4 Essential Factors of : MES Software, Industry 4.0 and the Smart Factory

Have you started on your path to Zero Defects Manufacturing? Industry 4.0 is the connection of cyber-physical systems. Many would have you believe this initiative is brand new. Although we are in various development stages, Industry 4.0 has been around for a while. When speaking of cyber-physical systems, all of us, can relate to (drum roll please…), our home computer with a printer connected to it is a cyber-physical connection. Much like printer drivers connect the cyber and physical system. MES Software can be the connection between your equipments PLC and cyber dashboard.

Manufacturers are in various stages of implementing MES systems that connects beyond simple printers. They are harnessing the Industrial Internet of Things (IioT) and the collection of Big Data to hone their manufacturing capabilities and pushing towards a Zero Defect Manufacturing environment.

If you are in the initial stages of developing your Industry 4.0 strategy, this article might be for you because I will address four factors that will help you improve the success rate of your organization’s Smart Factory initiatives with MES Software:

1) Identify a manufacturing problem

History has shown us what happens when a company implements technology without an objective. As you can imagine, in these cases the results often fail. First, we must identify an on-going process related issue. When identifying such an issue, we always recommend to start with a small but meaningful challenge. This allows your team to begin research, identify some digital partners, interview them and challenge them with your issues. While working with them, develop mutual KIPs to measure and allow you to define the ROI the MES Software solution will present.

2) Data, Data and more Data!

Manufacturing data drives traceability. Many managers don’t understand the importance of collecting and storing data until they start a digitization project. Often times, soon into the project, they realize a significant problem: either they lack manufacturing transparency and traceability or what exists simply isn’t good enough to harness for improvement.

Consider this:

If Industry 4.0 is a fire, your data is the ignites and fuels it, MES Software is the water that manages it and your team are the firefighters directing it all.

Data collection with both quantity and quality are essential in your evolution. If you don’t have manufacturing transparency and traceability, you must re-draw your manufacturing digitization roadmap to make sure you can collect, store and manipulate the date so it can be used later. Some of the BEST MES Software can assist with this.

3) People and team work

As with any technological change, people often resist! Adapt to new tools and ways of working can often times lead to protest. There has been a suspicion by many employees that Industry 4.0 leads to loss of jobs. Most often, digitization efforts lead to additional employment and additional factory capacity. Recruit team members from every level early. Your team on the line have significant insight as to what could improve the process. Harness them during the investigation and road-mapping stages, you’ll be thankful you did later in the project. Harness a powerful MES System to empower your people.

4) Change management

Change management goes hand-in-hand with people and team work, any change in an organization brings with it a level of uncertainty. People may fear and naturally resist the adoption of MES Software and digitization initiatives. Communication with change management programs where managers are directly involved educating by effectively communicating the benefits they bring. Address the benefits at an individual and organizational level

5) Bonus — Gamification

Gamification — is a powerful tool!

While implementing a MES Software System for a client, we had a particular work cell that showed significant resistant to change. Not surprisingly, this was the first deployment in the plant. There was 1 ring leader (let’s call him Chad) who was the most vocal. We harnessed him by challenging him to keeping the work cell in the “Green Zone”. The “Green Zone” on the overhead screen meant the team was meeting their productions requirement rates. For the rest of the shift, the remained in acceptable levels.

Unexpected bonus… Chad challenged the other shift to try and keep up with them. Months later, Chad’s shift outperforms the other shift and the company uses Chad to on-board new team members. They are happy to now have an MES System they can deploy, manage and maintain.

MES Software SCADA and Industry 4.0 using VR
MES Software SCADA and Industry 4.0 using VR

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