In the third part of our series of posts on the key benefits of manufacturing execution systems (MES), true continuous improvement moves to the fore. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) sees a direct connection between continuous improvement and the vitality of manufacturing: “A culture of continuous improvement is necessary to enhance productivity and free up the capacity that will provide manufacturers a stable foundation to pursue innovation and growth.” We see a direct connection between the rise of modern MES and its ability to facilitate continuous improvement across the extended enterprise.
Every manufacturer looks toward refining today’s products with today’s data to improve tomorrow’s output. Yet, few have shown the ability to close this loop and create continuous improvement. The increasing use of modern MES is changing this outlook to a more propitious one. Modern MES creates continuous improvement in the manufacturing environment through visibility for project prioritization; automated granular data collection; dashboards and enhanced reporting; process modeling and engineering change order management; and automated change enforcement, monitoring, and alerting. This functionality establishes the basis for the “define>measure>analyze>improve>control” paradigm that’s at the heart of continuous improvement and lean manufacturing initiatives.
In the medical device and diagnostics sector, MES facilitates paperless manufacturing, which is both an objective and enabler of continuous improvement. True continuous improvement requires the information that a self-auditing electronic Device History Record (eDHR) provides. This information, which MES helps capture, advances the manufacturing enterprise towards lean manufacturing objectives while meeting the industry’s strict regulatory demands.
In the semiconductor industry, modern MES provides a single platform for change and continuous improvement, something difficult to achieve across multiple disparate systems with homegrown MES. As an architectural foundation for change, modern MES unifies these systems on a single platform that integrates nonconformance and event management, creates cross-plant feedback loops, and enforces global change orders that drive manufacturing improvement across the enterprise.
Constant and typically rapid change is a feature of today’s electronics industry. It leverages modern MES to enable continuous improvement in high volume environments through rapid, thorough, and highly detailed feedback, traceability, and root-cause analysis. This allows operators to make immediate, necessary changes and improve manufacturing output.
In industrial and metals markets, manufacturers are leveraging advanced MES for faster process correlation, error proofing, dashboards, and detailed reporting to enable lean and six-sigma initiatives, drive continual improvement efforts, and sustain cost reductions.