The main problem in effective production management and increasing its efficiency is the process of obtaining information and its subsequent use. Whether it’s increasing productivity, reducing costs or introducing any other improvement, it’s essential to have the right information so that we know exactly what, where and why is happening. If the company cannot deliver orders on time then information on the actual performance and utilization of the machines is needed. Thanks to them, we can identify production bottlenecks - areas where performance, availability or quality requires improvement. As a result, we are able to increase the production capacity of the plant only through the optimal use of the potential of the available machinery park, without the need of purchasing new equipment.
At the same time, if we have a problem with too high costs, we want to reduce them, but in such a way that it does not affect quality. To achieve this, we need to know where the most money is being "lost". We need to know the Technical Cost of Manufacturing, i.e. the cost of components (raw materials) as well as the cost of machines and people. We also need to know where and why quality issues arise, resulting in excessive returns and complaints. And this is the place where Lantek MES solution is required.
The process of implementing MES system is a multidimensional activity that must be preceded by precise analysis for its optimal use. First, we have to think - what do we want to achieve by introducing MES? Which processes need improvement? At what stages of production is the efficiency not satisfactory? Do any of the production processes generate more costs than profits? If we identify specific problems, the implementation of the MES system that improves these areas will be justified.
Additionally, it is worth following the entire production process. Only in this way will we be able to extract the full potential of the MES system, which will allow us to streamline production from the very beginning to the end.
Above mentioned analysis carried out by Lantek consultants guarantees that the offered solution, both in terms of its scope and functions, will fully meet the needs of production plant. The result of the pre-implementation analysis is the implementation concept, specifying in detail the way in which the system is to work / operate and meet the requirements set for it.
Another area that should be taken into account when implementing MES solution is an effective information campaign among employees - especially those who will work closely with MES. It is a good idea to organize a training that will familiarize employees with assumptions of the implementation project, its effects and potential changes.
Workshops on the use of the system should be carried out before the complete implementation of MES. Thanks to the knowledge gained in advance, employees will be able to effectively use the improvement without unnecessary delays. Of course, all decisions related to the introduction of the MES class system should be consulted with employees, which will certainly increase their involvement in the change process.
System MES requires an infrastructure with appropriate parameters. The server can be located on the premises of the Customer or in the Cloud if MES provides services in the SaaS model. In addition to the server, MES system requires a local network (LAN), enabling the exchange of information between production stations and system’s database. Due to their cubature and equipment, production plants usually require a combined use of wired and wireless networks. Installation in case of wireless environment may be difficult due to the topography of the object or interference from other networks or devices. It is therefore worth checking the network conditions before starting the implementation.
Another element necessary for the implementation of MES software is to provide employees with communication with the system in the form of stationary or mobile terminals. The operator with a help of consultant should decide on the choice of a specific panel model taking into account the level of exposure of the device to pollution.
If the scope of the MES system being implemented is to include monitoring of the work centers, it is necessary to communicate these machines with the system via PLC drivers or modules equipped with communication protocols.
Integration with other systems in the plant often produces desired synergies. At the analysis stage, it is worth considering with which other systems (current or planned) and to what extent the MES software should be able to communicate. MES systems are most often integrated with systems such as:
- Production planning and scheduling - integration enables communication between production and planning departments, providing them with current information about the plan and the degree of its implementation.
- Warehouse Management System - ensuring effective production logistics, including supplying work centers.
- Enterprise Resource Planning - thanks to the MES system, the ERP system contains up-to-date and real data from the carried out production.
Implementation of an interface between individual systems requires cooperation between companies that provide them. Lantek has a huge experience in the area of integrations. Integration of the MES system with above mentioned systems is possible and it is recommended if we want a homogeneous flow of data in the company which increases the efficiency of production processes.
The implementation of the MES system is a complex process that requires great attention to detail. At its every stage, close cooperation and trust between the parties are necessary, which is why it is so important to choose a reliable supplier like Lantek capable of implementing the project in a comprehensive manner.
The project has been finalized, the system has been tested, launched and… what’s next? Is that enough? Well, not necessarily. Efficient and effective implementation of the MES system - paradoxically - does not end with the end of the project. After all, the most important thing is that it carries out its goals well and brings real benefits. For this to happen, post-implementation measures are essential.
The need to build the competences of the people involved in the project applies to all of above described stages. It is extremely important that the employees responsible for its operation know everything that is needed to effectively use the opportunities that have appeared.
Therefore, the involvement of the team of experts who participated in the entire project does not end with the commissioning of the system. Together with the Customer, we analyze data, help in making decisions and search for possible optimization, we show how to draw the right conclusions. At the same time, we make sure that all this necessary knowledge and skills are passed on to users. As a result, a competent internal team is formed at the Customer’s, which becomes completely independent after some time.