Setting up an MES project requires essential preparatory work that should not be neglected.
Implementation of an MES solution : key questions to answer.
The implementation of an MES solution is a wise investment for any company wishing to strengthen the structure of its organization and optimize its production. However, managing the implementation of an MES can be complex if the key questions have not been asked in advance. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the key points which must be considered:
Voici une liste non exhaustive des points à passer en revue par l’équipe de travail :
What is the purpose of the MES project?
Above all, it is important to consider the objective sought through data collection, reliability and sharing. How will the consolidated data be used? What today generates inconsistency and inefficiency within my organization, and what can be corrected through an MES approach?
What is the scope of the proposed project?
Then, it is necessary to determine precisely the most relevant workshops, productions and processes to be included in the project. Is it better for your organization to start the project on the most critical parts, or is it better to start the reorganization phase with a less risky scope?
The question of the operators’ motivation and their willingness to optimise their working methods must also be raised in order to give the pilot project every chance of success.
Functional division between the MES and other (existing) IT environment?
Digital continuity from ERP to the workshop is a recurrent performance factor targeted by any company, as data must flow in a structured, shared and reliable way. Nevertheless, the project team must clearly define which operations fall within the ERP domain, and which are supported by the MES, in order to avoid creating duplication or omitting information: indeed, the MES is not intended to manage all the resources of a company.
Read the article : How is MES complementary to ERP?
Likewise, all the company’s IT components (EDM, CMMS, database, etc.) must be considered in order to create a coherent and efficient environment. The MES must bridge the gap towards efficient business tools and ensure the digital continuity of all actions carried out in the workshop or on the line.
Are the actors well identified and involved?
As in any project team, a set of actors with complementary visions must be brought together in order to consider all the technical and functional issues: the main actors concerned (method and production teams) can be accompanied by « facilitators » (IT team, quality department), while the support of the Management, shown by the sponsorship of one of the members of the Management Committee, allows to maintain the motivation of the actors, because of the strategic nature of the project.
Finally, it may be important to inform all the other actors in the workshop (logistics, maintenance, management, etc.), who are also affected by the implementation of an MES, in order to guarantee the success of the launch during the kick-off.
What level of service quality is expected?
The success of an MES project comes as much from the quality of the IT solution chosen as from the project management. It is also interesting to plan the human, technical and financial resources required to manage the implementation of the solution, as well as its operational maintenance once in production. If the client does not have sufficient resources, what support is required? Training? Configuration assistance? Start-up assistance? Maintenance? Support?
What are my external constraints?
In some sectors of activity, such as aeronautics or pharmaceuticals, many specific standards are present to ensure the quality of production (EN 9100,…). These are in addition to all the standards on the market, which cover all sectors (ISO 2859/3951/9001).
Outside the normative and regulatory framework, customer requests, particularly from major principals, can become a « must have » that my organization must take into account to remain competitive on the market. Is this aspect consistent with the MES that my team is considering? At the heart of the manufacturing process, the MES connects to all the components of the connected workshop, to the management systems as well as to the machine equipment.
How to separate MES from the market?
If all the above points have been covered and the MES requirement is verified, it is easy to see that there are many software providers. So how do we decide between them? Again, several questions may be asked to guide us: do I need a lot of customization, a source of often cumbersome integration phases, or a standard packaged offer, lighter to implement? What is the desired commissioning time? Is the software fixed, or are the short, medium and long-term development points known?
And now what?
To conclude, an effective method for obtaining an objective opinion on the relevance of an MES approach consists in setting up a pilot project in real conditions, in order to confront real problems that have not been considered before, and thus eliminate any remaining doubts. The first conclusions resulting from this pilot project also make it possible to review the overall scope envisaged, the processes to be digitized, and the changes to be made in the level of service associated with the software offer.
Sales Engineer at Infodream