Why MES implementation is a game changer for manufacturers – and not just another IT project

By Yves Bourgeois, COO of the Belgian scale-up and IIoT specialist Factry

Are you struggling with manufacturing challenges such as data silos, limited insight into processes, slow and manual reporting, unplanned downtime or high defect rates? If so, the move to a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is imminent. Implementing an MES is more far-reaching than a conventional IT project. However, an MES and the insights it delivers offer a great opportunity to gain a competitive edge. Here's why.

An MES forms the backbone of the digital factory, integrating every aspect of the production process from the ground up. By digitising planning and real-time production monitoring, and turning raw process data into contextualised and actionable insights, an MES eliminates the unmanageable mess of paperwork and Excel sheets in exchange for a real-time, centralised and transparent view of the production floor. This allows managers to optimise workflows, reduce waste and respond quickly to changes in demand or production conditions, which results in more flexibility and efficiency.

Not just another IT project

Moreover, implementing an MES goes beyond upgrading to or adopting a new technology. An MES introduces a new way of working, encouraging a culture of continuous improvement and shaping a flexible and collaborative production environment. 

Provided it is properly implemented, an MES and the data generated become a crucial business asset that allows you to gain a competitive advantage through effective operations, increased productivity and significant cost savings, directly benefiting the bottom line. If you neglect an MES or deploy it incorrectly, it will cost you. It's also about missed business opportunities, delayed innovation and the moral turmoil for your teams struggling with easily preventable inefficiencies.

The impact of MES

According to joint research by Gartner and MESA, most manufacturing companies that implement an MES achieve significant operational improvements within 12 months of implementation, such as reduced unplanned downtime, improved lead times and improved product quality. More than a third of the manufacturers surveyed saw results within just three months. Another MESA research report shows that companies implementing MES reduced total unit costs by 22.5%, improved net profit margins by 19.4% and increased lead times by 22%.

Factry’s experience in implementing MES projects has given us a unique insight into its transformative impact in different industries. From this perspective, we have seen first-hand how an MES can turn potential into actual performance.

Take our client Jacques IJs for example. This Belgian ice cream producer was hampered by a spreadsheet- and paper-based production workflow and longed for a digital transformation. With the implementation of the FactryOS Manufacturing Execution System, the company can now monitor and manage its production activities in real time, making a significant impact. Since then, they have increased their overall efficiency, improved quality control, increased productivity - all without purchasing new machinery - and reacted faster to changes in demand and production conditions.

Within 12 months of implementation, Jacques IJs achieved remarkable operational improvements: they reduced product overfill by 20% and increased Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) by 10%. Not bad, considering they produce about 235 million ice creams a year.

A new playing field

In the past, implementing an MES system may have seemed complex, daunting and reserved for a select few big players with the resources to tackle such a monumental task. However, the landscape has changed dramatically. New technologies have transformed MES from a monolithic system to a modular solution that can be cost-effectively adapted to changing needs. This makes it accessible to a wider range of manufacturers than ever before. By enabling a level of customisation and flexibility once unthinkable, the ‘batch of one’ becomes a practical reality instead of a future possibility.

Yves Bourgeois, COO of the Belgian scale-up and IIoT specialist Factry
Yves Bourgeois, COO of the Belgian scale-up and IIoT specialist Factry

 

About Factry

Factry provides process industry companies with open software for monitoring, analyzing and optimizing their operations. Our solutions make actionable data insights accessible to every role, from operator to CFO. With a strong focus on usability, Factry brings users closer to their process data so they can learn from it, make smarter decisions, avoid downtime and continuously improve the quality of products and processes. With Factry, manufacturers join forces with a team dedicated to the future of their plant, fostering a culture of continuous innovation - critical to gaining a competitive advantage in Industry 4.0.

Jesse Huybrechts

Jesse Huybrechts

Copywriter, Evoke

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