Closing Loops with MES

MMH Article Making MES More Efficient talks about automating data collection. It has a sidebar about design and MES coming together in which Julie Fraser is quoted.

MMH article Making MES More Efficient talks about automating data collection. It has a sidebar about design and MES coming together in which Julie Fraser is quoted.

How many loops can you close with one set of solutions? Many, if it is manufacturing execution systems or operations management (MES/MOM).

MES/MOM manages production operations, and those sit at the middle of many things for companies that make products of any sort. Plant operations information can close the loop in the concept-to-delivery, order-to-cash, plan-to-reality, and actual-to-update cycles.  This has always been true, but the number of other technologies MES now regularly interfaces to has grown.

In a recent article Making MES More Efficient for Modern Material Handling (MMH), my writer friend Roberto Michel discusses the use of MES with RFID at Troy Manufacturing and Design. So MES can be at the center of the Internet of Things, making sense of what that data and those movements imply for the operation. Completely automating data collection saves time for production staff – and feeding all of that automated data into the MES means that people from those operators and supervisors up to operations executives in offices can all keep plans and schedules up to date based on current activity.

For a long time, we talked about the product lifecycle loops going through manufacturing, too. Finally the software providers of product lifecycle management (PLM) are making that a reality. Siemens has been working to bring its design and PLM tools together with its MES, and recently added Camstar to that portfolio. Apriso now integrates to Dassault’s V6 platform.

MES is also clearly the piece that closes the loop in the supply chain. A few forward-thinking players like nMetric (and another one soon!) combine MES and detailed scheduling into a single product. Similarly, SAP, Epicor, IQMS and other ERP providers have incorporated MES into their information flows for materials, procurement, and logistics. Apriso always included a warehouse management piece to connect inbound and outbound materials to the in-process flows.

So loops of all sorts need to have effective data flows in and out of the production operation. MES can provide the missing link for people, equipment, products, and value chains…. With some effort at integration and change management, of course!

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