The MES role in manufacturing technology
As a quality professional involved in the world of manufacturing, you are likely already aware that MES stands for manufacturing execution system. These systems are used to monitor and control the work currently in progress on the floor of a factory. These systems receive data constantly from employees, monitors and even robots. Read more about the MES role in manufacturing technology.
Understanding Manufacturing Execution Systems
MES can work by itself in the form of a self-contained system or along with enterprise resource planning. No matter the form of the manufacturing execution system, its primary goal is improving productivity by reducing the time required for a production cycle.
New Expert Analyses From LNS Research
In their most recent analyses, the experts at LNS Research examined the security of MES along with manufacturing operations in general. Their research indicates that distributed MES solutions tend to be more agile, particularly when based on IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) platforms.
LNS Research found that older MES solutions and other systems used for manufacturing are highly insecure. The biggest target is older Windows systems, which do not receive security updates. A company that still uses Windows XP, for example, will not be able to take advantage of the security enhancements found in more recent versions, leaving them open to threats. Unfortunately, many businesses still use these outdated systems.
Instead of updating programs, these companies will design systems to fulfill specific roles and then leave them be until they stop working, sometimes years later. During this time, no maintenance may be done, leaving systems exposed to hackers. Moving from older systems to MES helps to prevent these threats as IIoT always includes security protocols.
Most Manufacturing Enterprises Do Not Have MES
Despite the importance of MES for both security and workflow management in manufacturing, very few manufacturing enterprises utilize it. Currently, 80 percent of factories do not use MES systems. As such, they are not taking advantage of the advanced security measures these systems provide.
How MES Is Evolving Alongside EQMS
Just like other manufacturing solutions, MES is constantly evolving. The same can be said of Enterprise Quality Management Software (EQMS). As both types of software perform similar functions in different roles (manufacturing and enterprises, respectively), they can grow with each other.
Completely cloud based MES solutions began arriving in 2016, representing a significant step forward in these systems. As this occurs, companies are working to select the proper platform for their business. In fact, many companies are moving from Microsoft to Azure, including those who previously used Microsoft for MES environments, programming, and more. Others use multiple platforms at once or simply select another platform entirely.
Challenges Moving Forward
With the advances in MES and other technologies related to manufacturing and management, the potential challenges should not be ignored. Choosing the wrong group of MES, ERP, and automation vendors while opting for a strategy based on the cloud may limit your business to the vendors’ own proprietary systems. Alternatively, choosing automation involving multiple vendors requires great care. The systems must all be capable of coordination with each other, and any failure to do so may hinder production.
There are additional challenges associated with investing in IIoT, including receiving sufficient funding, meeting standards, creating a business case, ensuring security, and understanding the role of IIoT in your particular organization.
To prepare for the future, manufacturers must have their plan in place, particularly one that includes MES & EQMS. Without an understanding of the current technology and the future directions of production, they will be at a disadvantage.