Overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19 with innovative MES software tools
The current COVID-19 pandemic is a huge long-term conundrum for production operations; fast and flexible action is required on a daily basis to tackle the ever-growing list of new challenges in its wake. PROXIA is here to help with its innovative PROXIA MES software modules: Scheduling System, MES monitoring, and digital “information containers”. These allow dynamic digital production planning, with options to deploy staff regardless of the time and location, and to use machine capacities to best effect.
COVID-19 lockdown meltdown: Many companies have had to apply the brakes and put their production processes into “cold storage”. Individual sectors gave their own reasons for production shutdowns, including disruption of the supply chain or a massive fall in demand. Several factors often combined to make it even harder for those responsible to take effective action.
When production ramps up again, there will be challenges to overcome and problems to solve for which there are very few solutions in industry journals. There has never been a more vital time for decision makers and implementers to build flexibility and adaptability into processes. In the past for example, production planning often followed a set pattern, so it was possible to implement production processes “offline” with tools such as spreadsheet calculations. During periods in which supply chains were volatile, no one wanted to waste material by producing things they didn’t need immediately. At the same time however, companies do not want to strain relationships with their remaining customers by delivering too late.
Dynamic digital production planning for added flexibility
In practice, this means there is an ever greater reliance on dynamic production planning which factors difficult circumstances into planning outcomes, and therefore provides a solid basis for production. Staffing requirements can be specified with greater accuracy and deployment optimised thanks to detailed and flexible planning in production, e.g. with the PROXIA Scheduling System.
In the production process itself, a cutting-edge MES monitoring system and information distribution mechanisms tailored to the process ensure that production flows seamlessly without the need for constant and direct coordination meetings between operators. For example, information can be passed on from one shift to the other without having to perform a classic shift handover. The combination of plant information on the one hand and order data on the other creates digital “information containers” in the PROXIA MES software; these largely eliminate the need for production meetings, which are a near-permanent feature of production operations today.
Home office support through the MES system
Despite the current pandemic, IT departments around the world continue to work at full stretch to enable employees to work from home. VPN solutions, which allow employees to access company networks remotely, are often already in place, so many people nowadays can already work live from home in your ERP system. But who integrates production processes into the home office set-up? PROXIA offers a solution in the MES system. For example then, on-call maintenance staff are able to access plant telemetry data, or production organisation employees can perform production data analyses from their home office.
Active notification of process deviations by the MES system, and the resulting ability to intervene quickly, ensures that operations run smoothly even on a shop floor level, especially in times such as these where it may be impossible for staff to be physically present in the plant.