A Packaging Execution System (PES) is to the packaging identification process what a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is to manufacturing: it centrally steers all actions related to afore mentioned process. While most manufacturing companies are realising the benefits of an MES, 90% of them do not yet recognise the advantages a PES bring them. And these benefits are huge, especially in a world where correct product identification and traceability have become a "must". Zetes' packaging execution solution ZetesAtlas makes possible what competing products fail to do.
All too often is a direct link between with the packaging line and the ERP system, which provides all data for the identification of the products on the packaging line, completely inexistent. This means that each device involved in the packaging process is configured locally and independently, often manually. As a result there is an increased probability for mistakes – such as having the wrong information on the label, non-compliance with standards like GS1, errors against supply chain identification rules or configuration error of packaging identification systems – to occur, as there is no visibility and traceability of actions, events and data, no data aggregation and no automated control. "Without a PES and, therefore, without integration of all packaging lines with the ERP of the company, the whole traceability of its products is jeopardised as you cannot guarantee that the identification and control processes went flawless."
Full control over the packaging line
With these challenges in mind, Zetes has developed ZetesAtlas. The software acts as the essential link between the ERP and the packaging line. By acting in a totally controlled loop, it takes control over the full range of peripherals, such as printers, cameras, and controllers, allowing the correct management of all the common processes related to product identification. One single solution steers all the lines, controls all the data and provides reports on events and actions that show what happened where. Fully automated processes also mean faster execution of the latter.
One single person can steer all the machines on the same line, with a single machine interface. This dramatically lowers the number of manual interventions, and therefore, the number of errors. Knowing that the integration has been done thoroughly and that all the information is securely mastered in real time provides the customer with real peace of mind. Identification quality and integrity is guaranteed.
ZetesAtlas can also handle unit identification (heterogeneous flows, serialization) and provide precise information on which products are in which boxes, etc. Parent-child association is made possible thanks to mass reading: when positioning products in a box, the serial numbers of these products are read simultaneously and associated with the serial number of the box itself. Executing so-called data aggregation strengthens the traceability of each individual product unit.
Companies start to realise the need to invest in a PES
Pascal Longchambon, head of the ZetesAtlas Business Solution Group: "For decades, manufacturing companies were concentrating their investment efforts around the MES, which, of course, is essential to make sure products are of consistent quality. But with the growing need for traceability, be it to protect brands, control distribution channels or protect consumer health, we are noticing a shift in minds. Though, until now, there was not really an equivalent of the MES for the packaging process. With the emergence of new data carriers, which allow to encode more data (such as, for example, "best before date") and item level identification, companies start to feel the need for a solution that allows to efficiently manage and orchestrate the whole packaging identificaiton process. With ZetesAtlas, the gap there was in the market has now been filled.