Traditional manufacturing execution systems are deployed on a single machine that might be networked to a handful of terminals inside of a machine shop.
While this made sense in an era before widespread Internet adoption, it’s hopelessly dated today. Few people have the technology needed to turn their smart devices into antique telnet clients, and there are even less who would want to.
Cloud-based technology is a much better alternative, but adoption has been surprisingly slow. That’s causing many industry sectors to play a dizzyingly fast game of catch-up.
For instance, the orbital robotics segment may grow by as much as $5.7 billion by 2027. Fortunately, there’s no reason why smaller manufacturers can’t join in and turn to this technology as well.
Concrete Benefits of using Cloud-based MES Software
Perhaps the most obvious advantage of cloud computing is the ability for everyone in an organization to stay on the same page regardless of current operating conditions. A majority of workflows are now spread out over great distances.
In many circumstances, a company may be managing multiple supply chains that stretch across several different continents.
By replacing an existing on-premise solution with cloud-based manufacturing software, these organizations can ensure that everyone is always able to update their current status.
Regardless of whether they’re working with modern IoT sensors or simply filling out condition blocks by hand, managers can alert any downstream workgroups about the possibility of service disruptions before they occur.
Many of the other advantages aren’t so obvious, however, which might have hurt adoption thus far. As companies learn that digital MES systems can be scaled more quickly and easily than traditional ones, they’ll be more likely to turn to them.
This is especially true if they have to manage workflows that experience periodic peaks, such as when production ramps up.
Cloud-based MES applications are easy to deploy since they don’t require manufacturers to invest in hardware. That frees up IT personnel to pursue higher-value activities that are directly related to the work their facilities are doing.
A cloud-based application doesn’t have to be carefully customized, either. It’s normally tailored to work with the server infrastructure provided by the cloud service that offers it, so there’s no need to worry about these things.
Companies that provide software as a service continuously have a tendency to push updates through automatically, which translates into less downtime. Anyone who has had a supply chain disruption result from a software problem is already familiar with why that’s so useful.
In one study, medical device manufacturers were able to increase production throughput by 500 percent as a result of the close integration between their cloud-based software and their manufacturing equipment.
People have certainly noticed a big difference even in situations where the results haven’t been quite so dramatic.
Accessibility Features Offered by Cloud-based MES Tools
On-premise MES tools don’t usually provide real-time updates to individuals users. If someone isn’t comfortably seated at an on-site PC, then they’re going to stay in the dark until they get the opportunity to do so.
Cloud-based tools normally use various web protocols that can be accessed with any modern browser.
Technicians are free to check work conditions regardless of where they are in the world as long as they have access to some form of Internet connection.
Computer scientists have long promoted on-premise MES tools for security reasons, based on the idea that this sort of simple access paradigm poses a security threat.
The popularity of two-factor authorization technology has dramatically reduced the risk of this and any related threats.
Deployment of solid end-to-end encryption protocols has helped to further stop bad actors from ever intercepting data presented by MES tools. Barring an inside job, the overall uptime of cloud-based MES platforms is actually much better than that of on-premise ones.
Some companies have thousands of pieces of equipment connected to their MES platform, which could overwhelm a traditional tool. Others might be dealing with regulatory and compliance issues, especially if they’re somehow involved in the medical device market.
Managers who are migrating toward a more agile manufacturing paradigm will especially appreciate some of these features. Cloud-based MES tools are ideal for ed-mode and mixed-mode production environments. They’re able to respond to rapidly changing consumer demands and market conditions.
Warehousing companies found out about these benefits first hand when they dealt with supply chain problems related to what some economists have referred to as panic buying patterns.
Some aerospace industry case studies have shown that this kind of technology makes it easy for design teams to integrate CAD drawings and other documents into storage repositories that everyone in their organization can access.
Whether firms are looking to streamline their operations or simply develop a single source of truth that every department can draw upon, it looks like cloud-based MES tools are a safe bet for countless use cases.