Systems controlling plant floor operations are changing rapidly to enable the smart factories of the future. Many manufacturers must now choose to invest in their current MES or migrate to a modern MES that will deliver the flexibility to adapt to changes in demand and keep pace with constantly changing requirements.
Modern MES goes beyond the boundaries of manufacturing areas to accommodate new manufacturing models, the integration of business related processes such as maintenance, quality and engineering, with the ability to expand into the entire supply chain. The risk of maintaining outdated legacy MES is higher than the risk of changing to a new MES.
An MES needs to allow a company to evolve, grow and innovate. Legacy MES systems that have been severely customized over time make upgrades, integration, backwards compatibility, and future-proofing much more difficult. A system that has highly flexible configuration and allows for extension of core functionality is needed.
The reasons to switch range from supporting digital transformation initiatives and meeting customer needs to accommodate new technologies in production and products.
There is no single approach to migrating from a legacy MES to a new one and the strategy is driven primarily by three factors that must be weighted depending on the levels of interdependence, automation and downtime impact.
The environment and context conditions will determine the appropriate migration strategy, taking into consideration the risk, time and cost/effort.
Strategy with highest risk, but the shortest migration time and lowest cost
Paper or excel based MES
Stand alone MES Application
Balanced migration strategy
Integrated MES application, low automation
Strategy with the lowest risk, but the highest cost
Integrated MES application, high automation