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MES Solutions to Help Data Flows on the Factory Floor

MES solution on shop floor

MES solutions gather relevant production data for the manufacturing process and deliver it to production management systems in line with the needs of the automation and control network. A manufacturing execution system (MES) streamlines production operations and eliminates visibility gaps on the plant floor. As such, an MES solution can be used for real-time data transmission between production machinery, data collection on work in progress, production tracking, performance analysis and data transmissions into business systems.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software makes this process easier by integrating with an MES and providing seamless data connectivity between the MES and business systems. For example, an ERP solution can analyze work orders in the MES and gather data about supplies. From there, the ERP software can compare those production supply needs with data in the inventory management system to ensure there are sufficient goods to complete the order on time. This doesn't just make planning easier, it lets companies reduce inventory stock levels to eliminate waste and schedule picking processes at optimal times relative to production workflows.

When an MES works closely with an ERP, manufacturers have an opportunity to align their operational data from various lines of business with the nuanced production data they are generating on the plant floor. The result is a powerful blend of strategic and real-time data analysis to drive productivity and efficiency gains. These benefits are particularly evident in a few key sectors:

MES Solutions for Automotive Manufacturing

The automotive manufacturing industry is going through a period of dramatic changes as the market shifts away from traditional vehicle purchase patterns and toward shared vehicle models. This movement is still in its early stages, but it comes in large part because automobiles are increasingly being designed with computing capabilities. Auto manufacturers aren't just building engines and chassis anymore. They're also creating proprietary computer systems, integrating technology into various elements vehicles - infotainment systems in dashboards, touchscreen devices in headrests, etc. - adding complexity to the manufacturing process.

In this setting, plant floors are increasingly complex, with more varied fabrication and assembly process and much more demanding quality control and testing requirements to ensure everything works as it should. MES solutions are key in maintaining high levels of manufacturing quality and efficiency, making them an ideal fit for today's demanding auto manufacturing processes. A few ways automotive manufacturing companies can get MES software to pay dividends include:

  • Use AI-driven video analysis and similar advanced testing methods to automatically assess goods for quality, log potential data anomalies and alert human employees of areas needing attention.
  • Blend processes between human and robotic systems to ensure safe, efficient operations when automating key workflows.
  • Simplify scheduling for production teams with varied skills sets, ensuring electronics and vehicle assembly experts are aware of the status of their projects and can work seamlessly with one another.
  • Eliminate inconsistencies and reduce error by standardizing processes and creating data workflows that build compliance with industry standards and internal best practices into the production process.

The growing complexity of auto manufacturing is changing the way businesses handle everyday production demands. The combination of limited supply, heavy demand for custom features and shifting sales models that make production efficiency particularly necessary is pushing automakers to rethink how they create value on the factory floor. 

Many of these issues are evident in the way automotive manufacturers are embracing the internet of things (IoT). A Market Research Engine study found that the market for IoT solutions in the automotive sector will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27% from 2019 through 2024. At the end of that time, the market will be worth more than $132.5 billion. While the IoT presents significant opportunities for revenue creation and innovation, it also presents challenges.

In manufacturing, increased use of the IoT means automotive production processes are more heavily dependent on data on the shop floor. Getting value from the IoT hinges on finding ways to get that information to users and machines in efficient, cohesive ways. This is where MES software becomes so valuable - it gathers and coordinates data from various components of the production process to make complex workflows more manageable. As the IoT becomes a critical part of the production life cycle - either through connected devices reporting on projects or installing and testing IoT devices in automobiles - manufacturers need the visibility created by MES software to keep data under control.

According to Zion Market Research, the global market for MES solutions will reach of value of $21.7 billion by 2024. This will come after the market expands at a CAGR of 12.9% from 2018 to 2024. The automotive industry will be among the most prominent segments for MES deployments during that period, as brands work quickly to advance their manufacturing processes in light of changing industry demands.

MES solutions increase efficiency and profits

MES Solutions for Consumer Electronics

The Zion Market Research study found that the consumer electronics sector is also among the most prominent industries when it comes to employing MES software. At their core, MES systems make complexity more manageable by gathering, organizing and communicating the real-time data needed on the factory floor. This is critical in the consumer electronics sector, where constant pressure to improve printed circuit board design and shrink silicon wafers is matched with demanding device design and production requirements to put a strain on traditional production environments. As a result, the industry is embracing smart manufacturing capabilities, something that the IEEE Spectrum reported can reduce time to market by 50% and cut costs by 25%.

Digitalization is changing how consumer electronics companies manage their production lines and handle increasingly complex projects. But improving key processes like product lifecycle management, process engineering and production requires deep use of data generated by digital technologies, the IEEE Spectrum explained. Driving process gains through digital technologies isn't simply a matter of deploying isolated solutions. Instead, it's about connecting workflows between digital and human facets of the production process for seamless interactions. The news source explained that MES solutions can accomplish this by:

  • Bringing production scheduling, execution and analytics under a common umbrella.
  • Integrating development and manufacturing lifecycles.
  • Creating a single thread of data for collaboration across lines of business.

Data transparency and portability are integral to smart manufacturing, and MES software lays the groundwork for efficiency and strategic gains.

Looking for new a ERP system? Download the guide: Selecting an ERP System in 7 Easy Steps 

Download the guide to selecting ERP in 7 easy steps

Forging a Path to Intelligent Manufacturing

Intelligent manufacturing solutions present promise of a new way of managing production runs. But transitioning to such an operational climate hinges on end-to-end digital transformation across the business. It's one thing to have a deeply automated production line. It's another to interconnect your production line, warehouse, sales organization, field services team, customer service reps and back office operations into a single functional unit. That's what intelligent manufacturing amounts to. Blending software, monitoring devices, robotics and analytics empowers manufacturers to achieve new levels of modernization and optimization.

MES systems are a key part of this process. They provide an essential layer of intelligence and visibility into production processes, giving workers - whether humans or robots - access to the exact data they need when they need it.

In isolation, MES solutions can upgrade your production processes. But the real value comes when you combine MES capabilities with ERP systems to extend automation and data visibility throughout the business. Whether you are using the ERP to grab data from the MES to optimize scheduling and work order planning or to grab performance data from the MES so sales managers can use the ERP to generate production forecasts to provide better revenue projections, the need for data from multiple lines of business is critical. With data delivered in real time and organized for strategic reporting and analytics, businesses can add a vital layer of intelligence across every phase of the business.

With abas ERP software, you can maximize the value of your MES solution investments and reach the full potential of intelligent manufacturing. As production teams face growing complexity and demand for greater efficiency, MES and ERP software are becoming critical tools. Cloud-based technologies are making these tools more accessible, helping manufacturers across a wide range of industries take full advantage of contemporary digital solutions.

Contact abas ERP today to learn more.

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