Comprehensive coverage of Critical Manufacturing webinar with Vishay highlighting the strategy and approach towards replacing multiple legacy point solutions with a single MES across distinct and highly differentiated manufacturing sites located around the world.

Vishay started a program to standardize and harmonize systems across over 30 plants, and in 2018, began moving towards a single manufacturing execution system (MES). The core MES functionality would replace over 50 systems, not including quality, scheduling, or maintenance, which the new MES can also provide.

The Challenge

Vishay has grown over the years through a series of acquisitions, with more than 50 manufacturing locations worldwide and a complex product range. With such a diverse global footprint and manufacturing capability, it is hard to classify the company’s operation into a single manufacturing style. It manufactures a wide array of products ranging from small chips produced in large lots to huge and bulky devices made in a lot size of one, the company terms this as the first extreme. Multiple products mean multiple individual production lines and manufacturing processes, which challenges the standardization of manufacturing practices across the group.

Vishay caters to a wide array of customers from almost every major industry segment that requires semiconductors and electronic components, each requiring strict quality standards. Serving a diverse set of customers from the aerospace to medical device industry and automobile to the consumer electronics industry is viewed as the second extreme. This extreme of dealing with a wide variety of highly demanding customers with strict quality and compliance requirements poses a challenge to a single comprehensive MES application, adapting to and managing requirements.

Most acquisitions added to the group’s portfolio have independent operations, running predominantly on custom DIY solutions which is a challenge when it comes to standardization and harmonization of the group’s operation and business practices. Each new acquisition adds to the company’s culture and diversity, but also brings in new IT processes, operational procedures, habits, and conventions, which must be streamlined towards a unified strategic vision. The third extreme is the structure with many plants manufacturing multiple products that depend on fifty-plus legacy systems for manufacturing alone. Add to it the complexity of capturing production data and integrating it with other enterprise applications while keeping in mind the relevance of real-time decision-making and advancement of process technology, shifting towards a single MES is daunting.

Understanding the Evolutionary Approach towards MES deployment

To replace the multiple legacy applications in manufacturing and create a standard enterprise IT infrastructure, Vishay formed a clear vision of what the new IT application paradigm would look like. It was determined that the chosen CM MES would be the central application containing all manufacturing data integrating with automation-level applications, the ERP, and applications like the building management system (BMS) and the workforce management system (WMS).

Source: Vishay 

The next and most vital step is to start deployment and formulate a strategy that would allow an MES rollout to be time-bound and scalable to capture all operational nuances of individual sites while standardizing and harmonizing operations.

Vishay took an evolutionary approach towards deploying the MES application by choosing a site with less complex production and good process know-how on-site. The company targeted two main deliverables to begin with, lot tracking and ERP integration across all production lines.

Once the pilot site stabilised and production lines were integrated with the ERP and lot tracking was in place, standard quasi templates were used to roll-out the MES in another location with different product line operations. Customizations were done only as required and the new site had the MES deployed remotely. Since the MES deployed was fully modular the project team added the equipment integration module to unlock IoT and edge-computing in the new site, which meant the pilot site could be retro-fitted with the equipment module so both sites can communicate and share learnings to expedite deployment.

As an extension to the standard template, machine maintenance (PM) and production scheduling (PS) were added to the new sites and old sites retro-fitted. This required cross-functional collaboration across parallel projects, while keeping the strategy of uniform and standard deployment universal across sites. Such an endeavour is resource intensive and requires exceptional support from the application vendor and external partners.

By 2028-30 the group plans to have the MES deployed at multiple sites with based on different group priorities. They will integrate the workforce management and product lifecycle management applications along with the basic set-up at the roll-out stage. As new sites deploy the MES it creates multiple follow-up tasks and projects. Production units are not idle so the service organization for the MES deployment becomes critical.

Source: Vishay 

Key takeaways from the evolutionary approach employed by Vishay

  • For a multisite MES deployment it is important to have a clear picture of what the end-result looks like in terms of the application infrastructures, their integration and co-dependencies and how data will flow to and from each system.
  • It is vital to have a well-established strategy for deployment and it is OK to deploy modules based on priority, so long as initially deployed modules can be used as standards across other sites with minimum customizations done as needed. Scalability of the application deployed is important in deployment methodologies.
  • The back-and-forth approach to module deployment needs cross-functional collaboration and a project team of site-based leaders to oversee smooth implementation for fresh deployments and retrofit module roll-outs.
  • The choice of implementation partners especially the MES application vendor can make a huge difference in multisite projects. The understanding the vendor has of industry operations, and their ability to serve sites remotely and handle multiple deployments in tandem needs to be considered with Industry 4.0 functions, cloud and containerization, AI/ML, and modular application configuration.

Application Hosting and Service Organization for the MES project

For the purpose of application hosting Vishay decided to go with a regional, multi-plant server-based set-up within the Vishay network. This allows time-critical data to remain on local servers while the rest of the data resides on the regional servers. This model was a result of data security concerns and region-specific regulations. MES templates and instances are deployed regionally and data is controlled by the Vishay IT organization.

Multiple hosting models are possible for the MES application, trade-offs must be made considering the time, cost and effort involved in private and local hosting against multiple cloud configurations available. Another key consideration would be the application vendor’s ability to provide a cloud-based solution, with containerization and possible combinations of public and private cloud infrastructure.

For functionality deployment, Vishay uses the classic three-level deployment model, development, testing, and live functionality work in an iterative manner and with clearly defined feedback loops, so optimization happens organically. The final functionality deployed is both user-approved and quality-tested.

In an MES deployment project like Vishay, which spans thirty-plus operations and multiple product lines, it is imperative to have dedicated resources focused on making the deployment successful. Vishay created a cross-functional project team with and local expertise. The structure includes business system owners, superusers from the corporate and regional locations, and local users from a plant and production line. This structure is supported by regional and corporate IT teams to ensure the MES is deployed in a standardized manner, but does not ignore local requirements to gain user support.

Source: Vishay

Summary

The approach taken by Vishay in deploying a modern MES platform, while replacing 50 plus legacy systems is exemplary. It is systematic, methodical, and well-planned. When a project is managed this way, the company get faster ROI and reaches the goal of manufacturing excellence across the board faster than competitors and with clear undisputed operational and business results.

Vishay’s approach and journey is a model that stems from preparing to use an MES, then using the MES, learning from the results, and continuous improvement from the learnings. This is the foundation of effective project management and manufacturing excellence.

Source: Vishay

While choosing the right MES is important, the modularity and scalability of the solution, and the capability of the vendor to provide diverse deployment models and remote support is critical. Vishay’s approach shows how multisite deployments can be done using an evolutionary approach and how a good project team can ensure a successful MES deployment.

About Vishay

The Vishay journey began with, Dr. Felix Zandman, and a revolutionary technology. From there we would grow and strengthen over decades, to one of the world’s most trusted electronic components manufacturers. From semiconductors to passive components, from the smallest diode to the most powerful capacitor, Vishay’s breadth of products is the foundation that brings modern technology to life. We call it The DNA of tech.™

This DNA is more than infrastructure, it’s a platform to enable growth. Vishay is well-positioned to propel such timely macroeconomic growth drivers as sustainability, connectivity, and mobility. Through R&D, manufacturing, engineering, quality, sales, and marketing, we generate the essential components that enable inventors and innovators to create new generations of products—ones that span many sectors: automotive, industrial, consumer, computer, telecommunications, military, aerospace, and medical.

(Summarized from https://www.vishay.com/)