Why MES? Developing a Business Case

LZ Lifescience recently attended MES 2015 – a Life Science Manufacturing Systems Event in Philadelphia to talk about developing a business case for implementing Manufacturing Execution Systems in today’s marketplace.

Looking specifically at rising trends, drives for implementation, foreseeable barriers and a path forward. As part of this Keith Bowen, Director of LZ Lifescience conducted a talk on Developing a Business Case for MES, and took the time to answer a few key questions around MES and its future.

10 Minutes with our MES Expert Keith Bowen, Director of LZ Lifescience

What do you see as the important aspects regarding use of MES in pharma manufacturing in the near future (5 years)?

  • Streamlined, efficient, out-of-the-box business process library templates for manufacturing facilities (of each type) is the long term vision of MES in Pharma.
  • Building a plant for the future based on the best practices of the past 20 years and with corporately controlled business processes where the waste and inefficiency have been removed.

What are the key drivers for MES implementation/advancement?

  • Getting more product through your current manufacturing environment without increasing headcount.
  • Adding value to the business and keeping the workforce content by removing mundane manual data collection tasks that can be completely automated.
  • Efficient product release with Quality working in parallel with Production.

What are the barriers to MES use?

  • The main barrier for companies has always been the initial capital cost…until now. Web technology based MES solutions reduce the cost of MES solutions by hundreds of thousands of dollars and even more for large sites…and that is just on the hardware costs. The hardware footprint is minimal with web technologies and any device with a browser installed can use the MES functionality. The software sequences can be configured quicker using a library of phases and operations which provide the building blocks for new product Master Batch Records and therefore a faster time to benefit from an MES solution. Do your work from anywhere and using any device with a browser.
  • Lack of Benefit Awareness – understanding the basic principle that following an automatic executing sequence for making a product with Quality working in parallel with Production leads to at least a 25% increase in productivity. Stay in the Race with Shopfloor-Online™
  • A misconception that a high level of automation is required to get the benefits – this is not the case and Medical Diagnostic Device assembly manufacturers are a testament to that with very little automation, but large volumes of data entry tasks per device. Similarly in a small pharma solid dose plant that I visited recently, the per year measureable benefit was half a million dollars with and ROI of <12 months.

What are some of the keys to developing a business case for MES? 

  • Target Some Saving Areas (measureable objective savings) and map them to MES Product Modules for products that you are considering.
  • Use some Real Manufacturing Activity Data from your Facility – the carpentry expression “measure twice, cut once” can also apply to purchase orders. J
  • Only Pay for what you need – large MES modules may contain lots of things you may not need or use.
  • Keith Bowen was asked to contribute to an article published in PharmaTech.com entitled: ‘Proactive Optimization: the Future of Manufacturing Execution Systems.’ Access Full article here. http://www.pharmtech.com/proactive-optimization-future-manufacturing-execution-systems