Challenges of Implementing MES Systems – How to Overcome Them

Challenges of Implementing MES Systems

Manufacturing execution systems software, MES is becoming a major driving force in today’smanufacturing plants vital activities like planning, scheduling, raw material & finish goods tracking, inventory forecasting and manufacturing process optimizations. Challenges of Implementing MES Systems are inherent in this transformative landscape.

Challenges of Implementing MES Systems

MES system & Implementation cost – upfront v/s subscription model

Most MES systems are cloud based and it’s geared toward a subscription payment model hence the upfront cost of purchase is a relief to MES vendors. Pricing in subscription model could easily ramp up until the lifetime on product usage, depending on how much of the standard solution provided don’t fall under the standard solution provided.

Production floor process data integration

Major challenge of implementing a new system in MES system data integration, which is data collection of process data off production floor in real time. Manufacturers of MES systems have limited knowledge on most production floor control systems, where production process data gets generated or have a direct interaction with parts being assembled or produced. MES system integration defines how agile the MES system design is to seamlessly integrate production floor data into centralized MES server without much customization, best approach to get data integration from MES server-side customization or have a control systems integrator build & configure a common interface layer to feed process data to MES server. The later approach is more beneficial since controls systems integrators have better knowledge on process automation and have experience working with various interfacing technologies to OT side on the business.

Training production floor operators and users

There would be some additional production steps added or modified to existing manufacturing processes, this would require operator acceptance, process documentation changes and could add delays in process or product movements through assembly plant initially, these are few changes which needs to be manage through change management. There would be a need for establishing a core team of MES super users with various backgrounds which gets trained, and the knowledge is then transferred to different levels of operators and users.

Standard off the self solution or Custom design MES system

If your manufacturing industry is very specific and smaller scale, here a standard off the self solution might be an over kill in terms of achieving efficiencies when upgrading to an MES system, a more specific custom solution manufacturing system would make a large contribution to efficiencies. There are many small-scale custom MES system software companies which already have a shell already developed and different interfaces and libraries could be configured easily with minimum development cost and time.

Data and integration

This is another major challenge faced by MES system to maintain data integrity and accuracy, main goal is to assure data generated by MES system is accurate, reliable, and consistent since these data points are used in critical decision-making situations. Data transmission to MES must be in proper format such that this could be easily integrated into further subsystems like ERP and QC systems. Data integration issues can cause further unknown issues with MES system performance and accuracy in proper results preparation. Proper audit of data integrity during integration is vital if not then more time and money is spent further down the line. Hence, it’s vital to consult with a MES systems Integrator involved them right from choosing a MES system purchasing, installing and startup and be a main partner during data integration stages on various sections of the production floor. ControlSoft Canada has partnered with numerous small to medium scale manufacturers to get their MES system up and running successfully.

ControlSoft Canada has more then 10+ experience as MES systems Integrator and has control engineers who are electrical engineers with high level of software engineering knowledge and experience, to make OT and IT integration a success.

Technology and infrastructure

It is critical to have appropriate Technology and infrastructure to support the MES application, most MES applications are cloud based, but it still needs to have appropriate user’s workstations with network infrastructure with ease of access and with most advanced security systems both from internal and external threats. Working with correct internet service providers is important since network speed is critical for cloud-based MES system to avoid user response lag times, appropriate WIFI access points installation is important to have a uniform WIFI access availability to mobile devices across production floor. Correct incoming fibre connections is important, now a days  5G or 10G is common incoming fibre connections to achieve best MES applications speed. Its is important to understand network security concerns, its important to address cyber security and network loads well early during the project stage, this needs to be monitored as project continuous into its infant to go live stage, network security is critical in keeping ones digital assets secured.

How do we measure successful MES – its impact and value of MES to one organization

During initial assessment of MES system purchase, an organisation must set aside list of KPIs, performance indicators, metrics, and benchmarks to record as before and measureafter an MES system implementationis completed. Such an approach would help an organization to record its performance as they progress with MES system implementation and would along the way measure changes and provide feedback to the management & manufacturing to fine tune MES system implementation. Such a continuous changes in process improvement as one progresses through its implementation results in much higher level of improvement in company KPIs, productivity, product quality and process improvement.

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