How MES Helps Engineering Change Management

Posted by Annette Grotz on November 28, 2018

MES Helps Engineering Change Management

Post three in a dedicated series reviewing sections from the eBook “What is MES in Complex Discrete Manufacturing,” written by Conrad Leiva, vice president of Product Marketing and Alliances at iBASEt.

Part of the definition of a complex discrete manufacturing process includes “change.” Engineer to order products that take a long time to produce and are of a complex nature, like a fighter jet or a satellite, experience frequent changes throughout their production processes, making change management critical. Incorporating technological breakthroughs is only one example of a change that affects in-process units. Tying the engineering system to the Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) is key to ensuring these changes are an improvement, documented and communicated in a timely manner to the mechanics who need to know about them. The communications and iterations between the customer and the manufacturer should also be captured and stored.

Many companies need MES to support product revision management that can cut in at certain serial numbers or dates. MES may also be necessary to support management of the configuration codes on bill of materials (BOM) components at all levels. Process plans should also be under revision control and be able to be cross referenced to BOMs, illustrations and procedures. The MES system can further aid this cross referencing with impact assessment tools and where-used queries, to guide users through process plan and work order revisions.


What is MES in Complex Discrete Manufacturing?


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“The standardization of work practices and authoring of work instructions into process plans can be aided by the use of a library of standard operations and standard instructions text. These libraries of reusable instructions can further improve efficiencies. They need to provide ways to do mass updates of work plans and work orders, while preserving cross references and revision control between the library entries and the documents that reference them. The MES may also provide document control capabilities for attached documents that are not already under revision control in externally linked systems.”

The benefits of integrating an engineering system with a manufacturing system include incorporating engineering design changes correctly into the manufacturing process definition, products in-process are properly updated with the latest engineering revision level, and helping ensure that “the ‘as built’ configuration matches the ‘as designed’ configuration.”

Engineering changes need to be dealt with quickly as costs may increase when a delayed change increases scrap and rework. An integrated system speeds up the change process by removing much of the manual paperwork investigation and closing the loop between engineering and manufacturing, which improves communication in both directions. Finally, an integrated system also helps with documentation, supporting quality and compliance requirements.

Next Steps 

Learn how manufacturers are improving process efficiency and cost containment across their entire enterprises following the integration of their manufacturing operations systems with their financial management system and other core business systems. See how Costpoint Manufacturing Solutions can help.


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