At Hannover Messe 2024, we announced our Composable MES App Suite (cMES) to industry leaders from over 4,000 companies in the mechanical engineering, digital, electrical, and energy industries. Today, we are excited to talk more about how the apps in this suite can be transformative tools in creating your own right-sized MES.

The Future of MES is Composable

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) have been the go-to system for managing and tracking production for nearly three decades. But when it comes to MES, it isn’t about who has been doing it the longest but about who is doing it best. Traditional MES systems are often characterized by their monolithic architecture, where all functionalities are tightly integrated into a single platform. While these systems have been instrumental in streamlining operations and improving efficiency, the digital transformation frontier has highlighted some of their shortcomings. They can pose challenges in terms of flexibility and scalability, making them less adaptable to changes and customization requirements in this rapidly transforming, complex market. Composability is the next-gen of MES.

Faced by supply chain constraints, labor shortages and inflation, manufacturers need standardized, modular digital platforms that enable frictionless connectivity in composable work environments.

Gartner. Predicts 2023: The “Triple Squeeze” Will Require Manufacturing CIOs to Gain Visibility by 2026. December 2022.

Composability is a principle of system design that refers to the ability of different components or systems to be combined or assembled in various ways to achieve different functionalities or outcomes. This “ability to compose” enables engineers closer to the frontline of operations to compose, configure, and iterate on these components improving the outcome for the business. Composability ushers in a new era of how manufacturing execution systems are architected, implemented, and maintained.

Mack Molding Operator Interacting with Tulip

What is the Composable MES App Suite?

The Composable MES App Suite is a formal offering for what manufacturers have been doing with Tulip for years. Hundreds of customers have used Tulip as the easiest way to build and create apps to deploy composable production systems in a matter of months. The Composable MES App Suite takes this a step further by providing an accelerated path for manufacturers to deploy digital production management systems that suit their unique operations. The apps in this app suite are built to be used as-is, expanded on, or configured to meet the exact requirements of your operation.

Composable MES App Suite offers apps to tackle managing production, assuring quality, maintaining compliance and traceability, and tracking inventory. Engineers can simply pick the apps that meet the needs of their operations, and enhance those apps further with other apps or functionality to build truly unique and adaptable solutions. With access to Tulip’s AI, analytics, vision, and edge connectivity capabilities, engineers are empowered to generate solutions that uniquely fit the needs of the frontline through ready-built apps that work across a common data model.

The apps in the Composable MES App Suite are organized into three app suites: Production Management, Quality, and Inventory.

The Common Data Model

All apps in the Composable MES App Suite are built on a Common Data Model, a flexible human-readable data schema that provides a central source of truth for your operations. The Common Data Model is a flexible structure that gives engineers and admins full control of their data model. Unlike traditional data models that can be rigid as they rely on dependencies, Tulip’s Common Data Model can be configured, added to, and extended to capture the data relevant to your operations as your needs change. Being built off the Common Data Model, the Composable MES App Suite is easily extensible. The cMES apps are interconnected and work together with the Common Data Model. You can add or build new apps using this same data structure extending your solution to make your right-fit system faster and easier.

Real-time Visibility Into Your Production

Without thorough production management, manufacturers risk wasting material resources and incurring higher-than-necessary manufacturing costs. It is vital that manufacturers take advantage of data-rich production management systems to visualize and optimize their production to be competitive in the market.

The Production Management App Suite, part of the Composable MES App Suite, offers ten apps to provide a foundation for managing production workflows by collecting data and uncovering insights to drive better operational decisions. Including Performance Visibility Terminal and Order Management, the app suite provides visibility to operators, engineers, and plant managers alike on production metrics like delivery times, contextualized production downtime, and holistic Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

Assuring Top Quality

In today’s day and age, customers expect 'right first time' products. Defective products affect profits, increase production costs with rework, and risk harming reputation with customers. It’s essential that quality is embedded throughout the manufacturing process to assure only high quality products reach customers’ hands.

The Quality App Suite offers three apps to enable you to make your operations more error-proof by streamlining inspection processes and increasing the frequency of quality checks. From the operator to the quality manager, the Quality App Suite can significantly reduce the cost of poor quality in any operation. With detailed inspection steps, operators can make sure products are built right the first time. Quality managers can also use these apps to see a Pareto of defect causes, helping them understand and triage nonconformance as scrap or rework. Augmented with other capabilities like computer vision and AI copilot, you can ensure high quality every time with the Quality App Suite.

Streamlining Inventory Management

Inventory management is more than knowing what’s on your shelf. Being able to avoid shortages, predict demands, and easily restock is crucial to running a well-oiled factory.

The Inventory App Suite allows you to manage your inventory at the station and facility level. With seven apps for material handling and inventory management, the app suite helps you make sure you know how much raw material you have, how many finished goods you have, and that you’ll never have to halt production due to stock-outs. The Inventory App Suite can improve accuracy and efficiency of inventory operations by providing visibility and streamlined kanban management of material ordering. Not only can you manage inventory on the shelf, but the app suite assists you in managing material movement throughout your facility. The Inventory App Suite provides a comprehensive view of where your inventory is at every stage of production.

This is Only the Beginning

Whether you deploy it as is or configure it to your specific needs, the Composable MES App Suite provides a starting point for transforming your operations with Tulip.

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