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What is a Manufacturing Execution System?

When it comes to manufacturing, both ensuring efficiency and streamlining production are crucial to profitability. How a facility goes about this varies with different industries, equipment types, and personnel expertise. However, there is one common thread when looking at the most efficient manufacturing facilities – most (if not all) utilize some type of Manufacturing Execution System (MES). An MES ultimately allows more control by manufacturers over the entire production process, from purchasing raw goods to the production line and then disbursement of finished products. These systems increase the accuracy of data collection and provide real-time opportunities to make crucial decisions that save time and money.

Benefits of Utilizing a Manufacturing Execution System

So, how exactly does MES create a more efficient and profitable manufacturing process? The benefits stretch across multiple manufacturing operations.

Record Data in Real-Time

With an MES, workers can track critical cost data directly from the shop floor, meaning no paper notes needing inputting later. Such data includes scrap, downtime, and maintenance costs. Not only does this eliminate the extra time required to record this information post-production. It also increases accuracy and reduces room for error when transposing. Accuracy of this information is critical for correctly forecasting pricing and guaranteeing profitability. A bonus to this benefit is the reduction of paper documentation and a decreased environmental footprint because of it.

Decrease Downtime

Manufacturing execution systems allow manufacturers to better create accurate schedules for production. They automatically take into account factors such as parts inventory and personnel availability. This means workers aren’t showing up to production lines when crucial parts haven’t arrived, and less rescheduling is necessary. Decreased downtime is critical to maintaining profitability.

Reduce Surplus Inventory

Keeping adequate inventory on hand is important to maintain timely disbursement of goods. However, producing too much means you have to transport and store those goods until needed – both of which cost money. Additionally, having a surplus of raw materials on hand also comes with storage costs, and tracking that inventory for long periods before production leaves lots of room for error.  

Manufacturing Execution Systems keep an accurate and up-to-date record of inventory. Inventory refers to both raw materials and finished goods. These systems update themselves as new raw materials arrive and when those materials are used to create finished products. This type of automated inventory solution positively affects several areas of production, including purchasing and shipping. Ultimately, it lessens the chance of surplus inventory sitting on-site – saving money.

Reduce Scrap, Waste, and Rework

Issues on the shop floor that go unnoticed almost always lead to wasted materials and parts. When a raw material or part has to be discarded because of defects or errors in the manufacturing process, this is referred to as scrap. On the other hand, finished products that don’t meet the manufacturer’s specifications and cannot be adjusted to do so are discarded as waste.

With production issues, the longer they persist without detection, the more waste that accumulates. An MES analyzes production lines, including during the production process and the finished goods. It can detect inconsistencies or errors in production quickly. Doing so allows manufacturers to stop production sooner rather than later, saving money by reducing both scrap and waste. Additionally, manufacturers must consider the cost of rework when looking at productivity. As its name suggests, rework refers to changes or corrections to finished products that present defects upon inspection. Rework activities may include disassembling the product or its parts, replacing defective elements, and rebuilding the finished product for reinspection. All of these processes take time and, ultimately, money. So, reducing the need for rework is critical for maintaining profitability.

Integrating MES with ERP

Possibly one of the greatest benefits an MES brings to manufacturing is the ability to seamlessly integrate with other manufacturing software, such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. ERP systems help manage many operational activities of running a manufacturing facility, including procurement, risk management, and supply chain management. While ERP solutions work to streamline critical processes, maintaining efficient production requires reliance on an MES and incorporating its functionality into the ERP solution in place. Manufacturing Execution Systems communicate data regarding waste, scheduling, and downtime to the ERP – helping ensure overall efficiency and control over the production process.

CIMAG MES from IMCO Software

CIMAG MES is an innovative solution, designed specifically for small to mid-sized manufacturing operations. Often, Manufacturing Execution Systems are created to suit the needs of large-scale manufacturing. But, IMCO Software works to bring that same level of functionality and support to smaller businesses so that they too may reach optimum efficiency and profitability. Among the many benefits of the CIMAG MES, it allows manufacturers to

  • Reduce scrap and rework by communicating QC issues in real-time and making automatic adjustments
  • Increase uptime through advanced scheduling tools and real-time visibility of the shop floor
  • Enhance traceability of all manufacturing components – personnel, materials, and tools
  • Lower costs by improving production schedule, reducing issue response time, and reducing working capital tied up in inventory

Having real-time visibility over the entire manufacturing process is crucial as manufacturers continuously strive for increased productivity, efficiency, and lower costs. Because manufacturing varies so much depending on the industry and type of production, having a system customized to your individual needs allows control over the most critical aspects of the manufacturing process. 

At IMCO Software, we don’t believe in a “one size fits all” approach to software solutions, so we help our customers find a system that best suits their unique needs. If you’re interested in learning more about how the CIMAG MES can help your facility reach optimum efficiency, we would love to chat.  Contact us today to get started.

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