Even under optimal conditions, implementing a manufacturing execution system (MES) is still a complex and demanding undertaking. But there are numerous opportunities in every step of the process to reduce time and complexity.
The main points can be summarized by these five "secrets" of successful MES implementation:
1. Understand your business drivers
Using your business drivers and objectives as a safeguarding guideline will keep your implementation project going in the right direction. Establishing a consensus and visibility of the primary business drivers will help you make the right decisions when selecting and configuring your MES. Being able to refer to the business drivers will also make it easier to mobilize and maintain support for the process across your organization.
2. Assess your digital maturity and readiness
Taking the time to establish a solid foundation for your MES implementation will almost certainly save you both time and grief later in the process. If you don't do the groundwork, you will likely discover gaps and a lack of readiness during the course of your project, which will be much more difficult to correct mid-process. Without a proper maturity and readiness assessment, you also run the risk of making the wrong choices in terms of technology selection, establishing the right processes, and which stakeholders to involve.
3. Standardize wherever possible
Base your MES architecture on a standard reference architecture. Use libraries for your MCPR (Master Production Control Record) implementation. Use standard reference processes for your manufacturing, quality, and logistics processes. There is simply no rational reason not to take advantage of the wealth of industry standards that exist, complete with templates and detailed guidelines.
4. Apply a rigid implementation methodology
Pick the best-suited approach and stick with it. This could be a standard waterfall or an agile project management methodology. It is immensely important that your implementation team does not deviate from your selected project management and implementation methodology. This is the hard lesson learned from many MES implementation projects that the team at NNIT and have been involved in. Following a rigid implementation methodology is one of the main secrets to completing the project on a much shorter timeline.
5. Benefit from the experience of others
Get experienced advisors on board before you even begin to consider starting your MES implementation process. They will help you avoid the numerous pitfalls and mistakes that others have struggled with during an MES implementation.