In recent times, the role of MES has transformed from a middle level execution system to a broader enterprise system and is now more popularly described as Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) or Integrated Refinery Information System (IRIS). It involves a series of activities such as data collection, system interconnection and inventory control in a real-time environment. It works to sustain operational excellence through flow of consolidated information across standard business, sales, process and quality boundaries. Efficient integration of operations is essential for both Brownfield and Greenfield refineries to gain profit and competitive edge in today’s dynamic market conditions.
Following are some of the best practices in context to an MES implementation project:
- The “Define” and “Design” phases are very critical to the effective modelling of business processes and manufacturing practices in an MES project as a holistically designed comprehensive MES system can help us identify abnormal plant workflows, streamline data flow and eliminate unwanted process steps.
- Information corresponding to the business requirements need to be identified in the first place by conducting interviews of specific users from various areas of plant operations, e.g. planning, scheduling, inventory and quality, etc. Through this process, users start to feel themselves as an integral part of the implementation team.
- Easy to understand flow diagrams need to be developed to represent the “As-is” state of business processes which trigger discussions for improving the business activities in-line with the best practices and help to eventually come up with a clear set of data requirements for the “To-Be” state of business processes
- Next, we proceed to develop a detailed phase-wise implementation schedule based on an evaluation of the functionalities most needed, along with costs and returns.
- At this stage, a suitable list of vendors can be shortlisted and evaluated based on their specific capabilities and cost relative to the required functionality.
- The next important step in successful MES implementation is to institute a clear governance plan for the project such as who has authority to change a process, and how will that change be tested, implemented and measured across the entire application infrastructure to ultimately determine operational agility.
- It is also equally important to conduct a risk assessment for each of the Define, Design, Development and Deployment phases.
- Assessing the readiness of other business process applications to be able to communicate to the MES system is the key to effective system integration. This will serve in reducing the integration timeline.
- At the end of implementation, both Factory Acceptance Test (performed with simulation or test data) and Site Acceptance Test (performed in actual production environment using real interfaces) need to be carried out for testing functionality as per identified business scenarios and to assess the effectiveness of the solution in meeting the desired business requirements.
- Once the FAT and SAT process are completed, the overall performance review and analysis needs to be conducted once the site goes live with the MES to ensure the system and the workforce culture operates as a whole at the level first envisioned.
- Support is required from a good database that facilitates keeping only the required data on the production system and archives data on a rolling basis to a reporting system from where it can be retrieved easily on a need-be basis.
- To enhance usability of the MES system on an ongoing basis, it is recommended to use robust user manuals, either online or hard copy, or extensive help files embedded in the system along with in-depth training to aid in the adoption of the new system
For more information on MES solutions and best-practices, please contact our experts.