Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are highly powerful automated systems deployed in manufacturing to track the transformation of raw material to finished product in your production line. MES keeps up with your production process in real-time and is used to optimize all aspects of your production line.
With an MES, you’re able to:
1. Analyze Production and Downtime Management for Overall Equipment Effectiveness
OEE scores are probably one of your most important top-level metrics. An MES gives you actionable insights into quality, performance and availability details with the aim of maximizing each category.
There are a number of factors that could modify ratios of usable products coming off of your production line. And integrated solution allows you to look at every step of your process for possible quality control opportunities.
MES provides insights into both sides of the performance metric. On the planning side, you can get the information you need to create the most productive line and change the layout when necessary. On the practice side, you can keep track of order execution and resource scheduling to get as close to the theoretical goal as possible.
Through enhanced reports powered by integration with order execution and product definitions, an MES can help increase your availability score. Getting these step-by-step reports back from the floor has several advantages. Correlating loss events with other data could inform scheduling of maintenance and identify problem resources, for example. It all goes towards decreasing the frequency of the specific type of unscheduled downtime you're experiencing.
The right information can help you climb to the top of your industry in OEE scores. Schedule a demo today to get started.
2. Engage in Materials Track and Trace
Your products undoubtedly undergo complex transformations, but everything starts with the materials. Understanding their status during every step of the process allows you to keep better records for inventory control, quality standards compliance and any number of other functions.
MES track-and-trace functions give you the oversight you need to understand where your materials are going and what is happening to them every step of the way. This granular data provides direct support for other functions, such as OEE scoring and resource scheduling, to help inform decisions about resource commitment, order timing and other enterprise-level concerns.
From intake to finished product, tracking and tracing with an MES lets you tell a detailed story about what happens to each of your materials. See how Intraratio solutions could integrate into your system by scheduling a demo now.
3. Improve Order Execution and Dispatch
Manufacturing managers need to define the processes necessary to complete orders in a set amount of time, either working forward from the day materials are received or backward from a due date. Order execution planning and the scheduling control element, order dispatch, typically happen at the MES level.
Stay Flexible at Scale:
When things don't go exactly according to schedule, your plan might need to change across your enterprise. Lower-than-expected efficiency, longer maintenance times or a steep learning curve could all have an effect on whether orders come through on time.
You need to make the right changes as soon as possible to prevent production delays. That's where MES comes in.
Get Relevant Information:
Real-time reporting allows you to manage production and provides a top-level, updated view of order scheduling and execution as information comes back from the floor. If things are going slower than expected, data from MES would suggest which action you need to take to make your goals, such as retraining or increasing resource commitments.
Accurate order execution makes happy clients. Book a demo today to see what MES tools can add to your production management practice.
4. Measure Product Quality
Anyone who is involved with a growing manufacturing enterprise knows that higher production and competitive pricing can threaten quality. An MES lets you keep track of custom product quality metrics and compare them to other elements of production.
Product quality is about more than just satisfying customers in highly regulated industries, such as chemical, pharmaceutical and food manufacturing. Through integration with resource scheduling, product definition and other systems, an MES can inform quality improvement decisions about every aspect of production:
Then, you can track the effect of your changes in real time as information comes back from the production floor. You can also push the MES data out to other systems.
An MES allows integration with other important systems, such as MRP, MRP II and ERP. It scales up seamlessly to multiple work centers, creating enterprise-wide quality oversight and control. See what a customized management and tracking system could do for you by scheduling a demo today.
5. Schedule Resources and Control Inventory
Resource management is critically important to manufacturing. After all, your orders won't get filled on time if you don't have adequate levels of material, equipment or labor resources.
An MES provides a framework for oversight and analysis of resource scheduling and control.
Here are a few of the specific things these systems can do for your manufacturing enterprise:
- Track the use of labor, uptime and materials
- Utilize product definition and order execution data for resource scheduling
- Manage orders to maintain or decrease on-hand inventory
The closer you are to real-timåe reporting with this data, the better control you have over your inventory tracking and consumption. Intraratio has an innovative step-by-step system that lets you see exactly when each material is consumed.
As with other functions of an MES, you can communicate resource scheduling and inventory control information easily across enterprises. It can also feed into MRP, MRP II and ERP systems. Book a demo today to see how Intraratio can integrate into your accounting and planning systems.
If your company operates in an industry that is highly regulated, an MES is a crucial addition to your production process because no other solution provides the granular oversight and control over your operation.
What To Look For in an MES
Evaluating MES options to meet your company’s unique needs is crucial. Here are the facets of MES technology that need to be considered:
Level of traceability needed
- Many options provide some level of traceability. However, some options to more granular levels than others. For example, Intraratio’s RunCard offers Serialized Traceability, which allows you to track materials to a serial level.
Cloud-based or deployed on-site
- Do you require your system to be deployed on-premise, in the cloud, or a hybrid of both?
- Based on production volume data requirements, flexible solutions can be beneficial.
- Read on about what deployment option is right for you.
- Do you need to integrate your MES with an ERP?
- Will the solution you’re considering seamlessly integrate with data feeds from suppliers across the world?
- These integration options are important to ensure improved performance and inventory tracking. Reduce your costs by eliminating manual transactions and supply chain errors.
The in-house IT resources you’re willing to devote
- Some MES’s will require sizeable IT involvement from company to manage and assist in the installation of your system.
- Intraratio’s RunCard system is not one of those. Our flexible system can be deployed on the could or on-premise and has one of the quickest installation cycles of any MES on the market
- Learn more about the cost-saving benefits of flexible MES like RunCard
Intraratio RunCard MES Solution
Manufacturing Execution System (MES) vs Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
As digitization has taken root in manufacturing over the last few decades, two particular types of systems that overlap in functionality but maintain distinct purposes have garnered attention and debate: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and the Manufacturing Execution System (MES). Exploring the core functions of each of these applications can help decision makers determine whether one of these systems or the other, or both working.
As the name suggests, the designers of Manufacturing Execution Systems are primarily involved in the "how" component of making things. An MES acts as an operative layer between the machine manufacturing process and the human decision makers on the shop floor.
- Labor shortages, delivery problems, mechanical failures and machine malperformance all represent variable factors that have derailed production schedules in the past.
- Modern MES applications provide information in real-time to enable rapid adjustments to unforeseen changes in the process. A properly implemented MES system monitors events such as these on the line and makes the necessary corrections to limit losses and slowdowns.
- A fully integrated MES also provides a level of OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) reporting which allows a company executive, supervisor or operators to dive deep into shop floor performance to pinpoint inefficiencies and improve yields.
- The MES system accounts for material quantities, work rates, process efficiencies, and other similar factors. It makes adjustments in the scheduling of workers, deliveries, job batches, and related areas to eliminate or minimize any wastefulness present in the process. The MES accomplishes this feat using feedback loops to monitor physical processes continuously, capture data and evaluate it. The program then feeds the results back into the system to adjust the processes as required to keep everything running smoothly.
- The ability of MES to record and share detailed build statistics is an invaluable asset to companies that the government requires to maintain accurate records of the manufacturing process.
Enterprise Resource Planning has expanded into such a universal concept in the business world that some seem to view it as a panacea for all organizational and production problems. In reality, ERP focuses specifically on planning the use of resources.
- The different departments of an organization feed data into the ERP system, and it provides a cross-platform ability to enable every area within the business to share information.
- Designers build ERP systems around transactional processes inherent to the particular type of business.
- In a manufacturing setting, the focus of an ERP platform is on providing timely knowledge about the availability of assets to meet deadlines. The system generates reports on topics such as how much material the process has used, how much is still available and when an order for more raw material needs to take place in order to receive delivery in time to continue production on schedule.
- ERP applications distribute information in snapshots from each area of the company to all others to eliminate isolated pockets of data that could result in unexpected slowdowns.
- Modern ERP systems are adept at increasing transparency and efficiency within an organization and pinpointing problems so management can address them in future strategic planning sessions.
Why An ERP Alone May Not Work For You
Attempting to reduce costs by replacing the functionality of an MES with an add-on ERP extension can be counterproductive. Doing so tends to remove some of the benefits companies realize with a robust stand-alone MES:
Traceability of Integrated Supply Chains
- In industries that the government heavily regulates, such as medical device manufacturing, tracking changes to the source of all materials in a manufacturing process is critical. Frequently, the same parts or subassemblies from multiple suppliers fluidly enter and exit the assembly line based on schedules, costs and availability. The means to maintain detailed and provably accurate product genealogy is vital and resides in the core functionality of MES.
Dormancy of Information Flow
- Increased automation on the line maximizes the importance of accurate data at every stage. Without the built-in functionality of MES to incorporate sensor readings into the data flow, production facility personnel must manually enter data on spreadsheets or paper records for subsequent processing by the ERP. Human involvement at this phase naturally leads to errors in data entry and eliminates the real-time information access provided by an MES system that enables quick reactions to frequently changing variables.
Manufacturing Specific Features
- Issues that arise during the manufacturing process often require immediate action to reduce disruptions or losses. The real-time monitoring of variables enables MES to prevent or at least mitigate most problems as or before they occur. Designers program algorithms for possible contingencies for situations specific to the manufacturing environment. For example, if a heating element starts to fail, the system can report the problem and schedule maintenance before a process aborts due to an ingredient exceeding or falling below the required temperature parameters for the job.
Learn More About Manufacturing Execution System (MES)
Typically, for optimal functionality in highly regulated industries, the MES works as a vital cog within an overarching ERP system. This type of cooperative arrangement allows each system to do what its designers intended. The ERP gathers and shares information across the enterprise to inform decisions, while the MES manages the specific and minute details of the organization’s production arm.
You might also be interested in our guidebook,
Getting to Market: The Unique Station of ERP and MES
Identify the difference between a MES and an ERP system. Learn why your company might need both this helpful guidebook.