Being a manufacturer is not easy these days. Margins continue to shrink, regulations are being tightened, and a considerable skills gap is taking hold. One of the many challenges the industry face is asking for better, more visible data, yet many manufacturers are still struggling to gather this information. There is a lack of visibility, a lack of usable metrics, and very little real-time information. And while enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems house some of the data, they lack the functionality to deliver information to the shop floor, which is necessary to address issues as they occur.
This is where MES makes the difference. It tracks and documents the entire production process from the raw material to the finished product. This data is then fed back into the production process.
The deployment of MES can help manufacturers to use capabilities they were not even aware they had, and to better allocate resources with great potential to become more efficient.
It pays to be picky
Although 2017 is a good a time as any to get into MES, many forward-thinking food and beverage manufacturers did so years ago, and a growing number of them have now reached a point with their MES solution where they are asking for add-on features and functions that further capture production process data, and using it in a way that expands the footprint of the MES solution. Making the MES data a visible part of the overall supply chain is also crucial, and key to ensuring the four walls of the factory do not represent a black hole of information. Manufacturer wish lists are expanding.
Having proven itself a very viable tool for improving efficiency in manufacturing, MES has reached a point where it is crucial not only that you deploy the system, but also how you do so.
For some manufacturers, deployment on their premises will work best, while others will receive greater benefits from a cloud-based solution. A combination of the two will be the way forward for many. Subscription-based models are prevalent now, making it possible for users to deploy MES quicker and with less effort.
Manufacturers have also started to ask for mobile features that allow the data that is collected by the MES solution to be displayed on tablets and other devices. This demand is also driving MES providers to advance app-based solutions.
It’s only data – unless you use it
Data collection is not the difficult part; organizing the data in a way that makes it useful to manufacturers is. There are two phases. This first is selection: what data can be used for which purpose? The second is intelligent presentation: how can this data be arranged so that it has real value for those looking at it?
MES solutions of the future will have to become better and better at getting the right kind of information to the right person at exactly the right time. There is no point in gathering huge amounts of data if people then have to go and dig for it. For MES solutions to be effective, what is being recorded needs to be automatically turned into targeted actionable intelligence, facilitating improvement, and a culture of action at all levels of the organization.
Industry 4.0 is coming – prepare yourself
Smart manufacturing is more than just a buzzword now: as machines acquire more and more intelligence, the idea of a so-called Industry 4.0 is starting to become a reality. Scenarios where machines order their own parts according to their needs are not pipe dreams. In less than ten years’ time, something close to full automation might be possible.
But although some manufacturers stand prepared to embrace such a future, others- the broad majority, in fact- will take time to adjust. Advanced MES solutions will help them along the way. Using the right kind of data in the right kind of way, manufacturers can make themselves more flexible and more efficient – steadily progressing to what the manufacturing industry will look like in a decade.
The future is tailor-made
Over the coming years, MES is only likely to grow: the global market for technology is projected to reach $7.4 billion by 2020. With users who are already deploying MES solutions becoming more demanding – and with new users joining their ranks – 2017 looks set to be a year where MES takes another step towards providing the tailor-made, purpose-built solutions that will help food and beverage manufacturers to be as efficient as they need to be in order to stay successful, and continue their drive towards lower cost producer status.
Both of the NHS England initiatives (Clinical Utilisation Review and SAFER) cite evidence that patients deteriorate physically and cognitively in direct proportion to their length of stay; and for elderly patients this has a significant impact on life-expectancy. Their common goal is to minimise inappropriate delays to ensure Safe, Rapid Discharge or Transition of Patients and to avoid unnecessary hospital stays at an inappropriate level of care.
In this whitepaper, Peter Ellis, Managing Director Medworxx UK, discusses how both Clinical Utilisation Review (CUR) and SAFER (RED2GREEN days) intend to provide transparency and rigour to managing the patient's journey to ensure, at a minimum, daily assessment of key activities and status. These initiatives are interdependent and if appropriately integrated and harnessed, provide a comprehensive picture of the appropriateness of days of care across the organisation.
Today’s competitive consumer market means that companies have to differentiate themselves in a number ways, not just on their product offerings. Consumers have a number of outlets to provide the goods and services they want, but they want more than just the product. They want a positive experience. My recent closet redesign experience is a great example of how one company exceeded expectations.
The first step in creating a great customer experience is providing a great product that brings value to the customer. Every bedroom has a closet, and every closet serves the same basic function. There are several stores that sell closet systems; most of them carry the same brands for approximately the same price. I chose a store that is well-known for its organization solutions. Because of this store’s specialized focus, I knew I would find exactly what I needed for my closet.
Aptean specializes in industry-focused enterprise solutions to support the evolving operational needs of our customers. Our software can be tailored to specific industries, ensuring that the functionality can meet each industry’s business requirements.
Having the right product does little good if consumers are not aware of it. Strong marketing is necessary to elevate awareness and drive demand. The specialty store knows its customer base and tailors its approach to this demographic. They also periodically advertise sales to drive traffic. The best marketing, however, is word of mouth. Most consumers will believe recommendations from family and friends over all other forms of advertising. In my case, a friend had recommended the product from this store, and a sale happened to be running at the same time.
Aptean strives to provide valuable insights to its customers and prospects through multiple channels. We offer a wide variety of educational content, such as case studies, webinars and whitepapers, to raise awareness of how our fit-for-purpose solutions can drive measurable value for our customers. Our product leaders are also industry experts, sharing their insight in a variety of trade publications. Aptean also works closely with industry analysts to refine our product strategies
Once the customer has chosen their product, offering expert guidance through the buying process often results in a bigger sale and a more positive customer experience. For my closet project, I worked with a store designer to select the right product and configure them to the necessary specifications. The designer suggested an experienced installer to make certain the final results would meet my expectations. This expert advice is another reason I chose this particular store.
Aptean knows that every company is different. We create integrated solutions to serve the complex needs of key market segments. Aptean has created a best-in-class solution for the Food and Beverage industry that integrates Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), and Warehouse Management (WMS). Our Metals industry solution boasts an ERP designed specifically for that industry, complemented by EAM, Business Intelligence to collect and organize data that can be turned into actionable insight, and Event Management Framework which helps automate alerting and complex workflow processes.
Perhaps one of the most important steps in creating a positive customer experience is setting expectations and following through with the promises made. Following my purchase, I received a detailed email containing the order information, the images of the new design, and instructions for picking up the materials. Before the installation, I received a phone call to confirm the appointment. On the day of my appointment, the installer showed up on time, was courteous, did great work, and cleaned up after he was finished. Shortly afterwards, another phone call was placed to make certain I was satisfied. All of these touchpoints showed the company appreciated me as a customer.
At Aptean, we foster an on-going relationship to ensure that our solutions continue to provide the value that our customers expect. Our user conferences and executive customer advisory boards allow our customers a platform to share best practices and give feedback that can help shape our product roadmaps. We also spotlight our customers’ successes through press releases and on social media.
This example from the retail world is relevant to the B2B world. A company needs to be focused on more than just the product its sells. The right product mix, combined with effective marketing, deep expertise, and quality service creates an experience that customers want, and one that they want to share.
Customer experience is an increasingly important task for any business, especially in retail banking. The sector is still working to repair its reputation in the wake of the financial crisis. New technology increases the avenues of engagement and customers are becoming more connected, more demanding and less forgiving. With new players entering the market, they are also faced with more choice. Banks need to place customer experience at the front and center of their operations to make sure their customers remain their customers, as well as to protect a reputation which can quickly become fragile, especially when exposed to online communities.
In this whitepaper, Imad Alabed, Aptean’s Senior Director of Pivotal CRM and Knova, discusses how the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can be used to drive a better customer experience and maximize customer ROI. In this challenging and uncertain future, those institutions which adapt most successfully will have an edge.