Essential Questions for MES Harmonization

June 6, 2012
Bianca Scholten, principal consultant at Accenture, has helped numerous companies standardize their operations using a template approach. Here’s her guide to areas of inquiry as you begin your project.

1. Risk. The most important thing to remember when scoping true needs at the beginning is to “find out which sites are, for some reason, high risk sites,” says Scholten. “Group sites so you can bring some focus and efficiency into your project. The high-risk sites need to get the most attention.”

2. Product lines. You need an idea about complexity per site and similarities among sites to understand if a MES template is possible.

3. Data definitions. It will be quite challenging to harmonize data definitions, but standards like ISA-95 can help to compare apples to apples.

4. Operating procedures. When a detailed design of a future template is made, you’ll need to develop one way of working that can be used for all plants. So detailed documentation about procedures is essential.

5. Production data. The template will always need to be flexible in order to configure site-specific parameters into the system, and to have people develop their own reports.

6. Existing reports and dashboards. Questions about these should be at a very high level at the first stage. During the detailed design stage you need to sit together with different plant managers to develop one standard report.

7. Existing tools and software. It’s important to understand what tools the sites have in place, especially in case most of them use a solution from the same vendor. You could choose that solution as the standard solution for the company. You also need to have an understanding of the governance, meaning who’s responsible for which application and how that may change due to the merger.

>> Click here to read Automation World's full report, "MES After the Merger"

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