Inside Smart Factory

5 things you may not have known about MES


Anyone dealing with the digital factory cannot avoid the term “Manufacturing Execution System”, or MES for short. Manufacturing software is the cornerstone of an efficient, transparent and integrative smart factory. The areas of application around detailed production planning, operating and machine data acquisition, traceability, process visualization, etc. and the associated added value are also well known.

However, a closer look reveals further interesting MES facts that you may not have known yet!

#1 An MES makes an important contribution to energy efficiency

Energy efficiency has developed into a social responsibility topic in our society and is also taking on a completely new significance in the manufacturing industry! Energy management solutions and their functions around planning, recording, control and analysis of consumption are widely known. However, an MES can also make a significant contribution to optimized energy use. The basic idea behind this is quite simple: any kind of process improvement and efficiency increase also has an (indirect) positive effect on energy consumption. Regardless of whether one is thinking of improved machine utilization, the reduction of throughput and setup times, or the optimal use of available capacities on the basis of detailed planning. The use of in-process quality control during production, for example, reduces rejects and thus also has a positive effect on the energy balance. In addition, the energy efficiency of individual machines and systems can already be taken into account during production planning and used as a planning criterion.


#2 An MES offers broad fields of application for artificial intelligence

Speaking of production planning! Did you know that Manufacturing Execution Systems offer a broad field of application for Artificial Intelligence? Especially in detailed production planning, AI can rise to become a key technology. MES provider Industrie Informatik, for example, already has market-ready solutions whose goal is to act like an intelligent planner, self-learning and continuously searching for the best possible planning scenarios. In addition, an out-of-the-box predictive analytics solution also provides small and medium-sized companies with an affordable path to AI solutions and thus a look into the crystal ball of their production. Reliable forecasts of scrap, workplace disruptions, quality statuses, etc. are just a few of the new potentials. However, these new technological approaches should by no means be seen as a substitute for personnel, but rather facilitate employees’ work and significantly increase efficiency in the process.

#3 An MES provides employee satisfaction

Rumors about the replacement of employees by software systems persist. However, a clear picture emerges when looking at realized MES projects in German-speaking medium-sized companies! A well thought-out project involving the employees concerned creates a high level of acceptance for the new systems on the one hand and creates added value on the other, which is reflected in increased staff satisfaction. It is important to position an MES as what it essentially is: a system that provides functions for visualizing, controlling and optimizing production. It is precisely these functions that can make work easier and provide support where it is needed. Companies that succeed in actively involving their workforce in the process of realization and use also benefit from the creative implementation ideas and concepts that come directly from the grass roots and can result in a cycle of continuous improvement.

The comprehensive integration of the entire corporate world calls for new concepts and solution approaches, which usually result in a platform approach.

#4 An MES can simply do more!

The term “Manufacturing Execution System” clearly describes the core tasks of the software – you might think! With the changing requirements of the digital manufacturing world and the pressure of highly dynamic markets, the application areas of production software are also changing! The comprehensive integration of the entire corporate world demands new concepts and solution approaches, which usually result in a platform concept. In the example of Industrie Informatik, this is called “cronetworld” and describes itself as a 360° production platform. With such technologies, users are given the opportunity to take the step out of the pure production world and to expand their digital ecosystem to include external systems and to force integrative communication among each other. Examples include PLM and CRM systems, web stores, BI tools, document management, and many more. The individual adaptability to internal requirements and processes is almost limitless.


#5 An MES promotes the understanding of one’s own value chain

While we are on the subject of processes, a statement that is regularly made must also be put to the test: “We are quite special in this respect. That’s why we’ve always done it this way!”. A software project should definitely be seen as an opportunity to critically scrutinize your own value creation processes. After all, the optimization of your production does not begin with the productive start of the MES. Rather, a digitization project should already be used intensively in the planning phase in order to uncover initial optimization potentials in view of the pronounced goals, to part with old burdens and to equip your company for future challenges. In doing so, you can also benefit from the deep technical know-how of an MES provider who ideally supports you in a partnership relationship from the very first minute and lays the foundation for a successful digitization project together with you. This includes first of all an unrestricted understanding of your own processes, which are often long-established and deadlocked. This is how you will benefit from an MES along the entire value chain.

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Markus Maier
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