MES – The industrial technology trauma

This is about the behavior of manufacturing people, when introducing new software systems, based on the history, when MES systems where introduced.

MES trauma

There was a time – let’s say 20 years ago – when a hype started, to introduce Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). These were monstrous. They took months or even years to be setup, configured and made running.

A lot of risk, since many of these MES systems required to adjust – or even completely change – the existing processes to fit them.
Imagine you introduce a new system, meanwhile you change your processes and then you struggle. Your old processes aren’t working anymore, the new one is not yet implemented and between that you may not proceed working.
What a manufacturer earns money with? With goods that are currently not able to be produced. The account balance is descending as fast as your tears, while watching it.

User experience was normally very poor, according to the compatibility with the processes.

And the best thing with these systems; the benefit was also very poor. Just because they should support your process and make them easier and more profitable, but did not, as the processes were no longer existing.

MES systems

New technologies

Hell wasn’t that fun?

Today a lot of manufacturers still can’t get over this trauma. Every new technology is bad from the beginning and is proven to the last detail, before they even consider thinking about it.

Nobody can blame them for that; furthermore they are not even completely wrong with it. There are still some inflexible, non-modular, expensive MES systems on the market and it may be hard to differentiate them. Even for me, the appearances are deceptive sometimes.

It makes my job very hard to do. I’m a consultant, so my professionals pride would never let me propose something unhelpful. But when I see how much efficiency could be increased with just a small and simple system, I could shed tears, when they just do nothing, because of this fear.

Industry 4.0

Now with the new hype Industry 4.0 – let me quick mention that only the name is new; just another buzzword – there is a lot of pressure to the manufacturers. Everybody needs to introduce a new systems to stay competitive (I will write a post about that topic as well).

The trauma is still there, but is pushed to the background, as the pressure seems to be more important. Or this is at least my perception.

Another advantage (or maybe disadvantage?) is the range of MES systems on the market. As I mentioned before, it is very hard to find the good ones. But at least there are good ones now.
One example is a simple and user-friendly one called Autexis. I admit that I never worked with it. But what I saw yet was very impressive.

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