Dec 02, 2020

Manufacturing execution system: One step closer to Industry 4.0

  • Article
  • MES
  • Manufacturing Execution System
  • Industry 4.0
  • digital power systems

Remaining competitive and innovative in today’s markets poses serious strategic challenges. Consumers are demanding higher quality products, and they want them faster than ever.

To meet the new standard, companies need to increase their rate of production while still offering high quality. In this context, production tracking systems that call for a great deal of manual operations are destined to become obsolete.

  1. Meeting the Industry 4.0 challenge

    Technological advances continue to accelerate. Business decisions can be made more efficiently with systems that collect data directly from machines on the production floor. That’s why it’s important to consider implementing a digital system, so the shift to Industry 4.0 doesn’t leave you behind.

    Increasing productivity is not simply achieved by acquiring a new machine. This entails implementing data collection for your processes, digitizing the manual steps and creating smart indicators. But how can you meet this challenge?

    Implementing a digital system

    By analyzing the data from production machines, engineers have found ways to improve processes and maintenance. A study by McKinsey showed that implementing digital tools enabled a metal processing plant to improve the effectiveness of one of its production lines by 50%.[1] One way to achieve such goals is to adopt a manufacturing execution system (MES), a tool that is part of the shift to Industry 4.0.

    This type of system enables companies to:

    • Measure productivity (measurement of OEE indicators[2]).
    • Implement traceability strategies.
    • Produce the right product at the right time on the right equipment.
    • Control and increase the quality of finished products.
    • Detect machine anomalies before they occur.
    • Extend the useful life of industrial equipment.
  2. In an industrial setting, an MES architecture takes its place right below ERP systems[3] and supports planning and execution of the entire production process.

    When it comes to implementing the MES, we can suggest two types of design:

    Depending on the short- or medium-term vision, a system that addresses immediate issues would be recommended.

    For a long-term vision, it would be wiser to choose a scalable system.

    Keep in mind that scalable systems can most likely expand to meet everchanging market demands.

    Advantages of an MES

    An MES acts as a dashboard that facilitates a highly structured decision-making process. In terms of advantages, integration of a MES will allow you to:

    1. Standardize operations and processes: This is the key to implementing best practices across an organization.
    2. Measure production rates consistently: Comparisons with other units within an organization must be made on the same basis. Implementing an MES means putting in place uniform criteria needed to measure productivity consistently.
    3. Eliminate manual data entry on paper forms: When a digital data entry system is implemented, manual paper entry can quickly be eliminated and errors from double manual entry can be avoided. In addition, these steps will help transform your operations and empower your workforce.
    4. Make decisions in real-time: When the infrastructure is automated and the information is available on a common platform, business decisions based on multiple data factors can be made faster and with greater confidence.
    5. Implement production scheduling in real-time: When a piece of equipment is under maintenance, the team can see the status of all the machines. Furthermore, they will be able to reassign production to other equipment to meet scheduling demands.

    Where to start?

    If you already have a production tracking system, we can help you evaluate your system and your current data. It would be advisable to analyze all of your system’s components to prioritize and maximize your return on investment.

    BBA experts often suggest that the first step be a digital maturity diagnostic, also known as an Industry 4.0 audit. This would be followed by a functional analysis of the production processes you want to improve.

    You can also choose to launch a pilot project that will entail using certain MES modules to digitize one or more parts of your unit’s activities or of a process.

    Please contact us so you can begin implementing an MES without delay. Our team can guide and help you make the best decisions for an optimal return on your investment.

    [1] McKinsey Study. Digital manufacturing: The revolution will be virtualized. Visit:

    [2] Overall equipment effectiveness.

    [3] Enterprise Resource Planning is a system that can be used to manage a company’s major processes.

    For more information, please email our MES experts

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

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