A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) serves as a bridge between the shop floor and the boardroom, which is why it’s an indispensable tool for modern manufacturers. Despite their undeniable benefits, implementing MES typically involves some formidable challenges. What if there were an easier way to get started?
Production companies usually invest in MES solutions to optimize production output, improve quality, and control multiple elements of the production process. The high costs of implementing traditional MES are mainly due to process variations between lines and locations. This factor regrettably cannot be avoided, as manufacturers need to be flexible and adapt to customer needs in today’s global marketplace.
In response, Andea has developed Manufacturo, a cloud-based platform that can change how manufacturing solutions are bought, implemented, and used. Manufacturo uses a microservices architecture that enables global collaboration and the rapid implementation of the industrial internet of things (IIoT). Manufacturo apps are a collection of services organized around business capabilities and are independently deployable.
A typical mobile device contains an app store where a customer can buy and install the applications that they need. If they can’t find an application that meets their needs, someone can develop it. At its most basic, Manufacturo brings the same principle to the manufacturing industry. Its applications are cloud-native and optimized for scalability and performance. They’re built using the microservices architecture, making heavy use of managed services, and taking advantage of continuous delivery to boost reliability and get products out the door faster. Also, Manufacturo’s apps utilize the power of Microsoft Azure tools like cognitive services, machine learning, bot services, and data bricks to help factories harness the power of artificial intelligence.
Ease of implementation. Traditional global MES implementations take between 9-12 months to complete in the first pilot production site, and the subsequent rollouts can take up to 3 months. Implementing a modular cloud-based solution like Manufacturo, with its pre-built applications, can be done in a few weeks – with successive rollouts taking only a few days. What’s more, with function-specific applications, companies can quickly validate whether or not the deployed application(s) have delivered the desired results and use that information to make decisions on further development and deployment investments.
Scalability. Today’s manufacturer needs to be agile and adaptable to global markets. Accordingly, manufacturers increasingly expect their MES providers to offer solutions that can quickly adapt to changing business circumstances. Manufacturo offers both off-the-shelf applications and an unlimited ability to develop new tailored applications, along with a modular, cloud-based approach that allows for customized apps to be created in a matter of weeks and instantly deployed to multiple locations.
Global flexibility. Many companies struggle to effectively use the data generated by their systems in different geographies. It’s no small feat to consolidate and compare data from multiple local sites; with Manufacturo, this process is much simpler as the data is stored in one central environment by default and can then be analyzed to identify trends and find potential areas for improvement. The apps can also be deployed within the supplier network to help evaluate performance and quality.
Cost-effectiveness. Implementing a comprehensive MES system in multiple plants usually requires many individuals’ involvement, significant upfront software, hardware, and implementation investments, and lost time spent on training and testing. Factor in software maintenance costs, and a company can quickly end up in a situation where their initial project costs can double after a few years. Manufacturo significantly decreases upfront costs and eliminates the costs related to installing and maintaining infrastructure. The monthly subscription fees cover these costs and include regular upgrades. A “pay and use” pricing model allows manufacturers to pay only for what they use and have predictable future pricing.
Manufacturo’s focus on meeting 21st-century manufacturing challenges and providing fresh perspectives are among the reasons why Andea was recently recognized as a world leader in the development of innovative cloud-based manufacturing solutions by Manufacturing Technology Insights. The cloud-based app model is becoming an increasingly viable alternative. Once you’ve decided to go that route, it makes sense to turn to a company leading the conversation and developing better, smarter solutions.