6 Ways MES Integration Can Make Manufacturing Leaner

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With the Industrial Internet of Things (IIot) revolutionizing manufacturing by leveraging intelligent, connected devices in factories, there are even more opportunities to fine tune operations with better data and process integration.

Since Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERP) contain information regarding customer demand, and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) control how to build it, integrating the two worlds increases operational efficiency and enables organizations to become more flexible and more responsive to customized and changing demands.

In addition, real-time information exchange between the business layer and the production layer can increase overall equipment efficiency (OEE), reduce cycle times, and provide management with greater visibility for improved decision making. Here are several examples which illustrate significant benefits of integrating ERP with MES.

1. More Accurate Delivery Dates – ERP schedules can be more realistic by incorporating quicker production times based on the latest improvements on the shop floor. Likewise, any downtime due to damaged or defective equipment can be reported to the ERP system to push back delivery dates, if necessary.

2. Optimized Production Quantities - Demand changes that are recorded in ERP systems can be fed into manufacturing schedules to ensure quantities of products manufactured are more closely aligned with demand for leaner and more efficient manufacturing.

3. Lower Inventory Costs - By integrating ERP and manufacturing data for more accurate demand forecasts companies can reduce inventories by avoiding overproduction. Excess inventory—whether as raw materials, work in progress, and finished goods—ties up cash in the business that can be put to better use elsewhere.

4. Fewer Rush Orders – Integrating ERP with MES enables manufacturers to reorder from suppliers before inventory falls below a predetermined level. Avoiding rush orders not only minimizes the possibility of delays, it also prevents any additional charges that are incurred by ordering materials at the last minute and by requesting expedited orders.

5. More Efficient Change Order Management – Better system integration supports more efficient execution of change orders. New manufacturing processes that impact production times and expenses need to be shared immediately with enterprise systems so that any pricing, or product delivery information can be updated. Likewise, any product changes requested by customers need to be transferred to production systems as soon as possible to avoid delays in fulfilling orders.

6. Faster Response to Quality Issues - If there is a quality issue on the floor, real-time notification to the business systems should be made to take the necessary corrective action as soon as possible. If defective material is detected, it can be removed from inventory and returned to the supplier. The manufacturer saves money by eliminating scrap due to defective raw material and also reduces exposure to recalls and possible liability issues.

Manufacturing processes will continue to become more complex and having the ability to track all of the related product data from design to delivery is essential to accomplish the goal of optimizing manufacturing efficiency.

Since manufactures’ MES and ERP systems are often built by different software vendors and speak different languages a code-free integration platform that automates the technical data transformations and provides a visual drag and drop interface to orchestrate the needed connectivity can greatly speed and simplify connectivity between these systems. Integration platforms help ensure a free flow of information to achieve leaner, more efficient and effective manufacturing.

Stephan Romeder

General Manager of Magic Software Europe, a global provider of enterprise-grade application development and business process integration software solutions


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