Before you invest in a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) for your facility, think about how easy and efficient it will be implemented throughout your operation, as well as how long you will be working with your vendor. A successful system deployment strategy is dependent on much more than the product you choose. When evaluating an MES Software vendor’s service capabilities, you should consider several important factors.
The process of researching and selecting MES software requires careful consideration, and it’s essential to keep in mind that initial price and features are only a tiny percentage of the overall factors to consider. With that in mind, here are ten factors to think about while selecting an MES software provider.
Execution and Project Management
An adequately controlled, defined, structured, and implemented project plan is critical to the success or failure of enterprise-level system deployment. While an MES vendor needs to have established and documented methodologies and procedures, it’s also essential to customise those processes for each deployment.
In collaboration with the onsite deployment team, the project manager must execute tasks on time while also dealing with technical issues as they emerge. You’ll need a couple of specialists with the perfect combination of management, domain knowledge, and technical abilities to get the work done.
Customisation and configuration
Some MES systems are 95% “out of the box,” while others are created from the ground up for each project. Whatever approach you choose, the vendor must be dynamic and inventive to build and implement solutions for your specific needs or production equipment. High-quality designers and developers should understand how and why they created the product.
Training and Certification
Even a well-implemented MES system will eventually fail if users do not use it correctly and efficiently to accomplish their job tasks. Your MES partner should have defined programmes, curricula, and objective assessments in place.
They should also provide continuous initiatives that reward users for keeping updated on new features and functionalities as they are added or improved. Finally, your MES provider should be able to provide a range of training alternatives to fit your hectic schedules and budget.
When the deployment project is over, your connection with your MES vendor does not terminate. For years to come, you’ll rely on your MES partner for technical support, software upgrades, and system expansion. Make sure you’re familiar with your vendor’s support structure, including team number and availability, as well as guaranteed response times.
It’s also crucial to comprehend their pricing model and the frequency with which software updates and upgrades. You must have confidence that your vendor will be available when you require them.
Analytics and BI to Provide Necessary Reports
Look for an MES provider that offers analytics and business intelligence (BI) systems to handle large amounts of data. Forward-thinking MES providers provide advanced machine learning methods and assistance to obtain more insights from massive datasets.
Get Hands-on With What You’re Buying
While it’s common to show product demos, going beyond demos can give you a real feel of what it will be like to use the software.
You can use several tools to assess capabilities and establish confidence in the solution. Workshops, for example, are ideal when you and a software vendor need to share information in both directions or address specific concerns.
Proof Of Concept is another alternative to address a technical risk or uncertainty. It creates a piece of functionality to demonstrate that it is possible. You can also use a proof-of-concept to determine feasibility.
Furthermore, a hands-on evaluation and a brief trial can assist in determining the amount of user training, adoption friction, and change management strategies required.
Whatever the options are, nothing beats the hands-on experience with the product – it’s the only way you’ll get the actual perspective.
Ability to Easily Integrate
Every manufacturer must scale production throughout the supply chain, ERP, and CRM systems using a validated MES solution with proven integration and strategy. As new digital business models necessitate new suppliers, distribution channels, partners, and service providers, cloud integration solutions must be part of MES vendors’ integration technology.
Look for an MES provider with a track record of delivering intelligent, connected products or next-generation IIoT-enabled devices. Consider a product interface that you can customise to meet your company’s needs.
Be aware of the price of the software.
Because selecting your MES and automation platform will be a long-term investment, ensure that the pricing meets your budget.
You should have a strong knowledge of both present and future costs before investing in any software since this will impact your return on investment.
Is there a variable involved, and if so, does it correspond to your expectations? Is there a price for custom connectors, implementation, and other services? Asking for various pricing estimates, including the low end, high end, and the best bet, is also a solid technique you can undertake.
Flexibility and a step-by-step approach.
Because of the system’s potentially restricted capacity, each production has its specifics and goals to which we must adjust the MES rather than the other way around. It also implies that you can prioritise different functionalities differently. That is why, from both a functional and a line/plant standpoint, the ability to introduce modules gradually is critical.
Expertise and practical experience
The MES system’s implementation requires interdisciplinary knowledge of automation and manufacturing information technology and substantial familiarity with manufacturing processes. Good industrial practices guarantee that the system is implemented efficiently and successfully.
Consider the MES vendor’s quality and experience while selecting an MES system. While the MES software itself is critical, the MES solution you choose will significantly impact your long-term success. Selecting the best MES provides you with the data and insights you need to excel and stand out in the markets you compete in daily.
Author: Mergen Pillay
Mergen Pillay, Founder and CEO of FactoryWorx is a manufacturing technology leader and entrepreneur. Passionate about facilitating his clients’ success through technology, he brings an important extra dimension to his innovative technology solutions: a deep understanding of a broader business context and the human factor of manufacturing.