Overcoming Production Challenges Through the Use of MES Software
Bottom Line: MES Software provides manufacturing companies the end-to-end visibility and control necessary to overcome challenges and break down barriers that stand in the way of taking on more customers and growing sales.
The clearer and more real-time the end-to-end visibility is across shop floors and production plants, the easier it becomes to prioritize what needs to be improved first to increase production efficiency, solve an urgent quality problem, increase yield rates, and more. Real-time production and process monitoring data is the lifeblood that makes end-to-end visibility and control possible and is an integral part of MES software.
At the heart of end-to-end visibility and control is the Enterprise Resourcing Planning (ERP) and Manufacturing Execution System (MES). One of the most proven and fastest ways to achieve real-time end-to-end visibility and control is to have ERP and MES systems share the same database. Each ERP and MES application stays in sync with what’s going on across the shop floor, keeping customers informed and making sure every team working on orders knows what to do.
The more complex the production process the more important it is to have ERP and MES systems sharing the same data. Discrete and batch processing production efficiency and product quality improve when order processing, scheduling, production, and shipping all are integrated on a common database. Over and above improving end-to-end visibility and control, having an ERP and MES software share the same database has the potential to improve product quality while reducing order cycle times. For Quality Engineering teams, the real-time production and process monitoring data is invaluable in ensuring product and process quality goals are consistently achieved.
Knowing how, why and when production decisions are going to impact financial results is more achievable when an ERP and MES software share the same database. The goal is to gain greater insights into how decisions made every day on the shop floor impact costs, margins, profits, and revenue. Getting visibility into the contributions production and demand planning is making to revenue and growth goals is more likely to happen when an entire production system is sharing a common database as well.
Materials and labor shortages made more challenging by the unpredictability of supply chains today make end-to-end visibility a must-have in manufacturing. Gaining greater visibility and control across manufacturing is essential for maximizing production in an era of frequent and unpredictable material and labor shortages.
The following are five ways an MES can help overcome production challenges:
- Improve demand forecasting accuracy allowing for maximum lead times while keeping production schedules as on-track as possible. The more integrated an ERP, MES, and Supply Chain Management (SCM) system, the more effective demand forecasting is going to be in adapting quickly to material shortages or rapid spikes in new orders. The goal is to improve demand forecasting accuracy and allow for maximum lead times if needed. An MES integrated to the data level with other systems can make that happen and still keep production as on schedule as possible.
- Get back in control of daily production and optimize schedules in real-time to compensate for fluctuating labor costs & availability, materials shortages, and component delays. MES helps overcome these production challenges by automating Production Planning & Scheduling across shop floors while factoring in load and capacity analysis of machinery and available labor. Finite Scheduling is invaluable for optimizing production schedules within materials, labor, and machinery availability constraints.
- Shift from one production style or strategy to another quickly and have every feature of the MES down to the Bill of Materials and Work Instruction Level adapt. One of the greatest strengths of running production operations with an integrated ERP and MES system is the agility it provides in shifting from one manufacturing type to another. In a matter of days, manufacturers can pivot from one manufacturing style or strategy to another based on changes in customer orders and market demand. DELMIAworks supports 28 pre-built manufacturing types, for example.
- Simplifying and streamlining gage management and calibration removes productivity roadblocks and improves product quality. Keeping gages and tools in compliance is one of the most labor-intensive tasks manufacturing engineering and quality management teams take on. Keeping gages and tools in compliance and calibrated across multiple plants and several shop floors requires a centralized database approach to managing compliance reporting. Having gage management as an integral part of the database an MES is built on makes tool testing, calibration, and compliance data available across every phase of product quality, production, and compliance.
- Remove any uncertainty of which production jobs are running right now, when they will end and when a customers’ order will be ready to ship. It’s common to find Shop Floor Control Systems in an MES that is integrated with a production planning system. What’s uncommon is to find an MES software that supports Real-Time Production and Process Monitoring that’s also integrated into Production Scheduling. Real-time production monitoring data update the Production Schedule continuously so every member of the production time can see the state of each production job by work center across the shop floor. The Production Schedule is accessible on any Internet-enabled device, making it possible for production planners to balance and optimize jobs on the fly – and get back to sales teams and customers immediately with updates on when their orders will be ready.
Achieving end-to-end visibility and control across a shop floor, plant, or series of production locations is a competitive must-have today. Given how unpredictable and uncertain the availability of materials, labor, and production time is, it’s imperative that a manufacturer knows how their decisions on the shop floor impact top floor financial results. That’s why having an MES and ERP system built on a single, unified platform needs to be the cornerstone of smart manufacturing going forward. Having the insights and intelligence needed to pivot production and stay in step with customers is everything today.