Extending Supply Chain Execution in Production to Improve Fulfillment

As market conditions continue to change, manufacturers are looking for any extra advantage against their competitors. Could a manufacturing execution system be the solution?


Improving enterprise performance begins by ensuring that all nodes in the enterprise are able to share critical information in real-time, such as tool setup data, tracking data, quality information, order information, lot history and BOM, regardless of the shop floor or manufacturing system used at each site. Multiple sites must operate as a single entity, ensuring the optimal use of all resources across all the sites. This becomes particularly important as more manufacturing moves offshore and supply chains become intricately complex with a worldwide web of suppliers and contract manufacturers.

Product Lifecycles and Quality

Everything that happens on the factory floor, both good and bad, will quickly affect other nodes throughout the enterprise. World-class manufacturing companies that understand these issues are implementing systems that share quality and PLM information just as readily as they share other manufacturing data. This helps prevent scrapped and stale inventory as the result of poor quality or poorly planned products. For highly regulated industries such as medical device manufacturing, having real-time access to supply chain information and connecting it to the manufacturing floor is key to meeting the compliance audits now mandated by government regulations.

Summary

As market conditions continue to change, manufacturers are looking for any extra advantage against their competitors. World-class organizations are spending considerable effort and money to connect, in real-time, their manufacturing with the rest of their supply network to gain strategic advantage and make their manufacturing truly demand driven.

A number of leading MES providers have begun working with ERP suppliers to begin bridging the historical gap between ERP systems and the shop floor. Based on an evolving set of industry standards such as SOAP, JMS, XML, NetWeaver, ISA95 and others, applications are being developed that will allow ERP and MES to share information in real-time. As these applications begin to enter the market, manufacturers will have the ability to be more adaptive to shifts in customer buying patterns, supplier issues, and other supply chain issues; all of which contribute to a company's ability to develop loyal customers and grow shareholder value.

Sidebar Case Study: Adaptive Inc.
Increasing Return on Investment (ROI): Supply Chain Visibility

Adaptive Inc. has multiple suppliers, customers and manufacturing sites for its products. Figure 2 shows the company;s distribution chain: two manufacturing sites running different manufacturing execution systems (MES) and a third-party supplier that is also using a different MES system. Prior to implementing a real-time SCE solution, Adaptive struggled with getting a consolidated view of its entire operations.

Real-time adapters provide a continuous stream of current information out of their various enterprise systems, which is aggregated into a common data model and used for compiling real-time reports to a Web-based dashboard. Adaptive also uses the dashboard to provide alerts should any of the real-time data indicate an exception has occurred. Adaptive is now able to recognize problems immediately and has instant access to the most current enterprise information obtained through consolidated reports, allowing for quick analysis and resolution.

What to Make Next? Multi-site Decision Execution

Using the real-time data from its supply chain, Adaptive can now use more advanced logic to make challenging product routing decision between sites as shown in Figure 3. For example, if the third-party supplier falls behind on a certain part because of an unexpected machine outage, the system sees this exception as it occurs and begins to take action. The system can be configured to automatically act on a decision (to prevent any delays from occurring) or to present the options and wait for confirmation before execution. The execution commands are then sent directly out to the different manufacturing systems for immediate problem resolution in minutes or even seconds. Now Adaptive is reducing its work-in-process (WIP) and, as a result, driving a shorter lead-time.

The Last Frontier: Collaborative Manufacturing

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