Common Features of a Manufacturing Execution System

Manufacturing today paints a very different picture from the manufacturing and production plants that dominated the industrial age. Technology advancements such as those found in a manufacturing execution system have streamlined operations, eliminated wasted time and created a more efficient and productive environment. Not only are manufacturers trying to produce a quality product at a low cost, changing industry standards and government regulations intensify the pressure to get the job done right.

Manufacturers look to a manufacturing execution system to help them meet the growing demands of the industry in an affordable, adaptable way. When the right manufacturing execution system is selected, the manufacturer not only creates high productivity, the company can also guard against the high costs associated with lawsuits and audits. When the manufacturing execution system is tightly integrated into the manufacturing system, decision makers can easily collaborate to make fast and accurate decisions.

The implementation of a manufacturing execution system should rely on the identification of key features within the system. The solution should provide detailed scheduling, dispatching, operational reporting, and non-conformance tracking. While some manufacturing execution systems on the market will offer features beyond this core grouping, these are the features that should be on your “must have” list before moving forward.

A successful implementation of a manufacturing execution system relies on detailed scheduling. This feature of the solution should be able to gather information from already defined capacities for work centers, hourly usage on machines, and for labor. This information is then used to perform scheduling that is detailed enough to work in a complicated environment. As a result, the manufacturing execution system can minimize the time necessary to setup and execute production.

Another key feature of the manufacturing execution system is dispatching. A list is dispatched from the system to send work to the different work centers. The dispatch function is used to create real-time prioritization of work orders that emulates the actual floor-component levels, current availability of the work center, downstream availability of the center, priority customers and even an unexpected call from the plant manager that throws off your original plan.

Any successful manufacturing execution system launch relies on operational reporting through the use of mobile devices. Within the manufacturing execution system, transactions can be moved from one operation to another when necessary if lead times have gotten too long. This level of reporting also provides a real-time picture of work orders, the cost of different processes and the dispatching of jobs.

Non-conformance within the manufacturing setting is a key issue that must take priority in the manufacturing execution system. This feature must be readily available to use to identify non-conformance, whether it is with an employee or an entire process. This not only helps to eliminate waste, it also protects the company in the event of an audit or a lawsuit. And, as much as it would save money to just do spot checks, managing for non-conformance in all processes and products is more efficient in the long run. With the right manufacturing execution system in place, you can quickly identify and eliminate instances of non-conformance within the process.

Your factory and production floor is the lifeblood of your business. It is imperative that you can produce your products as economical as possible and fulfill orders according to customer requests. Maximizing the value of your MES Systems assures you can meet these goals both now and in the future.