The Future of MES is an Applications Platform like Fuuz

Like ERP, Manufacturing Execution Systems have been around for decades. The purpose of MES is to capture and share data to and from the shop floor. But even the best MES software systems can perform better on an applications platform.

MES delivers a continuous focus on data integrity and user adoption. But during a time when skilled manufacturing labor shortages are at an all-time high, it also introduces more training and more activity that takes workers away from making the product.

The Problem with Point Solutions

Some manufacturers have been reluctant to adopt new technology like an applications platform. It’s not surprising given the complicated manufacturing technology environment; MES, ERP, point solutions and bolt-ons. Frustrated by complicated, cobbled together solutions, manufacturers return to whiteboards and manual workarounds, adding another layer of complexity to plant floor processes.

The Cost of Failing to Meet Customer Demand

At the same time, many manufacturers struggle to meet customer demand. They try to remedy the situation by throwing more people at the problem. But given trained labor shortages, human error can neutralize any progress toward meeting customer demand.

So, what do manufacturers do? They install more sensors, put documented training programs in place, install poka-yokes, or set up more machine guarding. Essentially, it’s one band-aid solution on top of another.

A Deeper Look at a Common Manufacturing Problem, Mislabeled Product

We see it all the time in manufacturing: mislabeled product.

This scenario describes just one of the many issues that manufacturing companies face every day. As the company grows, none of these solutions is ever reviewed, and worse yet, the IT team members that developed it have moved on.

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The production coordinator prints a stack of labels, gives them to the supervisor who then assigns them to the operators on the line. The operators have two or three stacks of labels with multiple changeovers per day – human errors happen.

The manufacturer decides on a home-grown scanning solution on the line. The IT department spends the next three months building a rudimentary scanning solution, to ensure that the labels never get mixed up again.

Unfortunately, all the manufacturer has really accomplished is adding more time and cost to the process and a solution that only incrementally reduces the potential for the mislabeling to occur again in the future.

Six months later, another customer complaint comes in about mislabeled product.

The solution? Implement another scanning process on the dock, and a final audit process is born. The company commissions IT to go build another home-grown solution.

Three months later, it’s live, and the company has added 20% more labor to the shipping process.

Sound familiar?

Time for a New ERP and MES?

Some companies decide that the solution to eliminate extra manual effort is a new ERP or MES.

A new system sounds like a great idea. And initially it probably does help reduce the number of band-aid solutions that have been put in place over the years.

Unfortunately, companies often end up introducing new problems created by the new software—which needs its own set of new band-aids. We looked at software evaluation projects and included tips and recommendations in our recent blog What is Wrong with Software Evaluation?

Why the Future of MES is a Smart Factory Automation System

We believe that MES will evolve beyond its traditional use of work orders being presented to the floor, operators badging in and tracking production to earn labels.

MES will become a Smart Factory Automation System, the next step in manufacturing’s evolution. We’re talking about automation of the entire production and manufacturing chain—from industrial equipment to the universe of data that is available to capture and use. 

MES becomes a point of entry to something much more effective—a platform environment that’s data-driven, with the ability to connect to other systems, streamline data flow, and add machine learning workflows to drive and accelerate decision making.

MES on the Fuuz platform becomes part of a connected ecosystem. And this connectivity raises its value beyond the traditional use as a machine monitoring app. MES on a platform is part of an extended family of business and plant floor software and rapidly deployed applications. For example, we have customers using Fuuz to fully automate their production scheduling processes. 

Manufacturing

The Future of Manufacturing is the Fuuz Applications Platform

The future of manufacturing must be more automated. With Fuuz, manufacturers can achieve this by eliminating an over-dependence on training, attendance and band-aid solutions.

The Fuuz platform delivers a data-driven environment because it:

Optimizes a connected enterprise with event-driven architecture

Leads to the eventual elimination of other interfaces

Leverages the connected enterprise

A Connected Enterprise: Event Driven Architecture

The objective of the Fuuz platform is to simplify the Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) environment. The platform architecture is event-driven, which means events trigger other events. These events are created by a machine, based on customer schedules, changes in supply, or changes in staffing, and the system creates events to cause other changes, like a production schedule.

Manufacturers can use the connectedness of Fuuz to drive business forward, for example:

Fuuz can connect time clocks or even the HR department’s phone system to automatically update staffing shortages.

Fuuz can connect to EDI or CRM systems to evaluate changes in customer demand.

Eliminate the Interface with Fuuz

In many product demos, our prospects are intrigued by the Fuuz user interface and how intuitive it is. Many software packages have intuitive and unique interfaces, but that’s not really what we’re selling. We’re selling the ability for your company to eliminate the interface altogether.

Imagine this: 

Update production schedules and supply orders in real time based on news trends or social media or even the stock market.

Enable planners and buyers to conduct analyses instead of pushing paper to impact your business in a real way that affects your bottom line.

Revise pricing on the customer and supplier side based on changes in the metal markets—without human interaction.

Send out new POs to suppliers for approval, updating invoices to customers or issuing credits as required—automatically.

We already have customers doing this. And we’re saving them millions of dollars per year by automating cumbersome, time consuming and labor-intensive manual processes

Fuuz Delivers the Future of MES and Manufacturing

Our mission at MFGx is to provide our customers with a platform that generates real value—value that can be measured by more time spent making quality products with more dollars back into the pockets of our customers

Getting value from software, in my opinion, means never having to replace that software with something else, and never having to bolt something else on to make things work.

This is the promise of the Fuuz platform and the value it brings to our customers all over the world.

Contact us today to get started.

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About the Author

Craig Scott is the Founder and CEO of MFGx and the applications platform Fuuz™. Over the past 20 years, Craig has identified problems in manufacturing and created companies and solutions to solve them. You can follow Craig on LinkedIn for more straight talk and sound advice.

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Fuuz, from MFGx, is a no–code, low–code, pro–code applications platform that delivers Industry 4.0 to manufacturing businesses across industries. With rapid deployment of stand–alone apps and connectors to existing software, businesses can capture data, connect processes, people and machines — all in a single platform ecosystem.

Get in touch. We’re here to help.