Manufacturing Execution for Auto

Chassis of a car, hanging in a production manufacturing line, is being built.

Automotive OEMs and tiered suppliers are being challenged by consumer demand for new technologies and increasing environmental regulations for sustainability. Trends like electrification, autonomous driving, and shared mobility are forcing OEMs to add to their line-ups while continuing to build and service current production. While most automakers and suppliers recognize that smart manufacturing is the key to success in this new landscape, those who manage to harness and organize the massive quantity of data generated in intelligent production will gain an edge over the competition. A manufacturing execution system (MES) takes control of factory operations by acting as the fundamental bridge between the enterprise business systems (ERP), the product lifecycle management (PLM) system, the quality management system (QMS), and factory automation to produce the right products at the right time with the expected quality.

Automotive OEMs and tiered suppliers are being challenged by consumer demand for new technologies and increasing environmental regulations for sustainability. Trends like electrification, autonomous driving, and shared mobility are forcing OEMs to add to their line-ups while continuing to build and service current production. While most automakers and suppliers recognize that smart manufacturing is the key to success in this new landscape, those who manage to harness and organize the massive quantity of data generated in intelligent production will gain an edge over the competition. A manufacturing execution system (MES) takes control of factory operations by acting as the fundamental bridge between the enterprise business systems (ERP), the product lifecycle management (PLM) system, the quality management system (QMS), and factory automation to produce the right products at the right time with the expected quality.

Car mechanic working on the break system of a car

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Smart Manufacturing begins with MES

Automotive OEMs and suppliers are facing brand new challenges and demands from consumers, governments, and start-ups entering the market. If not managed effectively by manufacturers, the resulting rise in production complexity will lead to a decrease in efficiency, productivity, and profit. Factory evolution with a smart manufacturing approach has proven to be the most effective strategy for automakers and suppliers to harness this complexity and use it to their advantage. At the heart of smart manufacturing is an MES solution, providing the critical enabling technology for a successful digitalized operation.  The primary functions of the MES are to provide real-time production visibility on the line, to create a connection between the automation layer and the line operators to correctly execute the bill of process (BOP), and to support just-in-time/just-in-sequence/Kanban strategies. The MES also collects, organizes, and shares the data generated by processes, the supply chain, and new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and advanced robotics. This data intelligence can be fed into the digital twin of manufacturing, enabling a closed-loop feedback system to drive continuous improvement, predictive maintenance, and advanced energy management.

An MES Solution should be Customizable, Scalable, and Open

In automotive manufacturing, MES is the critical component to collect, connect, and unlock value from the data generated by smart manufacturing. Because every manufacturer is unique, the most effective MES is a hybrid solution that can be customized, scaled, and deployed on-premises, in the cloud, or at the edge. It should have an open ecosystem that enables all stakeholders to communicate seamlessly, including partners, suppliers, and customers. It should provide an efficient interface between IT and OT for fast data exchange and the flexibility to manage autonomous operations from any device and location. An MES/MOM solution acts as the brain of smart manufacturing and the catalyst for continuous improvement. In today’s automotive industry, leading manufacturers will not be the ones who generate the most data but the ones who transform their data into a digital backbone that runs through the entire organization for improved decision-making, productivity, and profitability.

Car mechanic working on the break system of a car

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