What an exciting time for manufacturers! Endless possibilities with new technologies taking the forefront. Like the glimmering lights of a casino, vendors portray their “Industrie 4.0” solutions, Digital twins, Digital Threads, platforms for IIoT, platforms for innovation, platforms for automation, not to mention “Lite-MES”, “thin-MES” and two new contenders “Aspiring MES” and “non-traditional MES”, as well as the various colors and shades of Manufacturing Operations Management suites.
Every new day brings clients with questions: “How do I get to Industrie 4.0”, “can I use this JAVA automation toolkit to create my own MES? It’s SO inexpensive!”, “can I leapfrog past MES and just use and IIoT platform and microservices?” Answer? Not yet!
In some ways, the enterprise vendor community has brought this on themselves, by making their digital manufacturing platforms heavy, bloated and, most of all, extremely expensive. It’s no wonder that manufacturers are re-evaluating everything. The carrot and stick of hyped ‘simple solutions’ and heavyweight platforms is driving manufacturers to consider alternative approaches.
Our annual survey with the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA International) of MES practitioners has shown us that MES as a stand-alone, plant specific solution is being challenged. Manufacturers are actively pursuing ways to build collaboration between plants and between the plants and the rest of the supply chain. These practitioners are preparing the way for digital manufacturing by concentrating on the hard (but necessary) work required prior to adopting these new technologies. The focus mentioned most often in our surveys is Master Data Management (MDM).
Like eating your spinach, MDM is necessary, but not as exciting as IIoT (or chocolate chip cookies). Secondary focus on the list was Supply Chain Collaboration. Second, because data clean up and rationalization comes first. The ‘shiny stuff’ (IIoT, cloud, mobility, data analytics) were runners up. The direction is clear. Let’s use the data collected in the manufacturing plant to enhance our supply chain, and use supply chain data to optimize manufacturing.
One of the best ways to tackle Digital Manufacturing is to learn from others, whether this is Gartner Peer Connect, speaking to Gartner Analysts (or reading their research), there is a wealth of experience to learn from, and if you are on the path to Digital manufacturing, you can share your journey by participating in the Gartner / MESA Future of MES Survey.
For the 7th year MESA and Gartner, Inc. are teaming up to survey MES practitioners on where they are on there Digital Manufacturing journey and the part that MES plays in that journey. The Survey takes about 10 minutes to complete, follow this link to the 2018 Gartner/MESA “Future of MES” Survey
Thanks in advance for participating!