You need to look no further than your local supermarket to see one of the most ubiquitous trends in manufacturing on display. More product varieties are available – and an increasing number of companies offer seasonal options to celebrate every holiday, from New Year’s Day to Easter.
And of course, we’ve all come to expect personalized options when shopping online – whether it’s for golf balls, running shoes or coated chocolate candies.
More SKUs and customized products place new demands on Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) manufacturers to achieve extraordinary flexibility at extraordinary speed. But if you’re in the CPG industry, you know that creating a more responsive operation is just part of the equation.
To remain competitive, you must also build a more effective supply chain that can maximize yield and reduce waste – from raw materials to finished goods. A manufacturing execution system (MES) can take you one step closer to achieving these goals.
Replace Assumptions with Insight-based Decisions
When you rely on a paper-based system, spreadsheets – or even an ERP system – to track materials through your supply chain, your access to information is limited. These methods simply cannot deliver the granular, plant-floor information you need to make production decisions efficiently.
So what happens when there’s a raw material delivery delay or a plant floor disruption – like an equipment failure? How do you keep orders on track?
Chances are, you consult with plant personnel to make the best decision you can regarding how to reroute production. But because you have limited visibility into your process, you must rely heavily on your workers’ experiences. “What if” scenarios, assumptions – and best guesses – regarding equipment availability and impact to the schedule are all part of the process.
An MES changes this equation. The core functionality of an MES is centered on the supply chain and production management. And the beauty of the system is its ability to effectively communicate with both the ERP and plant-level control systems in real time.
The MES brings an order into production, orchestrates the manufacturing process, and tracks the order as it moves through the system. It can show you exactly where an order is in the process, track raw material consumptions – and report back up to the ERP level.
But an MES that’s tightly tied to the automation layer can do much more. The system leverages the smart technology on the plant floor to continuously monitor and act upon a wide range of key performance indicators (KPIs), including machine readiness – which encompasses cleaning, previous order completion and material delivery systems.
The result? Better visibility to critical information you can quickly assess. And better, faster production decisions.
Reduce Waste. Decrease Inventory Levels
Everyone plans to use raw materials efficiently, but we all know that plant floor scenarios are dynamic. One key to minimizing waste is choosing the best way to route perishable ingredients – like milk – through a production facility.
Using an MES to track raw material lots and work-in-progress (WIP) inventories in real time can optimize raw material usage – and have a dramatic impact on your inventory levels.