Why MES can – and does – work for SMBs

By January 11, 2017 Blog No Comments

A question often posed by smaller and medium sized manufacturing enterprises, is whether they really need a Manufacturing Execution System (MES). Sometimes they will argue that because of their size and the volume of their output, they have no need for MES. Regardless of the size of a manufacturing organization however, MES is necessary to achieve lean manufacturing, operational excellence and, will become even more mission critical as we edge closer to Industry 4.0.

This is especially true for medical device manufacturers. Heavily regulated industries need robust tracking and tracing capabilities. Manufacturing processes in this sector are becoming increasingly complex in order to keep up with the demand for more sophisticated products and in order to comply with more stringent regulations. Whether you are a small manufacturer or a global giant, you will have to produce devices of unprecedented quality, while simultaneously complying with ever stricter regulations in order to remain relevant and competitive.

MES and Lean Manufacturing

Reducing the cost of goods sold through lean manufacturing and the elimination of waste is a target for every medical device manufacturer, regardless of size. Eradication of waste can be achieved easily with MES. For example, it facilitates a paperless system.

In an assessment we undertook for a cardiac resuscitation device company that implemented Camstar MES, we found that there was an $88,000 reduction in paperwork management costs and a $32,600 drop in paper costs, storage and boxing costs. Benefiting from cost reduction while moving towards lean manufacturing is advantageous for SMBs in such a competitive industry as medical device manufacturing.

MES and accurate reporting of real-time data

A manufacturer’s future competitive advantage will be contingent on the integration of accurate and real-time data from the shop floor to the business floor. Medical device manufacturers of all sizes need to ensure that the machines on the factory floor are communicating with each other and with the organization’s enterprise level systems. MES facilitates this communication. It also removes the risk of human error from manual inputting of data.

MES can feed back real-time data from the factory floor that is precise and that identifies and corrects operational problems and issues. The visibility of this real time data allows manufacturers to take immediate action. These rapid responses are crucial in today’s market. Any improvements on the shop floor are also communicated with precision and in real time, leading to more efficient processes. In short, MES drives operations and operational excellence.

Can SMBs afford MES?

Although SMBs do not have the same economies of scale as their larger counterparts, the argument still stands that MES is a necessity as we move ever closer to Industry 4.0. The good news is that the cost of technology is falling. MES is becoming more affordable for SMBs – who will see a Return on Investment shortly after implementation. For example, in the first three months after implementation, cost reductions, improved productivity and enhanced efficiency will be experienced. A year on, an organization will see shorter workflow cycles, coupled with other benefits. And these benefits will continue to build on each other until true intelligent and lean manufacturing is achieved.

Of course for SMBs, the vendor they choose is also an extremely important consideration. When making the investment, you need to be sure that you will also have continuous support, back-up and expertise to rely on. Seabrook Technology Group excels at this. We are recognized specialists in MES and lean manufacturing. To find out more about our package, contact me at any time at john.dzelme@seabrookglobal.com