Dec 14, 2022

Implementing a production management and monitoring system: The importance of preliminary studies

  • Article
  • Manufacturing execution system (MES)
  • Preliminary studies
  • Operational efficiency

They say you can only improve what you measure. For companies that don’t have information systems that can collect, process, analyze and visualize production data, it’s difficult to justify capital expenditures (CAPEX), or even kick start continuous improvement projects, without a plan for a return on the investment.

When realizing the potential behind exploiting production data, some organizations decide to implement information systems that allow them to measure key indicators for their production areas. However, businesses often fall into the trap of being too quick with platform integrations, because they think they’ll reduce the time to value.

This short blog article explains the importance of preliminary studies, their essential components and their benefits.

  1. Why perform a preliminary study?

    The key to a successful project is preparation. Preliminary studies help define project objectives (financial, technical, environmental, social and others), identify the technical risks, estimate overall cost and establish a realistic schedule.

    If the organization doesn’t have available internal resources who have the skills to perform the preliminary study, enlisting the services of a specialist firm is an excellent solution.

  2. What to do

    Before starting the project, it’s best to lay down clear objectives/deliverables, plan the stages for the project’s implementation and produce a preliminary study report.

    Defining objectives

    Defining the current situation and business requirements are critical steps in the study. Organizing working sessions with end-users and key operational executives will help define the functional requirements for the business. During these activities, it’s also important to review all the systems, interconnected equipment and processes that are involved in executing all production activities. At this stage, the system architecture review and the data engineering steps are crucial.

    You shouldn’t rush to install a new system to address a few specific problems. It’s important to assess the needs for infrastructure, software and IT equipment to support these initiatives. Before implementing the system, you need to deliver a requirement assessment. After that, it's important to evaluate off the shelf solutions to meet specific business needs without investing in a custom solution.

    Producing the study report

    The preliminary study report can come in all shapes and sizes. It’s best to provide a report in the form of a presentation with an executive summary that illustrates the main points needed for execution. The important thing is to focus on critical business information that will help successfully implement the new system on time and on budget. Lastly, this report can also be used as input criteria for the qualification process when selecting system solution providers.

    Planning the implementation

    After the business requirements have been clearly identified and the technological solution selected, you’ll need to establish the steps required to plan the implementation of the monitoring system. The scheduling of implementation work for the selected functionalities needs to be separated into milestones to meet the promised dates within the allowed budgets. Furthermore, you must account for preliminary work to be executed, such as entering master data, performing system data migration, along with the work required to make the operator’s environment ready for the new system. By planning the requirements to interconnect business support systems, such as an enterprise resource system (ERP), a maintenance system, etc., it’s critical that new system interfaces get added into the planning scope.

    In the end, you want to focus on establishing the winning strategy for implementing the new system and the deploying sequences. Such a system cannot exist without the proper support, training and a change management plan. For those steps, the stakeholders, who will ensure the success of the projects, must be identified and actively participate throughout the planning and executing phase.

  3. In conclusion

    Performing a preliminary study to implement a production management and monitoring system is a critical step in pursuing operational efficiency. Properly preparing and defining realistic needs are an excellent starting point that will be a direct return on your new system investment.

    Call on our system implementation experts. They’ll provide you with reliable and tailored solutions for your needs.

    To learn more about how important information systems are in the industrial world, read this blog article: Manufacturing execution system: one step closer to Industry 4.0.

    To find out more about data engineering management, you can watch our webcast.

    For more information, please email our MES experts

This content is for general information purposes only. All rights reserved ©BBA

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