Implementing an MES (Manufacturing Execution System) can be an enormous undertaking as this system typically serves as a bridge between the shop floor and management, while also being interwoven with production processes. It is also quite expensive and risky due to its complexity. But there is a low-risk alternative: cloudbased applications that can deliver value to your shopfloor much cheaper and faster.
Manufacturing efficiency helps reduce production time and costs, and it also allows one to refine the quality of their products and services. That is why companies invest in MES-class solutions, as they also help standardize manufacturing processes. However, embedding these solutions in the manufacturing process can be a long process which often requires high startup costs. Luckily now, manufacturers are able to move much faster by deploying ready-to-use manufacturing applications. These can be off-the-shelf applications or custom-developed apps designed to fulfill specific needs. In any case, the apps must be integrated to provide a solid foundation for deploying a solution that can control and monitor the end-to-end process. The apps can be implemented standalone, and later the company can choose to implement additional cloud applications to cover other production areas that require improvement. So, what are the main benefits of these app solutions?
The implementation of a comprehensive MES system in multiple plants often requires the involvement of many individuals and significant upfront software, hardware, and implementation investments. It also generates additional ancillary costs. Deploying cloud-based SaaS solutions helps to significantly decrease the upfront costs and lower TCO by eliminating costs related to installing and maintaining infrastructure. Monthly subscription fees typically cover these costs and include regular upgrades. Customers are also shifting away from paying for software upfront, and instead to a “usagebased” pricing model. That allows manufacturers to pay only for what they use, creating a pricing model directly tied to delivered value.
Traditionally, global MES implementations take between 9-12 months to complete in the first pilot production site. Implementation of a modular cloud-based solution, using pre-built applications, can be done in as little as a few weeks. After that, the time required to roll-out the solution at another production facility can be measured in just days. Deploying function-specific applications has other advantages as well, such as the fact that companies can quickly validate if the deployed application has delivered the desired results.
The world in which manufacturers operate is getting smaller and more competitive, so manufacturers must be more agile and adapt to evolving markets. Manufacturo is an excellent example of a solution that offers both off-the-shelf applications and uncompromised potential to develop new tailored applications. It is a modular approach that allows for customized apps to be created in a matter of weeks and instantly deployed to multiple locations since it is a cloud-based solution.
Many companies struggle with effectively using the data generated by their systems in different locations. Here, cloud-based solutions offer another advantage . For example, in Manufacturo, there is no need to pull data from local sites as, by default, the data is stored in one central environment. It can then be analyzed to identify trends and potential improvement areas. The manufacturing industry is undergoing a profound transformation. The emergence of technologies like IoT, 3D printing, Augmented Reality, or Machine Learning offers endless possibilities, and if used correctly, can give manufacturers a competitive edge. Together, these new technical capabilities will help drive new revenue, bring in more profits, drive efficiency, and help improve customer satisfaction.