For Manufacturing Execution System (MES) users, the most important new technologies are predictive analytics, cloud, smart connected devices, mobile and IoT with the important functionalities differing by the specific industry and applications. Many manufacturers are adding data to the cloud, but also keeping certain mission critical data on-site.
But ARC is seeing MES technology solutions addressing the cloud in addition to new cloud-only based MES solutions. The challenge is reliability, availability (speed and bandwidth), and legal issues that include security, bandwidth, latency and IP. Some manufacturers are getting around some of their issues by only using certain types of non-mission critical data in the cloud.
One important new initiative is the formation of brand new, completely cloud-based MES companies and they are being deployed quickly and at much less cost than traditional MES suppliers. ARC is certain that Cloud usage will continue to increase particularly in industries where it makes sense. Suppliers have also been embedding and integrating analytics within MES to improve product quality, uptime and manufacturing intelligence. Analytics can provide specific value and see patterns and correlations in the data that can lead to cost saving decisions. Manufacturing intelligence and analytics are also getting a lot of attention in the MES space, where users see a value in getting intelligence from their data for faster decision making.
ARC is seeing adaptive and predictive analytics being used to find patterns in the MES data and then send alerts or intelligence to the user. The predictive analytic models are used in operational processes to optimize processes and provide key insight and information for decision-making. In some cases the loop is closed where a machine is stopped for example. By being able to use the embedded intelligence generated by MES, users can predict abnormal behavior and discover hidden benefits in the process that can provide enormous competitive advantage. Analytics software can be used to determine how the process is progressing and predict if the product will meet specifications. Analytics are being embedded within the MES applications and providing differentiation by making it easier for descriptive, search, and predictive analysis. Newer analytic tools combined with faster processing power and cloud storage can dramatically improve the user’s ability to predict and prevent potential behaviour issues. The software can help manage assets and availability. It can determine issues with product quality during the process, after the process and for incoming raw materials. Incoming specifications can only reveal what is produced to specification; analytics can find other variations in raw materials.
Using these new tools, the manufacturing process will be more connected and smart , with intuitive software solutions that predict outcomes, anticipate needs, and provide tools to make fact-based, real-time decisions with speed and accuracy. Cloud based solutions and analytics integrated within MES solutions reduce manufacturing costs and increase value to users. MES is a nexus solution for the digital transformation.
About ARC Advisory Group (www.arcweb.com): Founded in 1986, ARC Advisory Group is a Boston based leading technology research and advisory firm for industry and infrastructure.
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About the Author:
Janice Abel is a principal consultant at ARC and lead analyst in the areas of enterprise manufacturing intelligence, manufacturing execution systems, operational analytics, batch management software, and operator training simulators.