Integrating MES: Try Before You Buy
Why a Proof-of-Concept Approach towards integration of a MES is a cost-effective approach in lieu of full-scale implementation: Most businesses in the manufacturing industry understand the importance of having a Manufacturing Execution System (MES). As MES providers offer more affordable solutions, small-to-medium manufacturers now have better opportunities to find the right fit for their business model..
But the question they ask themselves is “where do we start?” While an MES can provide many functions to improve your business, it is important to understand what you need and the best path to get there.
During the exploratory phase of seeking out a MES provider, many components of operations personnel must be on the same page. From purchasing, to manufacturing, IT, and executives it is imperative that all facets agree on the best path forward. Seeking out and implementing a facility wide, or multi facility MES is a costly endeavor and must be approached in the correct way. Because of this, our approach has been to push a proof-of-concept implementation for our customers that are in the market for a MES.
Our proof-of-concept deployment paired alongside our completely scalable MES modules allows for a low cost and low risk trial period for our customers. During this phase it is important that we show the value of our MES and how it will interact with their current operations. Being able to select which of our five modules to trial, as well as the limited area to deploy it in allows our customers to get a real feel of how our MES will work across their operations in an enhanced timeline. Since we are deploying the system at a selected area with live production, they are getting access to real data and reports and not getting a traditional demo with ‘dummy data’.
Realizing the Benefits
During our proof-of-concept phase our clients can observe the benefits of an MES and refine the parameters to meet the needs of their business. They can validate live data and report data, trial operator work instructions, or realize the advantage of tracking orders electronically. This fine-tuning period allows us to gain an understanding of what our clients pain points are and what is most important in their MES vision. From the trial we will have an MES baseline which will save on deployment time and costs during the full-scale deployment.
Deliverables and Schedule
Our proof-of-concept delivers what our full-scale deployment would at a fraction of the price and a fraction of the time. Our goal is to display to our client what they can expect from a full-scale deployment, the accuracy of the data, and the ability to manipulate and make changes to the user end points. They are also able to see results within 60-90 days from the beginning of our engagement. This limited engagement window is usually enough time for our customers to understand the capabilities of our system, allow for bugs to be worked out ahead of full-scale deployment, and allows them to choose which, if not all, of our modules to implement. It is important to deliver these results in this timeframe as we know how imperative MES’s are becoming in this sector.
All stakeholders in the decision-making process will be able to take a hands-on approach with our system and have their input heard. This allows us to better refine our blueprint for the final deployment and will reduce the amount of time that is required for back-end configuration, as this has been done during the proof-of-concept phase. Having these key stakeholders’ part of the process allows us to show the value they are getting by not only using the proof-of-concept approach but also the value they will continue to get with a full-scale deployment of our MES. Usually, this approach, with those key stakeholders involved, allows for a shorter decision-making process when it comes time to move forward to the full implementation phase.
By taking the proof-of-concept approach it allows our customers to experience how the MES system will benefit and add value to their facility while allowing for scope changes and refinement of the solution to be worked out ahead of time, cutting out costly changes down the road.