3 Key Steps in Building Your MES Software Business Case


Deb Geiger, VP Global Marketing, Aegis Software


Assessing Return on Your MES Investment

Today’s fast-paced manufacturers are under tremendous pressure to increase throughput, reduce costs, ensure quality, and enable product personalization. It, therefore, makes sense that manufacturing organizations across sectors are increasingly adopting the MES (Manufacturing Execution System) as a powerful solution that provides real-time visibility and control over operations in support of greater agility and optimization.

An MES solution impacts many areas of the business, benefitting a multitude of diverse stakeholders. The value of an MES is compelling—but creating a comprehensive, thorough MES business case to get leadership buy-in can seem like a daunting task to project champions. In this blog post, we’ll discuss three key steps you should follow when building a MES business case to clearly articulate the return on your MES investment and build the buy-in required to move the project ahead.

Step 1: Conduct a Software Business Case Justification Analysis

The first essential step in developing a thorough business case is to conduct a careful justification analysis of the ‘present-case’ of your organization, touching on strategic, tactical, and operational dimensions, with an eye toward contrasting and developing the business benefit when the future-case once MES were to be implemented. Let’s take a closer look at each:

  1. Strategic: As part of the strategic analysis, it is critical to assess the reasons for your MES implementation, its potential benefits for your business, the projected timeline and required resources, direct and indirect costs associated with the solution, and any potential risks. An effective strategic analysis should involve KPIs, feasibility studies, variance analyses, gap analyses, and more.
  2. Tactical: The tactical analysis entails close collaboration with key stakeholders throughout your business to clearly define your solution requirements, from quality to compliance, machine capabilities, data insights, and more. A useful tactical analysis should achieve an understanding of the day-to-day realities that each key stakeholder faces. It should also involve baselining, data modeling, and benchmarking.
  3. Operational: The operational analysis examines how end-users will put the solution into practice, including the areas in which they will derive the most significant value. A practical operational analysis should involve careful blueprinting, process mapping, project prioritization, and a tertiary understanding of business rules.

Step 2: Determine the Key Operational and Financial Metrics

After your business analysis is complete, it is then time to focus on metrics, both operational and financial. Key metrics targeted for improvement through the adoption of your MES might include yields, customer currency, increased throughput, faster cycle times, reduced waste and costs, regulatory and recall risk mitigation, and more. When putting this data together, it is critical to carefully quantify your existing wastes, inefficiencies, and pain points. How can you reduce and eliminate these wastes, inefficiencies, and pain points through your MES implementation? There is no shortcut to this process—but the more thorough, the better your business case will be.

It is important to note that “soft” costs are also a critical element of your potential benefit. Make sure to examine areas in which you can reduce expenses by lowering a future cost. These areas of savings are most likely not reflected on your financial statements, but they are both quantifiable and compelling. Even more elusive are soft savings in the form of cost avoidance, which refer to small systems that exist within your business to address a specific pain point or problem that will be addressed through the MES implementation. Or, it could be competitive differentiation value the enterprise may place on leading in the areas of digital thread, Industry 4.0, IIoT, or just manufacturing technology in general.

Step 3: Develop a Plan to Ensure Your Investment Delivers

Your business analysis and metrics are both essential, but in order to realize true transformation, your business case cannot stop there. Ensuring your investment is an indispensable aspect of the business case as well. It addresses who will be responsible for Organizational Change Management (OCM) within your business. Your OCM team is a critical, cross-functional group that should include project leaders, release managers, process coordinators, and performance managers.

Effective OCM requires clear communication so that the entire organization understands the vision and strategy behind your implementation, as well as what to anticipate and when. And OCM is also interactive. Make sure to build in feedback loops to gauge progress and provide ample opportunities for new champions to emerge and be rewarded. Not all employees learn and embrace technology at the same pace, but an effective OCM approach ensures that every employee has the knowledge and training they need, no matter where they fall on the technology curve.

Build Your FactoryLogix Business Case with Aegis

Aegis’ FactoryLogix solution serves as one unified platform to create your Digital Thread, deliver factory digitization, and produce Industry 4.0 benefits. In addition to providing the industry’s most flexible and capable platform, we also deliver a valuable partnership to assist our customers in quantifying and maximizing returns on their MES investment. This includes developing thorough business cases in close collaboration with our clients—from conducting detailed business analyses, identifying key metrics, and developing highly effective OCM strategies. View our latest on-demand webinar: The Manufacturing Executive's MES ROI Blueprint to learn more. To discuss creating a MES business case or learn more about the FactoryLogix solution, contact Aegis today.

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