I recently attended a training to an MES (Manufacturing Execution System) solution called FlexNet from Apriso. This solution provides a BPM engine (Business Process Manager) and strongly relies on a database to help manage the execution of your Production but also your warehouse management, quality management, etc… The instructor shared some experiences with customers and how the solution was implemented with different path. Where usually customer take the opportunity of implementing the solution to rework some production process, another idea due to the easy and quick implementation of the tool was to implement the solution As-Is on the existing process and integrated with the actual machines to evaluate the performance before any process of production floor-plan rework. That bring to my mind a common question that is raised before a PLM implementation which is: how will i evaluate how we enhanced our product lifecycle management performance?
A strong need of Indicators
This is one of the main issue PLM users and integrators are facing before implementing a solution. The user is wondering how he will know how his performance progresses and the integrator has to wonder how to prove how much value and enhancement he will provide to his customer. For example, companies already have some sort of ECO management. Maybe it’s not the perfect CMII process as designed by ICMHQ, but before enhancing the existing ECO management it would be great to have some metrics on the existing process. Metrics like, the volume of ECO managed, the delay of treatment… We need to find which kind of software could be implemented as-is without changing the existing process and which could raise relevant metrics as a starting point before any enhancement suggestion. For countable items like ECOs, for quality reason there might already exist reports, but some other process may be more difficult to measure without a software.
Needs an easy to implement PLM solution
If this would be a possible action to make it would obviously need a very simple implementation has a company won’t want to invest in a product that they’ll rebuild after reworking all their process once they’ll indentify the less efficient. It should have a very simple BPM tools which wouldn’t trigger the execution of work but instead, could log the progress of the existing process. After a month or two using this software we would have a performance log with metrics. From this point, the management could start with real enhancement target.
Don’t start from scratch merge your process with best practices
The idea of merging is to make sure that the tool, designed maybe for other companies with slightly different activities, will not make us run some process we wouldn’t really need to follow. By having your process already defined in an information system you should be able to make it evolve to correct only area for which you need to have a better performance to achieve goals set by the management. Maybe your ECO management is already great for your specific activity but one piece of the CMII proposal could help you.
What’s possible with MES might not be that easy with PLM
Finally, my enthusiasm in the use of MES as a set of KPIs cannot completely be transferred to the PLM. It’s is easier to just put some metrics on a production where the process are being physically run in front of you with items you can count, etc… It is a lot more difficult to measure product lifecycle management performance. This highly depends on the management. My main idea in this article is to say that it would be much more valuable to be able to enumerate projects with real metrics evolution before and after a PLM solution implementation. Maybe, here also, we could standardize these metrics for some industries to help them evaluate how they are performing compared to an average performance value in their sector.
for more information about Flexnet : Apriso website