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Forged MES Workflow Is A Hidden Monster

Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is a digital information system used to track the information on how raw material flows through manufacturing systems and turn into finished goods/products in a manufacturing environment. MES enables us digital twins, operational technology excellence (OT) on top of our IT systems, Industrial IoT (IIoT), Smart Manufacturing, and other digitization in the manufacturing and production environment.

MES is usually defined in a central system and connects all different processes in manufacturing. This central system consists of a

  • Blueprint of shop floor processes.

  • Data of each product and each process (like process variables (PV))

Each process data are collected or pushed to this central system.

What is MES forgery?

We may call some instances MES forgery. For example

  • When the blueprint on the MES doesn't match the actual production floor setup or

  • When the data that goes into the MES is morphed/modified from the real data, (i.e., if data doesn't reflect the actual real process data)

When could MES data forgery could happen?

Happens very likely in the process development stage.

MES for any specific manufacturing lines would get matured and stabilized. When MES reaches matured state, then no one would not like to change (or forge) the MES data. However, during process development, it's well understood that MES could be noisy data that may/may-not have accurate information.

In some scenarios, you face that you need to break the production workflow defined in your MES system. Some examples are,

  • While re-testing the product. When you found your produced parts need a retest due to a change in its structure (like firmware update), you will overwrite the data on MES while testing on the bench or re-testing on the same process machine.

  • Ideally, that part is failed and scrapped but to avoid scraps, you just reflash that reduces the scrap.

Is it a good idea to break the MES workflow?

Whenever this forging happens on MES, then usually the specific changes become very much hidden and start hiding a monster underneath. If this is not overseen by a quality member to improve the situation then the branched (forged) workflow on MES could continue to feed this monster. And at some point, this monster would be very large and ready to give a hard blow to all process in the line.

Would you forge MES data? When and why would it happen in your scenario? Was it scary as a such a monster?

Add your comments below.

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