MES Planning and Dispatching: how to optimize processes without compromising quality

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In a series of 5 Innovation Spotlight articles, AG solution goes beyond the buzzwords and explains how a digitization journey can be a way to solve very practical problems and challenges in your specific environment. In this edition, we focus on planning and dispatch.

MES is to manage and orchestrate all manufacturing activities, ensuring product quality.

But increasingly, organizations expect a detailed and comprehensive overview of production data, during and after production. This can only be achieved by connecting the MES system to all relevant data sources. A complex but worthwhile endeavor.

In theory, it’s not that hard to come up with an ideal plan. But in practice, you find yourself constrained by other business realities such as (not) timely delivery of goods or cost optimization.

These and other factors generate a consistent trade-off in planning between efficiency and delivery: you want production to start as soon as possible, but you also want to optimize production to minimize required service activities, such as cleaning and line configuration, and to reduce change. This requires a complete and up-to-date overview of all the necessary resources (human, heritage or material). In addition, you should be able to easily reallocate and recalculate these resources based on plant availability.

Once all the resources are available, you should send the production as soon as possible.

But very often this process is hampered by the slowness of the communication process (by telephone and other non-integrated means of communication) required to confirm this availability. In the meantime, you should make sure that all internal and external conditions are met (equipment cleaning, safety checks, etc.) before starting production. Failure to do so can create product defects, rework, or other major problems.

In addition, a lack of global vision and poor material management can lead to a very long stay of products in the warehouse or even a return of unused raw materials from the distribution area to the warehouse. This leads to higher inventory costs, which should be avoided at all times.

Accurate, detailed, up-to-date and integrated information is essential

Optimizing the planning and allocation processes for an ideal business result is a difficult task, it is now obvious. A permanent task, which can fortunately be simplified and supported by a reliable and integrated MES solution.

This solution should be able to calculate, among other things, production setup and processing time. It needs to be well integrated with other MES modules, for example, to obtain the information required to perform recipe-based calculations and predictions regarding resource availability. Integration with other systems, such as ERP software, helps plan production based on expected delivery of materials.

The solution must include an advanced planning function, which will plan the processes using real-time data and multiple plant constraints. Last but not least, it must present all the data in a friendly user interface, thus providing visibility in a complex environment.

Access to the scheduler can also be role-based, depending on the type of user, thus providing the user with the exact information they need at all times.

On the shipping side, the software must have an overview of the availability of products and materials, but also of the human resources required for production and the production lines, machines and other assets involved in production.

As stated above, he must know the composition of raw materials and finished products, as well as the recipe for producing them. This allows the system to detect potential shortages and to forecast and schedule production based on future resource availability.

MES Planning and Shippinging: a powerful optimization tool

With such an MES module at your fingertips, the optimization of planning and dispatching processes becomes much more powerful.

Based on precise timetables for the supply of raw materials and for the configuration of the machine, you can establish more precise and reliable plans and set realistic start and end dates for each work order. You can better calculate the cost of plans and assess the likelihood of achieving goals for each plan.

Based on the actual schedule, you can also improve the reliability of this assessment, by adjusting the processing time and other variables. And you can optimize the available lot based on comprehensive and detailed information about the entire manufacturing process.

In terms of dispatching, you can reduce cycle times by improving dispatching speed: a proactive next-step alert and advice system replaces the many calls and emails of the past, and digitally checks the availability of assets. taking into account the coded business rules. Account. The precise overview of all necessary materials gives you a good overview of the availability and real-time condition of the products. This not only shortens the time to market, but also increases the number of on-time deliveries.

Meanwhile, delivery timing improves, as the proactive system can dynamically calculate delivery times at each stage, and warn when theoretical delivery times will not be met according to standardized processing times. This will undoubtedly have a positive impact on your customer relationship as well.

All of the above contributes to profitability in various ways. In addition, the strict control and precise overview, combined with standardized and centrally managed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), significantly reduce the number of errors in the manufacturing process. Using an integrated MES module for planning and dispatch will pay for itself faster than you might imagine.

MES Planning and Dispatching is the second in a series of 5 articles illustrating how MES can contribute to your digitization strategy. In our next article, we’ll focus on product tracking and traceability.

Can’t wait to digitize your planning and shipping process? Contact us today and our experts will help you get started.

This content is sponsored by AG Solution.

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