There are several stages involved in implementing a multi-site MES, from preparation, through creation of template and deployment across sites, to final handover and ongoing support. To ensure a smooth project, each stage needs to be carefully planned. Building an MES template and choosing a vendor with a standardized approach to roll-out offers significant advantages and is the best way to ensure a successful global project.

1. Preparation

The preparation stage includes defining the investment procedure and the decision basis for the selection of MES vendor that will meet the needs of the global organization. Once defined, an MES solution and system integrator can be selected. From here, high-level project planning and the approach to the roll-out can be defined.

From experience, customers that create an MES Center of Excellence team can maximize the benefits of a multi-site MES system. This team can assess best practices and understand the different needs of manufacturing sites – whether they manufacture different products or have evolved with different legacy systems and processes. Different factories may have diverse needs, but there will be commonalities, and these are what the team needs to identify.

The Center of Excellence team should not comprise only of IT personnel, but a group with a broad understanding of the business and its goals. In this way, they can manage the MES from a global, corporate point of view. While standardization is a goal, the team needs to accommodate the real and unique needs of each factory.

2. The MES template

To ensure a smooth rollout, an MES template is an essential part of the project. The Center of Excellence team needs to define this model with standardization as a goal, but with understanding of the real and unique needs of each factory. The aim is to maximize standardization without compromising on the local needs of each factory. As such, the MES needs to be flexible to allow for differences between sites, but the template will embrace proven best practices and significantly helps to smooth the release of the system.

Of course, there may be more than one template. For large organizations, groups of factories may have shared best practices that other do not require and these can be implemented in a sub-template.

3. Deployment

It is essential that gates are set to ascertain that the system is ready for deployment. The team must be certain that the MES meets the criteria for the project at the necessary quality levels. This deployment decision process should be clearly defined to ensure, once on site, no time is wasted and any interruption to production is minimized.

Deployment of the MES includes products, templates, customization layers, and master data. To carry this out in an automated way requires a sophisticated process to handle all variations. Complexity, especially in large manufacturing groups with high product mixes, can be high. The system deployment process needs to manage all options in terms of versions, structure, repositories, and central deployment to ensure risks are minimized and the deployment stage runs quickly and smoothly.

4. System handover

Once deployment is complete, the system is handed over to the support team for ongoing maintenance and continuous improvements.

Conclusion

The successful deployment of a multi-site MES requires the definition of best practices, maximized standardization, and control of the customizations needed for individual factories. Selecting an MES with a proven, automated deployment method that controls standard and authorized versions of the systems, allowing for multiple sub-templates to meet the diverse needs of all factories within the group, will ensure a smooth and timely project.


All you need to know to succeed in Multi-site MES program

A multi-site MES roll-out affects multiple stakeholders and processes. We want to share our experience and expertise with you and help you get where you need to be to make your business strong, competitive and resilient for the future. This series of blogs will take you step by step through the challenges and opportunities it offers. It comprises 7 different sections, that will guide you on your journey:

1. Benefits and how to build a business case
2. Challenges of multisite MES implementation projects and how to overcome them
3. Multisite project stages
4. Center of excellence / governance
5. Advantages of an MES template and a standardized approach to roll-out
6. Implementation strategy and change management
7. MES architecture for easy multisite deployments

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