Why Your MES Struggles
EP Editorial Staff | July 20, 2020
MES (manufacturing execution systems) can significantly benefit your company, but implementation may be somewhat overwhelming. Here are some factors to consider when setting up an MES or to help you troubleshoot an existing system.
By Grzegorz Fura, Andea
Difficulty defining requirements
Accurately defining solution requirements is vital. In most cases, mistakes, surprises, bugs, or problematic issues faced during the project result from not properly defining requirements during setup. This stage demands involvement from management, key project personnel, and SMEs (subject-matter experts). SME involvement is crucial.
Insufficient involvement from internal teams
A program or a new solution that will change work methods will fail if people do not have a voice in how it is implemented. People will only buy-in, help, and use your system if they helped implement it or at least provided feedback that was taken into consideration.
Missing master data before a go-live
One of the most critical and often ignored facets of MES implementations is the master data that drive the system. Its importance is often downplayed because setting it up takes time. Without a final and complete set of master data, you cannot have a successful go-live.
Project is over budget, behind schedule
Very often, companies estimate a project budget without a clear list of requirements. That is because the executive team needs these estimates to determine whether the project will be approved. These early estimates then end up being the actual budget for the project. As the project goes on, adjustments or new requirements will inevitably come up, and they might not be within the forecasted budget. If possible, do not finalize your budget and timeline before defining the final scope.
Rollouts are not as easy as expected
Just because you went live with the solution at one site does not mean that you know how to roll it out. Planning rollouts that were not considered in the MES implementation strategy from the beginning is asking for trouble. A thoughtful deployment needs to be conducted with the people from the plant and should include developing global process templates and double-checking site requirements.
Too many bugs after go-live
The reason behind technical breakdowns and bugs is often the same: lack of proper requirements from specialists. Typically, their know-how and experience could have helped avoid this glitch, but no one asked.
Low user adoption
Your system is user friendly, meets all the functional requirements, and the implementation went smoothly, but your employees are not using it. Primary reasons are lack of knowledge about the solution, a non-intuitive interface, or lack of involvement in the process. Make sure you have project sponsors who can promote the solution and ensure there is employee buy-in. EP
Grzegorz Fura is Vice President of Services and Co-Founder at Andea (andea.com), and MES consultancy. The company’s U.S. location is Brea, CA. For more MES implementation help, download an e-book from Andea here.