4.0 Industry and productivity: The perfect fussion between MES and the Kaizen methodology

Inevitably, any outline that we may read about the technologies that are part of the so-called 4.0 Industry will include the MES as one of its indisputable pieces. The MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) automatically extract the data about the most relevant operating parameters of the production processes that the operators themselves introduce. To a certain extent, they are like monitors that connect the patient's body to the vital signs of other patients they’re surrounded by.

On the other hand, the Kaizen methodology or continuous improvement is less innovative and it’s been implanted in many other industries for a long time. Essentialy, it provides guidelines to identify areas of improvement, goal setting, teamwork and monitors the indicators of development. In addition, it tries to impregnate everyone involved in the organization of the self-demand and nonconformity culture as the basis of a focused on improving attitude of the current state of affairs. Returning to the simile of the patient, the Kaizen system is the motivated and well-organized medical team that prescribes the appropriate treatment for the cure.

But, does it make sense to invest effort and money in the latest technology MES that registers all the possible parameters of our processes without being a prepared organization capable of extracting relevant improvements? Would it not be like connecting all the monitors to the patient  without having a medical team capable of interpreting all the information? but how about vice versa?, should our organization face the challenge of improving the processes equipped only with pen and paper?

Therefore, now that the industries taking the step to undertake MES start-up projects are increasing, we mustn’t forget that in order to take full advantage we must also enforce a continuous improvement system in our organization unless we would rather see ourselves buried under a mountain of questionably useful data. 

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