By James Wood
Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are a valuable asset. Designed to empower operators and promote visibility into manufacturing operations, very often the solutions become complicated; instead of gaining value, the very people who should be benefitting become side-tracked. What data should be collected? When should it be reviewed? How long are we going to have to do this? Whose idea was this anyway?
Once these types of questions start to creep to the forefronts of users’ minds, the slow, inevitable decline of the efficacy of the solution intended to support their day-to-day work begins. The initial engagement and empowerment realized by the teams will ebb away, and it is like pushing a boulder uphill trying to re-energize staff to stay on the path to manufacturing greatness. Often solutions are seen as too complex, due to the apparent will to collect terabytes of data, falsely believing that data will drive enlightenment, leading to the often-heard phrase — “It’s only data unless you use it”.