25 Aug Mobile meets MES: Increasing functionality
For the medical device manufacturing industry, perhaps the most important goal is to maintain quality throughout the production stage. No matter the size of the manufacturing operation, quality is always the key to pleasing current customers and obtaining new ones.
Jason Knight, a senior manager of quality engineering at Kinetic Concepts Inc. and contributing author for Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry, said the more importance placed on quality, the more likely a manufacturer will save on repeated field failures, product malfunctions and recalls.
These errors can add up in the form of significant costs for manufacturers, especially those that would be considered a small- to medium-sized business. For these companies, every dollar is crucial to the overall operation. That’s why not only quality, but efficiency and compliance as well are critical to the industry.
This has the majority of those in the medical device industry moving away from paper record-keeping strategies and toward automated systems such as manufacturing execution system software. Through this software, manufacturers are able to eliminate paper record errors, avoid time-consuming reviews and catch mistakes before they occur, Knight added.
MES improves component traceability, which makes it easier to access product and process data. This drastically helps in reducing downtime due to product malfunctions or errors in the manufacturing process. For these businesses, time is of the essence, and each lost second is another lost dollar.
Adopting an affordable solution
While medical device manufacturers can benefit from MES software, for most SMB-level manufacturers, this tool is too costly. Implementing these systems typically takes a team of trained IT professionals to operate and keep the software in working order.
However, systems have actually now been able to be moved to the cloud. Once MES is in the cloud, operators can quickly cut the costs associated with running legacy MES software by relying on an outsourced IT team, instead of hiring internally.
Scaling MES across your facility
One of the major benefits of adopting a cloud-based MES platform is that it is easy to scale across the facility, LNS Research reported. Cloud-based systems can be operated on a mobile device, which increases the functionality of a manufacturer’s facility.
From an information facilitation standpoint, adopting a mobile platform allows the manufacturer to collaborate and communicate through the Web, which increases efficiency, productivity and quality, according to American Express’s OPEN Insight: Running Your Business in the Cloud.
Whether the manufacturer needs to scale mobility across the facility, business group or enterprise, cloud-based MES gives the company better visibility through mobile control. Manufacturers simply want to increase the accuracy of their decision-making process. With a mobile workforce, the operational quality increases, making time-sensitive decisions easier.
When a medical device manufacturer in particular plans to adopt MES software, the process can take time to become fully automated. For smaller manufacturers, this downtime could be detrimental.
“Software life-cycle costs are limited through a cloud product implementation.”
On the other hand, choosing MES in the cloud could have you connected much faster. Cloud-based MES platforms are much simpler to implement into manufacturing facilities. Additionally, software lifecycle costs are limited through a cloud product implementation.
Through standard MES, the implementation process typically takes place in phases. All important departments have to work together to limit productivity disturbances so the implementation can work with cross-functional parties involved.
However, getting together a manufacturer’s IT department, quality management team and other key departments could take time. By adopting a cloud-based solution, the manufacturer can choose which mobile device they plan to operate from so there’s not a hiccup in the production or quality.
There are true benefits to going to the cloud that can save manufacturers time and money.
19 Aug 5 challenges imposed on small- to medium-sized manufacturers
There are plenty of obstacles small- to medium-sized manufacturers must face today. Technology has made manufacturers more efficient now than ever before, which unfortunately means downtime costs companies even more than it used to.
However, the manufacturing industry is not one to simply lie down and accept this as fact. Instead, this sector continues to succeed through quickly implemented changes. Being adaptable is absolutely necessary to stay competitive and thriving in the industry. That is why it is important to know the challenges ahead, so operational managers and technology officers can be ready for the future.
Here are five challenges small- to medium-sized manufacturers should especially prepare for in future:
1. Equipment maintenance scheduling
For manufacturers, it’s important to stay consistent with scheduled maintenance. Cleaning, fixing, upgrading and other maintenance tasks create downtime sometimes, but they must be done.
If you let equipment go untreated, you run the risk of a much bigger problem, Glantus, a custom-built software firm for management services, reported. For smaller manufacturers, this could be detrimental to the business. This is why it’s important to stay up to date with maintenance – otherwise, you could create mistakes that will directly affect your bottom line.
Even though staying updated on maintenance is challenging, having the tools to monitor your system will prevent additional downtime.
2. Limit spending
One of the biggest hurdles for manufacturers is staying cost-efficient throughout their operation. Unlike larger manufacturers, small- and medium-sized companies typically don’t have the luxury to invest in high-end manufacturing execution systems. Instead, smaller businesses have to be cost-effective with their investments to ensure there will be a good return on investment.
3. Obtaining trained and skilled workers
For manufacturers, it can be challenging finding workers who know how to operate information technology systems and repair expensive machinery. When manufacturers adopt MES into their business, the need for a highly-talented IT department is great. According to a report from National Instruments, a few seconds of downtime in the IT infrastructure can relate to serious issues.
“When dealing with precision machines that can fail if timing is off by a millisecond, adhering to strict requirements becomes pivotal to the health and safety of the machine operators, the machines and the business,” the firm stated.
However, moving to a robust MES-in-the-cloud solution limits the risk of needing internal IT workers since maintenance reports and IT updates are performed remotely, and often by a third-party provider. This will help you keep your costs low and drive efficiency throughout your manufacturing facility without compromising quality.
“Through cloud-based MES, manufacturers have end-to-end service that ensures software is carefully integrated.”
4. Adopting big data management practices
Every manufacturing facility consists of a large amount of data, which can be overwhelming for some operators. Tom Bonine, president of National Metal Fabricators and contributing writer to Manufacturing.net, said if companies want to make more sense of all this data and use it effectively, data management must be a priority.
Controlling large amounts of data all at once can be distressing for smaller manufacturers at first. However, this data plays a critical role in remaining cost-effective and competitive. Using MES in the cloud provides manufacturers with a big data management solution by enabling them to team up with a trusted professional.
5. Using data in real time
Not only should manufacturers adopt big data management, but operators also need a MES that responds in real time. That’s why working in the cloud with Atachi Systems is beneficial to your IT integration. Through cloud-based MES, manufacturers have end-to-end service that ensures software is carefully integrated. Additionally, Atachi professionals will help consult and educate workers so real-time data can be used in the best way possible.
19 Aug 5 reasons to move your MES to the cloud
Small- to medium-sized businesses know the importance of keeping operations cost-effective. Whether your company is just getting started or has been in the game for years, improving your manufacturing operations is essential.
However, the challenge many people have with this notion is keeping new manufacturing processes lucrative without investing every last dime into technology. One area continuing to expand for facility operators and owners is manufacturing execution systems. More often than not, manufacturers are at least exploring the idea of how MES-based software can improve the quality of their operations. On the other hand, remaining affordable can be a serious hurdle to jump for SMBs.
This has many SMB manufacturers looking at cloud-based MES software. In many ways, working in the cloud has its benefits over standard MES software. In particular, this sophisticated system can run from anywhere and provide real-time data.
Here are five more reasons to move your MES to the cloud:
1. Consistent at a high level
SMBs tend to struggle with maintaining delivery of high quality products. Additionally, it’s even more difficult to perform these operations at a fast pace. It’s up to manufacturers to use their materials in the most effective way to drive productivity, Solutions PT reported.
“Cloud-based MES solutions drive higher and more consistent quality products.”
While this can be a challenge, cloud-based MES solutions drive higher and more consistent quality products. With real-time data, businesses are able to make in-the-moment adjustments to improve manufacturing processes. This will limit faulty or deformed products in your facility.
2. Increase flexibility
In today’s manufacturing world, it pays to be flexible in your manufacturing facility. Through MES in the cloud, you’re able to improve quality and increase visibility in your day-to-day operations. This ultimately helps you reduce costs with remote access and data processing.
Working in the cloud makes it easier for facility operators to use the data to improve manufacturing operations. Simply put, you won’t have to rely on large investments in information technology by working with an MES partner who can access, troubleshoot and assist you with all your data. This gives you more flexibility with your payroll.
3. Maintain security
Most believe traditional IT systems are the best at keeping data safe and secure. Additionally, there are a lot of misconceptions about storing data in the cloud. Sue Poremba, a contributor for Forbes, interviewed JP Morgenthal, director for Perficient, a technology and management consulting firm, about the false impressions of cloud-based software. Morgenthal said while many can publicly access the cloud, it doesn’t mean your specific firm’s infrastructure is easily breachable.
“The subsequent part of this that holds some truth is that there are not as many trained professionals with skills on how to secure cloud applications and, thus, there is a greater likelihood of a mistake in the configuration of a cloud environment,” said Morgenthal. “These mistakes are a lot more difficult to make in a private data center.”
4. Remain compliant
Compliance is another tricky task for SMBs with the number of government and industry regulations increasing. With the help of a cloud-based MES partner, you’re ensured to be up-to-date on new regulations in the manufacturing industry. MES in the cloud allows manufacturers to produce higher quality products while maintaining compliance and regulatory updates.
5. Prepared for the future
While there are numerous instant benefits to adopting your MES into the cloud, the system also helps you prepare for the future, LNS Research reported. With new trends in the market and additional software being released each year, you know you’ll be fully up to date by investing in the cloud. With the cloud, you can start a free trail to see how well MES can work for you.
11 Aug Improve manufacturing performance with MES
In today’s technological age, there are numerous devices that are crucial for manufacturers. However, it’s important to know which of these tools will help you in every aspect of your manufacturing business. The main challenge is learning how to optimize technology into your workforce and how to improve your overall manufacturing performance.
One of the more logical ways to approach manufacturing performance dilemmas is through manufacturing execution system technology. MES platforms continue to evolve, work faster and more efficiently to keep your business competitive. For most manufacturing facilities, information technology officers have likely at least considered the addition of MES. However, many operators and CIOs worry about the costs that come with these highly technical systems.
For small- to mid-sized manufacturing businesses, investing in MES might seem unattainable, but technology has advanced enough to make these tools more affordable through cloud-based systems. By working in the cloud, manufacturing facilities can streamline operations and worry less about storing critical data.
A significant challenge for manufacturing facilities is being able to monitor performance and production units or sites from any location. This process usually needs an engineer to log in through a virtual private network or some sort of access protocol to troubleshoot issues and to monitor performance.
This can be a time-consuming process, which could cause downtime in your manufacturing facility. Instead, implementing cloud-based MES technology removes the need for VPNs and gives you real time information on production and performance. The system also alerts you on any issues that could be affecting equipment.
According to PPI magazine, manufacturers should focus on total plant efficiency and optimization strategies. This will help limit inventory levels of raw and intermediate materials, as well as finished goods. Adopting MES into your facility will provide solutions for these issues by expanding productivity, increasing efficiency and by reacting faster to meet the ever-changing needs of all your customers.
With the current economic climate, manufacturers are practically required to perform all of these tasks in the most efficient way possible. This can put a lot of strain on your business strategy, but this is exactly where MES comes into your business.
“MES has the ability to directly contribute to your quality by having the hard data to back up your decisions.”
Investing in quality
According to ATOS, an international IT services firm, it’s significantly more difficult to earn money than to spend it, which makes cost control essential. However, investing in an MES will drastically improve manufacturing performance by cutting down on errors, insufficient use of materials, downtime and other expensive miscalculations.
For small- to medium-sized manufacturers, quality has to be one of the primary goals as it is the biggest way to control your brand and reputation, the source reported. MES has the ability to directly contribute to your quality by having the hard data to back up your decisions. Using this thorough technology allows you to answer you most challenging manufacturing operations with data.
MES allows facility operators to store transactional data and test and process the information to provide more insights on how to streamline or improve overall performance. Quality is crucial in the manufacturing industry and using helpful data from MES technology will make sure you’re performing at maximum production efficiency.
ROI and the future
Manufacturers should always be thinking ahead to the future. This makes decisions on major investments a challenge because businesses don’t want to put their money into something that won’t be worthwhile in the future.
Being cost-effective is a great quality for CIOs, but sometimes it takes an investment to improve quality. Taking on MES is one of the best ways for you look to the future for your company. Like any IT system, you have to know what features will impact you the most and provide the best ROI. This is why so many manufacturers are investing in the cloud and MES protocols to improve their manufacturing performance.