Manufacturing job shops and production facilities are becoming increasingly complex as technology improves and customer needs become more demanding. Material and labor requirements can vary day to day. Scheduling processes must consider levels of variation that exceeds the ability of most planning systems to handle. A MES is specifically designed to account for this level of variation.
A classic challenge in achieving desired quality assurance in manufacturing is due to the vast sources of variation that can interfere with production or product quality. Variation sources can include:
- Machine downtime (damage or repair)
- Unreliable workforce
- Variation in setup times or delivery dates depending on customer specification
- Resource/material availability
- Experiments or attempts to improve productivity causing temporary downtime
- And many more
Keeping track of each of these possible variations is complex. It is crucial that front-line shop personnel have the most updated information so they can make real-time decisions that impact production time and quality. A successful MES allows for immediate adjustment to variance by providing data to relevant workers as it arrives.