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Greatly optimized time to solution

Bernhard Falkner on MEP cronetworld
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The industry has recognized the need for digitization measures. There is general agreement that they form the basis for solid future orientation and maintenance of competitiveness in an industrial environment. In this context, a Manufacturing Execution System still forms the stable basis for the handling of digital manufacturing processes. In an interview with the trade journal IT&production, Managing Director Bernhard Falkner explains the path to the manufacturing platform.

 

Since the different solutions on the market differ significantly depending on the target industry, one question in advance: In which manufacturing environment do you typically install cronetwork?

Basically, we can use our production-optimizing software both in ‘small’ manufacturing companies and in international corporations. The modular structure of our software customized application in almost all manufacturing industries. We need not limit ourselves to any niche. Primarily we are at home in discrete manufacturing, but we do not limit ourselves exclusively to this. Historically, we have grown with customers from the metalworking, mechanical and plant engineering industries. Accordingly, we have extensive expertise and detailed know-how in these industries.

 

In your opinion, how is the market for Manufacturing Execution Systems currently developing?

The MES market continues to grow strongly. The industry has recognized the need for digitalization measures. These now form the basis for solid future orientation and maintaining competitiveness. In the manufacturing sector, an ME system is the basis for this.

 

At your Customer Day in fall 2019, you announced the Manufacturing Execution Platform, or MEP. What is this about?

Digitalization projects place high demands on customization within the company, especially in manufacturing. With cronetwork MES, we have always supported this thanks to comprehensive parameterization options. Some years ago, we created the basis for a customized MES with our portal technology. A trained key user can use it to create customized user interfaces for his company. For us, however, it is now a matter of the next big step towards the further creation of customization and, above all, integration possibilities based on cronetwork MES. This next stage of expansion is our new Manufacturing Execution Platform (MEP) cronetworld.

 

How does the platform differ from MES cronetwork?

An essential feature is the even greater customizability of the solutions, completely in line with user requirements. Depending on their know-how, they can develop various modules completely in-house in the future or use low-code platforms or engineering options. Our customers will be able to meet the daily requirements of their business even faster. We are talking about a profoundly optimized time to solution. In addition, with cronetworld we are pursuing a best-of-breed approach. However, core functions of an MES do not have to be reinvented; we still provide them as a service.

 

Is the MEP aimed primarily at new customers or is it intended as a complementary offer for your users?

Both. Our existing customers gain new possibilities in the customization and integration of their production through these solution approaches, including all associated added value and optimization potential. However, likewise for new customers, cronetwork with its core functionalities still represents the essential basis for establishing the new Manufacturing Execution Platform.

 

Of course, software providers in the industrial environment do not simply drop their existing customers. But still, if the platform is fully mature, who needs a traditional MES installation?

Not every company can and will be able to utilize the full range of services of digital production optimization from the very beginning. The path to this goal is a constant one and usually builds on many years of development. Many manufacturing companies also do not see their goals at the forefront of digitalization possibilities, but somewhere in between. There will always be graduations here.

 

Sometimes software companies are one step ahead of the needs of their industrial users. So who is calling for a platform as a plant-related IT hub: the manufacturing companies or the competition from the fiercely contested MES market?

We are in close contact with our customers and interested parties. Our task is to listen very carefully, to take up the needs of the market and to make something of it. From intensive discussions with customers, we know that communication and customization options such as those provided by such a platform are absolutely essential — for some companies sooner, for some only later.

 

What are the next milestones for MEP?

We are at the beginning of a path and a solution that will accompany us for many years. We have been working on these new technologies in the background for years. Our announcement and the direction we have now taken are a first step that should show our customers and the market what they can expect from us in the future. Now it is up to us to implement initial concepts together with our users and to optimize solutions and make them ready for the market. In the coming months we will present the first results here.

With the production platform cronetworld, customers can handle the daily demands on their business even faster.

Bernhard Falkner has been concentrating on product management and development as CTO since 2017.