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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Barber

Who benefits from an MES?

Well the short answer to the question is.......everyone!


But let's delve in a little deeper and look at each user role related to manufacturing operations.


We've broken this down into three key user groups:

  1. Operational users who work in in the factory. These users are typically performing transactions in MES and recording data, as well as viewing real-time information about operational performance. Operational users are usually reactive to events occurring in MES.

  2. Managers who are interested in escalations, and factory performance. These users are interested in shiftl performance, and also real-time issues and blockers.

  3. Executives who are interested in long term cost savings, product quality, customer satisfaction, efficiency, and continuous improvements.


Shopfloor Operational Users

Operators

Operators are the individuals directly involved in the production process. They interact with the MES system through user interfaces on shop floor workstations, tablets, or mobile devices. They use the MES system to access work instructions, track their progress, record production data, report issues or defects, and perform other operational transactions.


Operators are at the heart of any MES system. The MES system should help them, guide them, and make their lives easier by systematising business processes, error-proofing the process, and alerting them when their is something to do.


By using an MES system, operators benefit from real-time visibility into production status, improved accuracy in recording data, reduced paperwork, and access to up-to-date work instructions and quality specifications.


Production Supervisors

Supervisors oversee and manage a group of operators, or a collection of production lines. They use the MES system to monitor production performance, track operator productivity, identify bottlenecks or issues, assign tasks, and provide real-time guidance or support to operators. The MES system enables supervisors to have a holistic view of the production floor, optimise resource allocation, make informed decisions, and ensure adherence to production schedules and quality standards.


Production Scheduler

Schedulers utilise the MES system to configure production schedules based on demand, available resources, and other constraints. They can optimise the sequencing of orders, assign tasks to workstations or operators, and monitor schedule adherence. The MES system empowers schedulers to improve production planning accuracy, minimize downtime, enhance resource utilization, and ensure on-time deliveries. MES usually downloads production orders directly from ERP, and then allows the scheduler to make fine-tune changes and resource allocations.


Quality Engineer

Quality engineers leverage the MES system to monitor and track quality-related data, including inspections,, defects, and non-conformances. They can use MES to set up quality control plans, define quality parameters and specifications, conduct statistical process control (SPC), and generate quality reports. MES provides quality engineers with real-time visibility into quality metrics, facilitates root cause analysis, supports corrective and preventive actions (CAPA), and enables continuous improvement in product quality and processes.


The quality team could also use the MES system in a laboratory environment, taking samples from the production line to be tested offline. This could be elsewhere in the factory, offsite, or by a 3rd party.

Continuous Improvement Engineer

Continuous improvement personnel, such as Lean Six Sigma practitioners or process engineers, use the MES system to access production data, identify process inefficiencies, analyse trends, and implement improvement initiatives. They can leverage the MES system to track key performance indicators, conduct data-driven problem-solving, collaborate with cross-functional teams, and monitor the impact of improvement projects. By using an MES system, continuous improvement personnel can drive operational excellence, reduce waste, increase productivity, and enhance overall business performance.


Logistics Personnel

Logistics personnel, such as forklift drivers, interact with the MES system to receive instructions for material movements, locate required inventory, record inventory transactions, and update inventory levels in real-time. The MES system enables logistics personnel to streamline material handling processes, reduce errors, minimise stockouts, optimise inventory levels, and improve overall logistics efficiency.


Logistics personnel are likely to use mobile and barcode scanning devices to scan and transact on inventory throughout the factory.

Maintenance Engineer

Maintenance engineers interact with the MES system to access equipment maintenance schedules, rectify equipment downtime, perform maintenance activities, track spare parts inventory, and generate maintenance reports. MES covers Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) functionality, it helps maintenance engineers optimise preventive maintenance, plan equipment repairs, schedule maintenance tasks, and track equipment performance. By using an MES system, maintenance engineers can improve equipment uptime, minimise unplanned downtime, extend equipment lifespan, and enhance maintenance efficiency.


Maintenance engineers are more likely to use mobile devices such as tablets to work through their task list on-the-go. A mobile device allows the engineer to access their work list, procedures, and documentation, as well as perform any maintenance transactions such as recording steps completed, spare parts used, and working time.


Toolroom Engineer

Toolroom engineers are responsible for managing and maintaining tools, moulds, or dies used in the manufacturing process. They utilise MES to track tooling inventory, schedule maintenance or repairs, record tool usage, and generate reports on tool performance. The MES system helps toolroom engineers optimise tool utilisation, reduce tooling costs, minimise unplanned downtime due to tool issues, and enhance tooling efficiency.


It's important that the toolroom engineers have visibility of the upcoming production schedule to plan the tools required. Sometimes the toolroom engineers are also responsible for loading the tools into the machines instead of the operators.


Managers

Managers, including production managers, logistics managers, quality managers, maintenance managers, toolroom managers, and continuous improvement managers, use the MES system to gain a comprehensive overview of their respective areas of responsibility. They can monitor key performance indicators (KPIs), analyse production data, identify trends or areas for improvement, allocate resources effectively, make data-driven decisions, and optimise processes. By using an MES system, managers can enhance operational efficiency, reduce costs, ensure compliance with quality standards, and streamline workflows.


Plant Manager

The plant manager oversees the entire manufacturing facility and relies on the MES system to gain a comprehensive view of plant operations. They can monitor real-time production data, track KPIs, analyse performance metrics, identify bottlenecks, and make data-driven decisions. MES enables plant managers to optimise production processes, allocate resources effectively, ensure compliance with regulations, and drive continuous improvement initiatives at the plant level.


Production Manager

The production manager is responsible for overseeing the manufacturing process and ensuring production targets are met. They rely on the MES system to monitor production activities, track real-time production data, analyse performance metrics, and make informed data-driven decisions. MES enables production managers to optimise production schedules, allocate resources effectively, identify production bottlenecks, manage production workflows, and drive continuous improvement initiatives. By utilising an MES system, production managers can enhance productivity, streamline operations, improve product quality, and meet production targets efficiently.


Quality Manager

The quality manager is responsible for maintaining and improving product quality standards. They use the MES system to establish quality control plans, define inspection criteria, monitor quality metrics, track non-conformances, and generate quality reports. MES allows quality managers to enforce quality standards, facilitate traceability and recall management, implement corrective actions, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

Logistics Manager

The logistics manager oversees the movement of materials within the organisation. They interact with the MES system to monitor inventory levels, track material transactions, optimise material flow, and coordinate logistics activities. The MES system enables logistics managers to improve supply chain visibility, reduce inventory holding costs, minimise stockouts, optimise warehouse operations, and enhance overall logistics efficiency.


Maintenance Manager

The maintenance manager is responsible for managing and coordinating maintenance activities within the organisation. They interact with the MES system to schedule preventive maintenance tasks, track equipment performance, manage work orders, and generate maintenance reports. The MES system allows maintenance managers to optimise maintenance schedules, plan resources efficiently, track equipment downtime, streamline maintenance workflows, and implement predictive maintenance strategies. By leveraging an MES system, maintenance managers can enhance equipment reliability, reduce unplanned downtime, optimise maintenance costs, and improve overall maintenance effectiveness.

Executives

The executive team are less likely to directly interact with the MES system, but still realise the benefits of having an MES system. They are likely to review the data from the MES system, this could be through direct access to the system, or alternatively via exported reports, or through presentations from other team members. More likely they will view data through other applications that interface with MES, such as ERP or a technology and data layer.


The executive team should be involved in the MES buying cycle as economic buyers and key stakeholders.


CIO (Chief Information Officer)

The CIO is responsible for the overall IT strategy and systems within the organisation. They collaborate with the MES system vendors, oversee system implementation and integration, ensure data security and integrity, and align the MES system with other enterprise systems. The CIO benefits from an MES system by having a centralised platform for data collection, analysis, and reporting, which enables informed decision-making, process optimisation, and improved operational transparency.


The MES is a critical part of the IT landscape, it is the foundation of a smart factory, interacting with other key systems throughout the organisation.

COO (Chief Operating Officer)

The COO is responsible for the organisation's operations, including production, logistics, quality, and maintenance. They rely on the MES system to gain real-time visibility into operations, monitor performance metrics, identify bottlenecks, allocate resources efficiently, ensure compliance, and drive continuous improvement initiatives. By leveraging an MES system, the COO can enhance productivity, quality, and profitability.

CEO (Chief Executive Officer)

The CEO uses the MES system to gain a high-level overview of the organisation's operations and performance. They can access key performance indicators, analyse trends, monitor production efficiency, ensure alignment with strategic goals, and make informed decisions based on real-time data. The MES system empowers CEOs to have a holistic view of the company's manufacturing operations, enabling them to drive growth, improve competitiveness, and maximize profitability.

Summary

These are some of the key users who interact with an MES system and the benefits they can derive from its implementation. The specific functionalities and features of the MES system may vary depending on the vendor and the organisation's requirements.


Unfortunately, some MES vendors will not be able to deliver all of the benefits discussed in this article, so make sure you do your research.

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