Everything You Need to Know About Manufacturing Execution Systems

Sebastian Grzesik

Additive manufacturing is continuing to industrialize at quite a fast rate. Manufacturers who adopt this form of manufacturing will need to have the best possible strategies in place in order to manage and grow their workflows. An excellent way to do this is by using a Manufacturing Execution System (MES)

But what exactly is a Manufacturing Execution System? What are the tangible benefits, and is it easy to implement? Let’s explore everything you need to know about manufacturing execution systems, and how GGS IT Consulting can help you get started with MES.

What is a Manufacturing Execution System?

Manufacturing execution systems or MES are computerized systems used in manufacturing to track and document the transformation of raw materials to finished goods. It is an information system capable of connecting and controlling complex manufacturing systems and their data flows within factory.

Typically, the main goal of MES is to make sure that manufacturing operations are being executed at maximum efficiency and that production output is improved. MES can help companies reach that goal through tracking and gather data in real-time in the context of production lifecycle. This will start with order release and end with the delivery stage for the product.

An MES can collect so much different data about a product, including performance, material management, general factory activities, traceability, and product genealogy. This data can then be used by key players and stakeholders in the company to get a better understanding of the factory floor as it currently stands, and to optimize the production process for the long-term.

Not only are MES really useful, but they’re growing in popularity. In a report from Market Research Future for Globe News Wire, it was found that the global MES industry is growing at an astounding rate of 15.3% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate)

“The global manufacturing execution system (MES) market is projected to reach USD 46,376.8 million at a healthy CAGR of 15.41% between 2019 and 2027, as per the latest Market Research Future (MRFR) report,” the report reads, “The growing penetration of the Internet of Things technology through different automation-promoting industries is expected to fuel market growth. IoT technology helps manufacturers create, streamline and collapse system architecture in a cost-effective, responsive and efficient manner. This technology also allows interaction and communication between industrial devices to provide the industry with optimum efficiency and flexibility. The proliferation of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is anticipated to augment the installation of MES in the future. IoT is now pushing advances such as cloud computing, big data analytics, and industrial mobility.”

What Does MES Do?

To understand what exactly a manufacturing execution system does, it helps to understand the system’s architecture.

The key functions of a basic MES model include:

  • Quality management
  • Data collection & acquisition
  • Product tracking
  • Genealogy of products
  • Labor and staff management
  • Document control
  • Operations and detailed sequencing
  • Resource allocation and status logging
  • Dispatch of production units
  • Performance analysis for the whole scope of the factory floor
  • Maintenance management
  • Process management for production

This standard model is the foundation of the system’s architecture. From here, this model can be applied to a number of different functional hierarchy levels within a production company or manufacturer:

  • Level 0,1,2: Process control systems such as batch control, continuous control, and discrete control.
  • Level 3: Manufacturing operations management. (This is where the MES comes in.)
  • Level 4: ERP operations such as business planning and logistics.

Essentially, an MES is the functional level between ERP and process control that gives manufacturers the type of workflow visibility that they need in real-time to make the factory operate better.

What is the Difference Between MES and ERP?

MES and ERP overlap in some areas, but they are fundamentally different from one another.

There are three major differences between MES and ERP.

  • MES manages the actual floor processes and operations and ERP systems take on the task of scheduling and more quantitative analysis.
  • The way data is captured and analyzed is also very different. An MES will generate reports in real-time. An ERP system will provide a general report over a specific timeline like weeks, months, years, etc.
  • System integration is very different between the two systems. MES are often integrated to machines within the factory. ERP systems are not integrated with actual devices and instead are integrated as software with a variety of CRMs and tools.

Some business heads may think that they can simply build to the order schedules from the ERP layer. Unfortunately, today’s manufacturing plants are very complex and constantly changing. Scheduling should account for such variation beyond what planning systems can. The automation that MES provides will consider and control the critical details of a modern factory floor. Such variations that occur include:

  • Availability of transport & quality resources
  • Changes to minimize process time and setups
  • Layoffs, no-shows, and resignation of key labor workers
  • Changing setup times
  • Machine breakdowns
  • Quality problems
  • Varying work plans & parts list
  • Cleaning and maintenance times
  • Changing delivery dates

1

What is MES Implementation?

The way GGS IT Consulting implements MES generally follows following steps, which can differ depending on the specific company:

  • Perform a detailed analysis, requirements check by interviewing key staff
  • Develop a gap analysis for the control system layers and ERP layer.
  • Publish a schedule for MES implementation, mock runs, and testing.
  • Conduct risk assessment.
  • Define __integration points__ between different layers in the factory architecture.
  • Integrate the MES software with any other necessary control systems.

The Main Goal of MES

For any kind of implementation, the main goal of a manufacturing execution system is to improve the effective execution of different manufacturing operations within a factory and to improve the output of production. Think of MES as a system that is designed solely to help management and decision-makers figure out the best steps to improve production.

What are the Benefits of MES?

There are a tons of benefits to using an MES in a business, including:

  • You’ll save money. If you streamline your operations after using an MES, you’ll be able to cut down on your ordering processes and free your staff from production lines and inventory management. That means that costs are cut quite significantly.
  • You’ll be able to replace your spreadsheets and paperwork. An MES will record all costs involved, from labor to maintenance to downtime, all in real- time.
  • You’ll have to deal with less inventory. An MES updates your inventory records in real-time, so your departments in shipping and purchasing will have a better grasp on what products are available.
  • Integration with ERP systems is simple. This reduces or completely eliminated the need for individual standalone systems, constant data re-entry, and poor information about projected delivery timelines.
  • Real-time visibility and use-friendly interfaces will improve the efficiency of nearly all of your departments, so your operators will be able to work faster and with less tedious work when placing orders or dealing with process control.
  • You’ll be able to reduce waste and overages for optimum efficiency. The system will be able to find any inconsistencies on the floor of your shop and stop them immediately in order to limit how many bad parts and created and materials are wasted.
  • Downtime will be less time-consuming. An MES will be able to create a realistic production schedule for your business. This is done by tracking all raw materials and parts. Without the need to re-confure schedules, time is wasted less. PIX03869

How to Start Using MES

Implementing and using an MES is a complex process that involves significant knowledge of robotics, technology, and manufacturing. The experienced team at GGS IT Consulting will take on the task of implementing your MES and helping your key staff understand how to use your unique product to get the most out of it.

Depending on your unique business, factory processes, and pain points, you can use an MES for so many different things. Before the team at GGS IT Consulting recommends any specific system, our team will conduct a full examination of your factory, interview your key workers and management, and work directly with you and any other stakeholders to identify what kind of solution you need in an MES.

The use cases of MES implementation are virtually endless. Just a few examples of MES in action include:

  • Performance Management and Monitoring
  • Document Management
  • Product Data Management and Monitoring
  • Genealogy Tracability Applications
  • Product Traceability Applications
  • Product Configurator
  • Bill of Material
  • Engineering Change Control
  • Supply Chain Management and Monitoring
  • Planning System Interfaces
  • Visual Schedulers
  • eProduction and Dispatching Platforms
  • Shop Floor Control Modules
  • Support Functions of MES
  • Maintenance Management and Monitoring
  • Quality Control Systems
  • Statistical Process Controls
  • Inventory Tracking and Management Aid
  • Material Movement Management and Monitoring
  • Exception Management and Monitoring
  • Data Collection
  • Exception Management and Monitoring

GGS is Providing MES Services to Businesses

At GGS IT Consulting, our team is delivering a number of digital transformation systems, including Manufacturing Execution Systems.

One of the great use cases was MES implementation at Brintons Angella, a Polish luxury rugs factory. The company asked GGS to collaborate on a digital transformation project, and after a market analysis in this sector, we found a ton of benefits of implementing a manufacturing execution process. We built the Manufacturing Execution System, which was supposed to combine operational data related to production departments, clock in and out times, payroll, and ERP.

As a result MES not only increased the work and equipments efficiency at Brintons Angella, but also improved planning and optimization of capacity and reduced hiring costs. Check out our case study to find out the details of this implementation. agnella3

Are you ready to start implementing a manufacturing execution system into your company? Get in touch with us today to get a free consultation and receive more information about our delivery process.