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What are the key challenges and how technology can help
highlight transparency on performance as the biggest challenge in manufacturing operations
utilise MES, while others deal with a fragmented manufacturing IT landscape
indicate improved OEE through MES implementation
Tomorrow’s production environment challenges manufacturing companies to deal with increasing complexity. Smaller lot sizes, shorter lead times, and product customization paired with cost pressure and unstable demand due to global crises challenge operations.
To cope with these challenges, the technology market provides software solutions to collect data and translate it into actionable insights. These solutions act as enablers for manufacturing companies to accelerate this development. One question remains, how do you get full value out of the technology?
Our recent research shows that manufacturing companies face challenges with transparency on performance, process control, and track and trace possibilities. Research also shows that manufacturing companies’ IT landscapes are not fit-for-purpose or ready to face tomorrow’s challenges.
This study aims to create a better understanding of the usage and future of MES/MOM solutions, especially in a time of frequent changes in manufacturing operations software and IT landscapes. To create this understanding, we contacted manufacturing companies to get firsthand knowledge about the challenges, usage, pitfalls, and benefits of an MES/MOM solution.
We also consulted leading MES and IIoT platform vendors to get their view on the future development of these technologies and how these technologies play together in manufacturing operations management. In this document we will focus on MES/MOM solutions and their role in manufacturing operations in order to get a better grip on production performance and control.
It is inevitable that tomorrow’s production environment will become more complex to operate. On the other hand, we see a great set of emerging technologies to offer a helping hand to overcome future challenges.
Our study indicates that 44% of companies reported challenges with transparency on performance, and 37% indicated a lack of process control in production. The reason for that could be that the present manufacturing operations IT landscapes are not fit-for-purpose based on our findings and experience. Multiple systems used for managing manufacturing operations lead to a low data utilisation and minimal insights gained from shop-floor data.
In the future we see that the manufacturing operations management will break data silos and integrate best of breed technologies to create full transparency across functions and plants. This will be supported by MES and IIoT platform technologies that complement each other, enabling integration of functions as well as external partners.
The benefits of using MES are better production transparency, effective scheduling as well as better process control. 58% of the companies we spoke with, and are using an MES, observed an increase in their OEE, and 42% observed improvements in quality and better process control. MES enables vertical integration, from shop floor to top floor, and drives harmonisation of manufacturing operations.
Only 36% of the companies reported utilising MES, while others deal with a fragmented manufacturing IT landscape with legacy systems leading to limited transparency and poor control. It seems like companies are hesitating to implement an MES or don’t see the clear benefit of it yet.
Respectively 42% and 37% of the respondents reported complexity and increased customisation effort as challenges during MES implementation. To avoid pitfalls, the MES implementation journey should address a set of rudimentary questions upfront to make it successful, such as:
Having answers to the vital questions above will support the decision-making process and create a sharp picture of how to best utilise and integrate the different technologies. It also became clear that today’s and future challenges for manufacturing operations are far too versatile to be addressed by one system only.
It will require a step by step approach, starting with the elementary capabilities to steer and schedule production in an effective way. This will provide a solid foundation to further expand to IIoT based solutions, enabling predictive and cognitive services. Therefore, implementation of a “state-of-the-art” MES, seamlessly integrated into your enterprise architecture, is the inevitable first step to take advantage of today’s and future manufacturing operations challenges.