continually starts moving operations in a customer-centric direction. Manufacturing Intelligence is going to revolutionize manufacturing by providing analytics and insights necessary to continually improve customer responsiveness, product quality and operational performance.

8. Galvanizing production teams around customer-centric goals brings greater accountability and ownership to each order produced and shipped.

When a manufacturer embraces customer-centric goals, every team member on the plant floor knows how and why their best efforts matter. Instead of seeing their jobs as assembling product after product, the focus of team members and entire teams becomes on excelling for customers.

When quality can be traced back to each production team, competition increases and results often surpass teams’ expectations. Infusing ownership into production is critical to staying competitive. Relying on MES software as the catalyst for enabling a strong focus on customer metrics and results delivered can energize production teams and drive greater results.

9. Capitalizing on mergers and acquisitions of new production facilities requires an MES that can quickly scale across products and facilities fast.

Given the quickening pace of mergers and acquisitions in manufacturing, it’s essential to have a manufacturing execution system capable of scaling quickly across product lines and geographies. For those manufacturing companies looking to grow through acquisition, having a scalable MES in place brings compliance, quality management and time-to-market advantages quickly.

Scaling global operations using a single MES is achievable and accelerates time-to-market. With the future of manufacturing being dominated by mergers and acquisitions, planning ahead and defining a scalable global MES strategy makes sense and leads to greater speed and scale.

10. Bringing greater visibility into plant floor operations and performance by providing senior management with real-time updates on operations efficiency.

In conversations with CIOs and CEOs of financial services, healthcare and manufacturing companies, the most common request they have of manufacturing operations is the need to translate ongoing operational results into financial reporting. This requirement is a challenge for many manufacturers especially as accounting and costing standards vary across each of their product lines and business units.

Advanced Manufacturing Execution System software can interpret operational data from the shop floor and report back financials to senior management. In business models known for rapid inventory turns and commodity products, this is crucial to staying profitable and growing. For high margin products and services, this helps senior management determine where best to invest in production and services delivery for the highest possible return.

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For more than 25 years, IQMS has been designing and developing manufacturing ERP software for the repetitive, process and discrete industries. Today, IQMS provides a comprehensive real-time ERP software and MES solution to the automotive, medical, packaging, consumer goods and other manufacturing markets. The extended single-database enterprise software solution, EnterpriseIQ, offers a scalable system designed to grow with the client and complete business functionality, including accounting, quality control, supply chain, shop floor, CRM and eBusiness. With offices across North America, Europe and Asia, IQMS serves manufacturers around the world. For more information, please visit iqms.com.