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92 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JULY 2020 other options, as well. The objective is for the organization's management team to have a consistent common application that meets the manufacturing support needs. Redesign Your Information Systems With AI The implementation of AI will rapidly accel- erate to support operations. The objective is to attain real-time data from manufacturing operations via process monitors and dash- boards. All these outputs need to be accessible remotely by manufacturing support person- nel. A common platform that manufacturing organizations can use to achieve this is by the implementation of a manufacturing execution system (MES). MES software options have been available for a number of years, and with the new work environment, the implementation of these software solutions will be a necessity for organizations to provide an effective platform for remote work. Before you select software, prepare a configu- ration of your design plan for your MES needs. The design plan needs to consider three data collection requirements from your manufactur- ing process(es) that manufacturing personnel should review when working remotely: enter- prise requirements planning (ERP), verification of product attributes, and process controls. ERP System Most organizations have already established ERP systems where all business requirements are entered from sales orders, planning files, BOMs, inventory transactions, work orders, and material tracking steps throughout the pro- duction life cycle. These systems can already be accessed remotely. As the majority of the orga- nization's ERP users will be working remotely, it will be necessary to upgrade the ERP system to be cloud-based supported. In addition, consider the interaction of the MES software with the ERP system. Often, there will be an overlap of data collection entries. The MES system design plan should complement the established ERP system to minimize duplicate or non-value add data col- lection activities. Verification of Product Attributes Verification of product attributes is done via inspection and test methods. These verifica- tion activities are done in the production pro- cess by inspectors, technicians, or operators where measurements are taken and collected in paper logs or databases. These activities may already be automated in some work envi- ronments. MES applications can collect these measurements across all necessary processes for your product manufactured and have these measurements be available for immediate data analysis via cloud-based applications. Quality engineers and other customer-facing employees can analyze and determine confor- mance to product requirements as the prod- uct is manufactured. Furthermore, data collec- tion can also include pictures and videos that allow for visual verification of product charac- teristics. Access to this information allows for remote personnel to analyze and take appro- priate actions. Process Controls AI can be accelerated with process con- trols. Sensor technology and data bandwidth advancements allow organizations to col- lect millions of process datapoints if neces- sary. It's important not to overwhelm the sys- tem with data collection that cannot be useful. The objective is to prepare a process control plan for all key process attributes to help engi- neers, technicians, and other personnel eval- uate process performance to identify trends or out-of-control issues that can be addressed immediately as they occur. Cloud-based pro- cess dashboards should provide this monitor- ing for your critical parameters so that your engineers can not only evaluate your process but also collaborate with customers and sup- pliers to review process data in real-time. Establish a Cadence Remote work requires discipline and con- sistency. Establish a cadence of regular meet- ings and protocols on how to effectively review metrics and action items. Remote employees have the flexibility to work in their preferred environments but can be distracted and less

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