MES: Avoid the 5 most common mistakes

Five wrong steps you should avoid

The introduction of a MES does not only bring high expectations for the software developers. MES user management is also challenged. Keywords: Clear transparency, long-term financing and user involvement and integration.

The introduction of or addition to Manufacturing Execution Systems MES in existing or new production lines is accompanied by high expectations. Not least because the use of MES is an elementary decision, especially for first-time users, which was preceded by intensive strategic considerations and essential technical decisions. Not to mention the ever-increasing complexity of targeted projects.
Of course, certain expectations in a sophisticated high-end solution such as MES are right, desired and ultimately in the sense of the MES developers. But especially in view of the high complexity of the production structure, MES solutions are often expected to have the characteristics of being able to solve just every problem. However, like all technical, complex systems, the use of MES also depends on the preparation, transparency and decision-making will of the customer or user. If these points are lacking, errors and high costs will result. This, in turn, can quickly diminish enthusiasm for a project, no matter how hoped for.
After recently asking “Five Questions” in our news blog to which there could only be one answer – namely MES – today we present five wrong steps to avoid when introducing and adding MES.

“The goal? A MES – what else?”

Act clearly, put special emphasis on the objective! Simply “just” requesting a Manufacturing Execution System is the wrong approach. That would be just like “I need a car with an engine” without any further specifications. The more specific the requirements, objectives and goals, the more efficient and functional the developer of an MES solution can do the job. Examples: Increasing efficiency in resources, uncompromising, paperless manufacturing, shorter production run times, reduction of scrap.

“Let’s do this quickly…”

Do not underestimate the time factor! Regardless of whether a Manufacturing Execution System is to be newly integrated into a production line or only an MES is to be used as a supplement – good things take time! Be aware that MES wants to bring together and control a complex network of people, machines, processes, materials and ultimately products. Organizational, technological and functional foundations should be laid already in the first steps of planning. Time management that takes into account all aspects of the subsequent MES deployment is a must. Time is money here, too: Those who save time at the beginning will later sit on the costs during downtimes!

This and that… we can save a lot”

It has been proven to be counterproductive with a complex system like the MES if savings are made in the wrong places. Calculate in the long term. Invest in the future! Make sure that the quality of the overall project does not fail due to supposed “trivialities”. Even details that seem “unimportant” at first are important wheels in the structure. Think ahead:

Services such as training and testing for the employees will also have a positive impact on the production time management later on.

“Finally in the comfort zone!”

Once the implementation phase is over, many first-time MES users like to “sit back and relax.” After all, all beginnings are difficult, and once that is done, things can only get better. This may well be true in some areas of production, but not when installing MES. Even if you have to leave the comfort zone for continuous improvement processes – it is inevitable to feed the MES with know-how, to adjust it again and again, to locate potential sources of error through transparency. It can take several months until everything runs “smoothly”.

“The MES should replace employees!”

If you do not involve the future user in the project “MES in the production process” from the very beginning, you will fail. A MES can only be as successful as its user is motivated to use and run the same. Accordingly, later users should already be involved in the software design process, in the design of the user interface and in the direct integration of the MES into the production process. After all, their experience and know-how will put the MES developer on the right track. Everything else is bare theory – and thus hardly MES-capable.