Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Using MES in Your Centerlining Efforts

Centerlining, in simple terms, matrixes financial, quality, and product dimensions which can be measured and managed.  The simplest example of Centerlining would be a Continuous Improvement project around quality.  Understanding what affects quality (such as purity of ingredients, length of time processing, specific ways of material handling) makes it easier to establish the “norm” and thus manage the extent that you’ll accept outlier behavior.

So how does #MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) and other operations management solutions help with Centerlining?
If you look at the genesis of Centerlining, it started in the continuous process industry as a way to achieve cost savings while maintaining quality. Centerlining requires you align your financial, quality, and process parameters (by either linking or combining into a single database) in order to understand the relationships and maintain the optimum balance of each of these elements.  
Today, #Centerlining includes establishing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) that maintain the matrix of quality to financial to process parameters. It can also refer to techniques contributed by Lean and Six Sigma, such as establishing baselines in production quality, or of the processes themselves, clearly documenting in a plan (such as required by 21CFR Part 11, HACCP or other regulation), and setting procedures and activities to maintain acceptable limits.
And that’s where MES can come in.  MES’s foundation is to establish, formalize, document and execute Good Manufacturing Practices and standard operating procedures.  You determine the model for operations that meets your needs for throughput, quality, cost, and labor/materials management (along with a host of other important operations parameters) and MES enables the systems and people to adhere to those practices and thresholds, with proactive notification of variances, so that a centerline of performance can be maintained.  MES’s track and trace, product genealogy (the “as built” records), quality management, equipment performance management (Overall Equipment Effectiveness, or #OEE), labor management, etc. all contribute to managing adherence to standards, ensuring consistency, less variation, and more good product is produced.
I have a document on Centerlining that I can share with you…email me at Maryanne.steidinger@invensys.com, put “Centerlining” in the subject line, and I’ll send you a copy.

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