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.