What is a Manufacturing Execution System?

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What is a Manufacturing Execution System?

A Manufacturing Execution System (MES software) is computerized software that lets you see real time what’s happening on your production floor. This information ranges from status of all orders, performance to targets, current production bottlenecks, production problems, open defects and more. MES software are categorized as level 3 systems according to ISA-95 standards (ERP systems would be considered level 4). Unlike other work instruction software, VisualFactory has many MES software functionalities, but unlike other MES software it also has the added benefit of producing interactive paperless work instructions. MES software are a key tool used in business process management or  BPM.

What is Visual Work Instruction Software?

Visual work instruction software solutions help companies achieve standard work by presenting the employees with the information they need to know when they need to know it. Some visual work instruction software only present the information to the employees in a visual format, but do not capture production information or give you live visibility to your production floor. VisualFactory presents this information in a way that is easy to understand and allows the employees to interact with the instructions in a way that captures all the necessary production information.

What is ISA-95?

ISA-95 is an international standard that defines the interface between enterprise and control systems. ISA-95 defines the following 5 levels

  • Level 5 Enterprise Planning: This would be higher level / strategic and product life cycle planning…
    • Time Frame: Months to years
  • Level 4 Business Planning: ERP software, material requirement planning, resource planning, rough cut capacity planning…
    • Time Frame: Months, weeks or days.
  • Level 3 Operations: MES software, live status of production, live performance to target, status of problems…
    • Time Frame: Hours, minutes, seconds
  • Level 2 Control and monitoring or processes: Automated control of production processes
    • Time Frame: Seconds
  • Level 1 Testing and Instrumentation: Sensors, PLC, automation
    • Time Frame: Milliseconds
  • Level 0 Actual production process: The production process itself

What problems does an MES help solve?

Manufacturing Execution Systems or MES Systems help solve on of the most neglected problems in all of Manufacturing, it reduces the waste in your information flow. Several manufacturing companies understand lean manufacturing principles, but many only apply these principles to processes that they can touch and feel on the production floor. Ask yourself the 3 following questions:

  1. Does every employee on my production floor have all the material they need to do their job?
  2. Does every employee on my production floor know “What” they need to build or assemble?
  3. Does every employee on my production floor know “How” to assembly that product?

Properly utilizing the tools of an MES system, will allow you to answer yes to all these questions. How much will that affect your productivity?

How can an MES system help my management team?

The power of live data, will help your management team by providing them the following information:

  1. Visually showing all the problems are currently preventing production workers from completing their work.
  2. Visually showing current performance to target.
  3. Visually showing all costing, quality and delivery measurements.
  4. Visually showing performance to the standard.
  5. Capturing all critical inspection data.

Where can YMB Consulting sell and implement VisualFactory?

YMB Consulting can implement VisualFactory anywhere in North America, since the software is very user friendly minimal training and very little travel is required. We can travel and train onsite if necessary, but cost can be minimized but utilizing interactive web training sessions. In the case where your company needs to convert several work instructions from word into VisualFactory, YMB Consulting can assist and migrate these all into VisualFactory for you.

Can I do a trail of VisualFactory before I buy it?

Since VisualFactory can be purchased or offered as SaaS (Software as a Service), you can rent a few licenses of VisualFactory for a few months and conduct a pilot on your production floor. YMB Consulting will still need to train your company on how to use the software, but this option can be very attractive for several companies.

Won’t Visual work instructions only be necessary to train employees?

One of the largest problems with the way work instructions are currently being written, is that they are too detailed for day to day use and have been written to train employees. VisualFactory allows you to flag steps as “Training Steps”, which can be turned off after an employee has passed the learning curve. The steps that are left can be limited to inspection steps and more critical assembly points.

What size does a company need to be to use VisualFactory?

The size of a company does not matter. If your company uses traditional word based work instructions and struggle to get your staff to read / follow these work instructions and you want to automate your business processes through your BPM initiative, then you are an ideal candidate for VisualFactory. Unlike other MES systems, VisualFactory is very scalable, making the system viable for small manufacturing plants as well as large corporations.

We have very large products and not bench assemblies, how can we use VisualFactory?

VisualFactory is currently being used by many companies who build large products, these customers typically use IPads or other type of tablets instead of using desktop computers.

Do I need to download any software to see a demo of VisualFactory?

There are no download necessaries to see a demo of VisualFactory, simply enter your information on our Contact Page  and we will contact you to schedule an online demo of the software. The demo is an interactive web meeting, so you can ask as many questions as you can about the features of VisualFactory as you want. The software is hosted on your server and secured within your company’s firewall, but accessible from anywhere by whoever has VPN access to your network.

What type of visual work instruction software is VisualFactory?

Visual work instruction software allows the operator to get all the information they need when they need it, VisualFactory works like a GPS for manufacturing walking the operator step by step through the process. Since visual factory uses lots of pictures and standardizes production terms, it requires the use of very few words which simplify communication of instructions to the operator.

What type of Manufacturing Execution System functionality does VisualFactory have?

Unlike other work instruction software, VisualFactory has several other Manufacturing Execution System software functionalities, these include:

  • Showing live production status of all your work centres
  • Showing live status of performance to targets
  • Managing all production problems and documenting their history
  • Documenting the calibration of all critical tooling and preventing them from being used if they are out of calibration
  • Documenting all critical serial numbers
  • Documenting all inspection steps and inspection measurements
  • Ensuring that only certified employees are able to do critical task
  • Record all assembly times down to every step of the process
  • Ensures that the proper rework instruction is used during when there are defects to rework
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