Inside Smart Factory

MES and LEAN management in interaction


We are operating in a highly dynamic business world today! If you want to survive in this environment, you have to find ways and means to withstand the high competitive pressure, constantly drive efficiency and productivity and thus secure your competitiveness. In industry in particular, companies are constantly looking for ways to optimise their workflows, minimise waste and make optimum use of resources.

The LEAN approach has been a proven means of keeping value chains as lean and waste-free as possible for many years. One might think that the introduction of large, comprehensive, often cumbersome software does not fit in with this concept and generates additional work. But a look under the bonnet is worthwhile and shows the unique potential behind the symbiosis of lean management and the right Manufacturing Execution System (MES).

Lean management and the battle against waste

The main idea behind lean management is relatively simple in a nutshell: it is about achieving the best possible result with a minimum use of resources. Proven methods help to identify and eliminate waste. This can take many forms. Some examples are superfluous work steps, waiting times, overproduction, high stock levels, rejects, high energy consumption, …

Another important LEAN principle is the continuous search for improvement potential. Accordingly, there is no optimum that is achieved at a certain point in time. In the sense of a PDCA cycle, there are always adjustments that can be made and processes further improved.

So where is the need for MES software in a company that has internalised the lean concept and is constantly optimising its value chain anyway? At first glance, this is a legitimate question, which we will now get to the bottom of.

Data, information, transparency – cronetwork MES

As already mentioned, the LEAN approach relies on the ongoing optimisation of company processes. This requires ONE thing above all: knowledge of the processes in daily operations. And this is exactly where powerful software such as cronetwork MES comes into play. It enables the comprehensive and seamless recording of (shop floor) data in real time. This starts with comparatively simple machine statuses and performance, extends to information from ERP systems such as order data or personnel information, and extends to quality data. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of potential information.

The potential that opens up is almost limitless. Here are four examples of the decisive advantages of the integrated use of lean management and an MES:

#1 Real-time data as a basis for decision-making

A software-supported production environment provides ONE thing above all: real-time data! Correctly recorded and interpreted, it reveals problems and inconsistencies immediately and enables rapid reaction and countermeasures. One example of this is a machine error that might otherwise have gone undetected for a long time or even come to a standstill.

With the right conclusions (also data-based), you can also learn for the future in terms of the continuous improvement process (KAIZEN). Because downtime on the shop floor can quickly become a problem and cost a lot of time and money. Based on historical data from your production, you can plan maintenance work and act predictively instead of only reacting in an emergency. This can massively reduce unplanned downtime.

#2 Transparent shop floor

The integration of an MES such as cronetwork into LEAN initiatives therefore increases transparency in your production. All employees have access to a standardised information base, which massively promotes integrative work and joint alignment and target achievement.

Modern technologies such as no-code and our tried-and-tested PIDO & Portal technology enable the integrative organisation of a wide range of data and information sources and thus also promote cross-departmental collaboration. For example, production and warehouse departments can view stock trends in real time. They can take measures to avoid overproduction and take further planning steps.

#3 Efficiency increase

As already mentioned, LEAN management aims to optimise the use of resources. With cronetwork MES, you always have an overview of machines, materials, tools and, of course, your personnel! This allows you to improve your processes in a targeted manner and prevent waste.

For example, you can use an MES to identify bottlenecks in production and flexibly adjust the working hours of your employees accordingly, including automatically taking qualifications and working time models into account. This allows you to directly achieve improved utilisation of your resources and therefore significant cost savings.

#4 Continuous improvement

Last but not least, we come back to continuous improvement, which is an essential part of LEAN. The data collected by MES is also processed by the same system into relevant information and helps you to identify trends and take measures to continuously optimise your processes.

For example, you can collect data on the quality of your manufactured products and use this to analyse where potential sources of error in your value chain are emerging. With this knowledge, you can improve product quality within a very short space of time and thus also increase customer satisfaction.


An MES and lean management methods interact to create unexpected synergies that significantly increase efficiency in your company and thus secure your competitive advantage. Data collection using plant data and machine data acquisition makes it possible to identify waste at an early stage or to prevent it in advance. LEAN methods complement this with their CIP approach, which in symbiosis can lead to an agile and resilient company that can quickly adapt to changing market conditions. The available resources are also optimally utilised for sustainable growth.

cronetwork MES and lean management are therefore an unbeatable duo for the modern, future-orientated manufacturing industry!

Would you like to learn more?
We would be happy to advise you on the possibilities of digitalisation and the interaction of MES & lean principles for efficient production!
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Joachim Pfeifer
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