What Kind of MESs are You in? Digitizing the Shop Floor Traveler

A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is any structured process that monitors, tracks, documents, and controls the process of manufacturing goods from raw materials to finished products.  It uses data to provide information on the production progress.

Even if you didn't know this acronym you likely already have a MES in place in your organization no matter how large or small.   A MES can really be anything that meets the definition above.  It could be manual recording of data from paper travelers, it could be Excel based end of the process record keeping, it could even be a dry erase job board on the manufacturing floor.  What do all of these MES practices have in common?  No direct insight to job reporting as it's happening and lengthy record keeping sometimes days after a job is completed.  Not to mention never knowing during the process where machine breakdowns occured so you can quickly react to the flow of jobs or how much scrap is being produced due to bad batches or poor raw material.  Resulting in a lot of too little too late analysis and reactions.

We also know other things happen when you are working with manual entry paper travelers.  Let's take a look at this common paper traveler: