MES solutions are becoming essential to manage and process data in today’s food industry landscape of ever-increasing demands. While the advantages can be enormous, thorough planning is vital for a successful implementation process.
Planning and partnerships are everything
Implementing a food processing MES solution can have tremendous benefits for your organization, but careful planning is needed to ensure that it provides the results you want.
What is an MES and how can it benefit food producers?
A manufacturing execution system (MES) is used to measure, manage, and control critical plant floor and production activities in real-time, serving as a bridge between the plant floor and the rest of the organization.
A successful food processing MES solution enables food producers to manage and respond swiftly and appropriately to changing conditions, with tangible benefits including:
- Full real-time visibility of the whole operation and supply chain
- Improved throughput without major investment in equipment
- Improved overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and uptime
- Improved yield and margins
- Improved quality assurance and food safety
- Reduction in rejects, waste, and giveaway
- Effective management of inventory, WIP, and final goods
- Full end-to-end traceability
In this article, we explore the most important considerations when choosing and implementing an MES solution, and how a close partnership with your solution provider can ensure your company reaps the fullest benefits.
Want to learn more about how an MES solution can benefit your business? Our consultants are ready to advise you, with no strings attached.
The top four considerations for a successful MES implementation
The key to a successful MES implementation is to comprehensively plan the entire process from start to finish, with a special focus on the four following considerations.
An MES solution can deliver its maximum value by providing a vertically integrated architecture across your organization.
You can help to ensure total integration in ways such as:
- Ensuring a successful flow and sharing of information by integrating all the various systems and data sources (islands of information) that make up your organization.
- Natively integrating the systems that control your manufacturing operations with each other.
- Ensuring that these systems can seamlessly retrieve and provide information to and from your organization’s financial system (ERP).
Achieving a high level of buy-in
Once your company has chosen an MES solution, it’s imperative to get everyone to buy in to the project and work together to enact the necessary changes. Your team needs to understand the MES solution as a tool to facilitate improvement as opposed to a tool simply used to measure operator performance.
Your management team can encourage buy-in by:
- Training and sharing information to educate and prepare your staff for the changes.
- Having a range of operators test the MES solution during the implementation process. This also provides useful feedback that will help the implementation team tailor the best possible solution.
Implementing an MES solution will affect your entire organization, its information flow, and its processes. This is why you must have a formalized change management plan to help your staff adapt and address any issues that may arise.
Steps towards effective change management include:
- Setting up a team with stakeholders from each affected department in order to determine your change management plan.
- Continuing staff training and preparation. Your staff need to understand the upcoming changes and how to respond to them effectively.
Implementation time frame
While it may seem appealing to complete the MES project as quickly as possible, your chances of success actually increase in proportion to how much time you spend on it.
You can help to ensure a suitable time frame by:
- Completing the implementation in phases.
- Ensuring that your company’s implementation team works with the solution provider to determine and plan out the schedule.
Understanding the role of your solution provider
A good MES solution provider will serve not only as a vendor but as an ongoing partner. It will provide the expertise your company needs to make sure that the implementation process runs smoothly and that your MES delivers the desired results.
However, the solution provider cannot be solely responsible for execution as the stakeholders within your organization also need to contribute. Both parties bring necessary skills and knowledge to the project, so collaboration is essential.
You can help to ensure a successful partnership by:
- Selecting a highly experienced MES solution provider that understands your business and can help provide the necessary training and education for your team.
- Working in close collaboration with your MES provider. Your success depends on effective teamwork.
How can you ensure a successful MES installation?
While each installation has its own unique needs and characteristics, there are two key issues that every company must address.
Define your goals
Before anything else, your company must define precisely what it intends to achieve by implementing a food processing MES solution. These objectives will shape every step of your MES implementation process, and it helps if they form part of a larger business improvement strategy such as continuous improvement, lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, reliability-centered maintenance (RCM), etc.
Choose your solution provider carefully
Your MES solution provider should be your full partner throughout your MES journey. It is therefore crucial to select the right solution provider based upon their experience in the food processing industry, technology, and understanding of the end users’ objectives and business processes.
There are also substantial benefits to selecting a company that can provide a complete array of services as opposed to merely software. Such solution providers can ensure that you can expand your MES solution to your entire enterprise without redevelopment and with a low total cost of ownership. Good solution providers can also provide training as required.
Marel has all the MES software and services you need and more
With over 30 years of experience in delivering systems to our customers worldwide, Marel’s Innova software experts bring the practical experience, technology, and professional services you need to secure a successful MES journey. From the first steps of planning to longterm expansion, we want your company to get the maximum benefits from your Innova Food Processing Software and will work in close partnership to help you achieve your most ambitious goals.
Our Innova manufacturing execution system (MES) software links together processes for internal logistics (packing and warehousing), planning and optimization, performance management, and quality management. Innova MES software provides tracking and monitoring of every aspect of your processes, from ingredient measurement to production reports. By tying it all together in detailed analysis, our MES software ensures product flow tracking and full traceability during production.