Selecting MES

Selecting MES is a process AT&S did well for its new plant in China

Selecting MES is a process AT&S did well for its new plant in China

How does a company define their needs and select a manufacturing execution system (MES) to meet them? In existing plants, the way things have always been done can get in the way of clarity about requirements. With a new product or a greenfield plant that is still under construction, the needs may not be completely clear.

This week, I had the privilege of being on a webcast with Alois Schacherl, MES/AES manager for the new IC Substrate plant of AT&S in China. He spoke clearly about defining requirements for this greenfield plant that makes a different type of product than the company’s other sites and seeking out a comprehensive plant floor software solution to meet those emerging needs.

You can hear a recording of the webcast here.

AT&S worked with a consultant that has experience both with MES and with their ERP system. From that starting point, they interviewed the stakeholders and ascertained 600 requirements for their RFP.

This is pretty typical… And useful. Of course, as a software provider, responding can be daunting. Yet buying a complex system with many modules can easily require that level of definition for both to achieve any level of confidence that they can succeed together.

Perhaps you will also notice that Alois and the AT&S team focused on a provider that would and could work closely with them. Because of the advanced nature of their products and processes, they were hoping for some functionality that was not fully embodied in the products they reviewed. So they found a partner that would work with them to develop what they need.

That is perhaps the key: finding a true partner. If you have only identified the solution that technically seems the best, your project may be very painful. The long-term adoption, expansion and upgrade may beĀ  even more disappointing. This is where the concept of total cost of ownership (TCO) may become fuzzy.

How much time, energy, frustration and perhaps even aggravation can you avoid by selecting a true partner rather than just a software vendor? This may be hard to quantify as TCO but it will add up.

Please avoid the path where others have stumbled and consider product, people and services. If anyone on your team has doubts about the company that your selection process identifies, find additional customers and ask about their experience to ascertain whether the long-term prognosis is good.

Your production depends on it! And if you missed it, Alois Schacherl of AT&S speaks eloquently in the webinar.



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