Manufacturing execution systems are computerised systems used in manufacturing to monitor and track the change of raw materials into finished products. The execution system is linked to a real time system, usually a computer network or manufacturing server, through which all the activities related to the manufacturing process are recorded. Execution systems can be either hardware-based, in which case the computer monitors raw material, finished product and other processes through a keyboard and mouse or software-based, in which case it has its own software that controls the hardware.
Manufacturing execution systems help control the manufacturing processes, including quality control, batch counting, material and machine tracking, material movement, material leveling, material quality control etc. They also provide feedback and instant messaging facilities from anywhere in the world. With the help of real-time systems, plant supervisors and quality assurance officers can view data in real-time, take decisions and make changes fast. In addition, they can see each job or manufacturing cycle individually, even though they are not in the factory floor. In addition, visual inspection and testing of production processes, as well as decision support and rescheduling capabilities of production managers can be executed without affecting the other phases.
The primary objective of any manufacturing process is to minimize wastage of resources, and maximize productivity, so any manufacturing execution systems must be capable of producing the same in the least possible amount of time. The systems must be able to provide accurate, timely, comprehensive post-production status reports. To achieve this optimum level of performance, they must be robust, scalable, flexible and fault tolerant. It is very important for manufacturing performance analysis to provide support for all manufacturing stages such as design, conceptualisation, prototyping, engineering, production planning, material planning, operation, maintenance management, packaging and logistics.
Many manufacturing processes require a lot of human interaction, and they cannot be efficiently conducted with just a single operator. There are many factors that must be considered when designing and fine-tuning the production process. The key stakeholders should be satisfied with the end product. They should also be happy with the manner in which the products are delivered. This requires that there is adequate quality control, and that any defects are detected at the early stage.
An efficient inventory management system is one of the most fundamental requirements of any manufacturing process. Without an accurate inventory system, a business can easily lose thousands of dollars in unnecessary inventory costs. In addition, it is very important to ensure that there is a constant flow of inventory into and out of the enterprise. Thus, there must be a support network for the transportation of inventory, and this requires enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to ensure proper flow of inventory throughout the manufacturing cycle.
An ERP system can integrate with the manufacturing execution systems and store the data for future use. This will improve quality in the warehouse by enabling the operators to properly align their orders with available inventory. It will also reduce costs by enabling the shop floor to precisely know when new stock items are needed to be replenished in the line production process.