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Manufacturing Transformation - A Prerequisite for Industry 4.0

February 01, 2017

Manufacturing Transformation - A Prerequisite for Industry 4.0

There is a lot of buzz around Industry 4.0 and in our previous posts we have explored how digital transformation can be pursued to have a truly Industry 4.0 enabled manufacturing and value chain. What is important for manufacturing companies to realize, before they even begin to think about Industry 4.0, is that they first need to have an MES application deployed in their plants.

However, in reality still about 80% of manufacturers do not even have an MES or MOM system deployed in their manufacturing facilities. Most manufacturing companies still rely on manual systems to plan, route, execute their jobs and capture manufacturing related data in their production plants. For such companies the time to upgrade their manufacturing is fast running out.

Any manufacturing plant, irrespective of the industry segment or product being manufactured, if it relies on manual systems for managing plant operation, is at best reactive in the way it deals with issues. Basically, when plant operations are manual, issues are always detected when it’s all too late. In such cases by the time an OOS event is detected, the production is already complete and the faulty goods are either ready to be shipped or even worse, already on the way to the customer.

Is your MES Industry 4.0 ready?

Manufacturing Software for Industry 4.0. Embracing Change and Decentralization for Success.
by Iyno Advisors and Critical Manufacturing

This White Paper defines a path to Industry 4.0, focusing on the following aspects:

Download White Paper

I4.0 concept: enabling technologies, cyber-physical systems, etc.

role of MES in Industry 4.0,

steps companies can take now to prepare for Industry 4.0.

Every aspect of a manufacturing operation which still does not have an MES application deployed is a possible area of concern and a potential gold mine of improvements. Let’s look at few key areas which can deliver results instantaneously if an MES application is in place.

1. Planning / scheduling & job routing

One such area is production planning/scheduling and job routing. In a plant where there are more than one identical lines, issues might happen in a particular line so that a job or number of jobs might have to be routed and re-routed to the other lines. If the system is manual, it would become extremely cumbersome and disruptive for the PPC (Production, Planning & Control) personnel to handle the changes, also chances for delays arise. If there was an MES application in place, not only would the application automatically re-route current jobs, but also suggest schedules based on priorities and committed delivery dates.

2. CAPA management

Another problem area is always the CAPA management. Corrective and preventive actions are always delayed when the operation is paper based. Simply put issues which happen on the shop-floor get reported only after they are detected at the final quality inspections or worse, at the customer end. Containment of issues gets almost impossible in manual operations, whereas when an MES application is in play, issues are detected and reported in real-time: lot by lot, machine by machine, shift by shift and day by day. Data is recorded, and information generated and reported 24X7.

3. Benefit from Big Data Analytics

With the advent of IIOT and Industry 4.0, there is a lot of banter about Big Data analytics. With a manual process in place it is difficult to even imagine the kind of improvements Big-Data can bring. In manual and paper based systems, even though a lot of data might be present – or even captured - very rarely will it be collated and analyzed in such a way that it affects large scale improvements. The initial benefit that an MES application would provide in such scenarios is the availability of historical plant data, which forms the basis for digital improvements to take place in the future.

4. Bridge between enterprise level application and shop floor

Modern MES applications form a bridge between enterprise level applications like the CRM and ERP, while pulling data from lower level applications PLC/SCADA, thereby allowing for entire value chain data to be collected and analyzed to then be used for making precise business decisions, which add direct value to the company’s bottom line.

MES applications deployed in industry best plants come equipped with their very own SPC modules, which allow the top management to examine the state of their manufacturing operation, while making improvements on the go and deciding where to go next.

Right from production planning to analysis of plant data, right from integration with front end to a more effective warehouse management, MES applications have the capability to transform even the most manual of plants to extremely well organized, disciplined and profit making production units.

The integration that the MES applications can bring alone are one of the biggest factor in having an Industry 4.0 type setup, but a lot more can be gained: cost effectiveness, improved efficiency & throughput, lesser number of errors, faster time to market and time to production, better OOS management, increased safety, improved compliance, real-time issue reporting and the list goes on and on.

In order to get the right MES that suits your operation, read the following article series:

The MES Selection process (Part 1/2)

The MES Selection process (Part 2/2)

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Download White paper:

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by Julie Fraser, Iyno Advisors