It takes a lot to manufacture any product. The key component is manufacturing operations, or the process of manufacturing, which includes everything from sourcing materials and analyzing performance to measuring quality and getting products into customers' hands. This guide explores some key ways in which you can maximize your success with manufacturing operations management.

Topics of interest

What is Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM)?

Manufacturing operations management (MOM) is the process of controlling the structure and systems used by manufacturers to produce products efficiently. The goal is to make the highest-quality products at the lowest possible cost as quickly and efficiently as possible, and MOM is how you do it.

Goals of Manufacturing Operations Management

The ultimate goal of manufacturing operations management is building operational excellence. How well a manufacturer manages its operations can separate success from failure. On the shop floor, however, the more tangible goals of MOM include higher equipment and worker utilization, waste reduction, increased product quality, improved regulatory compliance, and higher customer satisfaction, all of which contribute to increased profitability.

MOM vs MES – The Difference and Evolution

At the operations level, many manufacturers use a manufacturing execution system (MES) to orchestrate operations. MES software monitors, controls, and tracks the manufacturing process across labor, equipment, materials, and more. MES provides a modern way to improve, standardize, and increase the effectiveness of manufacturing operations while collecting data and generating insights to help manufacturers continuously improve. Think of MES as a shop floor monitoring technology.

Manufacturing operations management includes MES but exists at a higher level to include planning, processes, and forecasting to support manufacturing operations. This covers activities like maintenance, logistics, quality management, warehouse management, materials and waste management, equipment certification and calibration, and more. MOM is then a broader production methodology, supporting lean and agile manufacturing strategies, that relies on a single solution to manage all manufacturing operations and processes at the enterprise level. MOM also enables more recent and popular smart manufacturing technologies and Industry 4.0 technologies that make manufacturing execution more productive, like digital manufacturing, additive manufacturing, predictive maintenance with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and virtual prototyping.

Modern manufacturers of all sizes have steadily evolved to MOM as a replacement or extension of MES. Hence, operations managers, finance teams, and other decision-makers have better enterprise-wide insights to make better data-driven decisions.

5 Ways to Maximize Efficiency Through Manufacturing Operations

If operational excellence is the ultimate goal of MOM, efficiency is the way to get there. Operational efficiency measures how well a manufacturer utilizes resources, eliminating inefficiencies and waste, to deliver products. Financially, efficiency is how much it costs to produce an item over how much revenue it generates. Scheduling, workforce and skills utilization, materials costs and availability, management effectiveness, and supporting functions can be measured and controlled by manufacturers through MOM to increase operational efficiency.

#1 – Schedule to the Plan

Most manufacturers build a long-range business or corporate plan for the coming year or years. Manufacturing operations must then execute their portion of that plan to meet production, quality, and other targets and goals efficiently. This long-range planning typically happens in a manufacturing ERP system. Using that plan, manufacturing operations managers build production schedules for the shop floor.

But, to effectively execute that plan through a manufacturing execution system, operations managers must understand the supporting activities and related constraints, see upstream into supply chains and materials movements, and have visibility downstream to fulfill customer orders. Manufacturing operations management provides that visibility and helps maximize efficiency throughout the operations.

#2 – Train the Workforce

Having workers available is an obvious constraint, but having them available and with the necessary skills takes advanced planning and meticulous scheduling. Manufacturing operations management processes include training and development needs and constraints in the bigger operational puzzle so managers can avoid gaps.

The effective use of manufacturing automation and IIoT takes repetitive, mundane tasks away from human workers to increase efficiency. Effective recruiting and staffing management help identify and address talent shortages and skills gaps so production lines aren’t short-staffed and valuable workers can be retained.

#3 – Material Supply Chain

Most manufacturers are familiar with just-in-time (JIT) inventory and manufacturing management strategies that minimize inventories to save carrying costs and create leaner, more agile operations to meet changing customer demands. More recent thinking points to just-in-case (JIC) management practices that stockpile inventories to avoid hiccups from supply chain disruptions or changing customer demands. No matter which philosophy a manufacturer chooses, each comes with the efficiency benefits of reduced costs, minimized waste, and faster reaction times.

For manufacturers in specific industries, product and materials traceability is a considerable cost of doing business. Food and beverage manufacturers, for example, require traceability backward to materials suppliers and forward to customers and distributors. Minimizing costs across the traceability spectrum helps boost overall operational efficiency.

#4 – Business Process

Manufacturers, like companies in every other industry, are finding more and more benefits from automation. The digitalization of business, such as automated data collection, reporting, and sales order processing, is increasing efficiency by leaps and bounds. For tedious, manual manufacturing operations management efforts that haven’t yet been automated away, huge efficiency gains are left on the table. Integrating manufacturing execution systems with ERP into a holistic manufacturing operations management approach is a fast track to efficiency gains through automation.

Wasteful manufacturing operations management processes can also be cleared away using lean manufacturing and continuous improvement methodologies that set standards and continuously drive for increased productivity and efficiency.

#5 – Production, Inventory, Quality, and Maintenance

This catch-all category screams for effective manufacturing operations management processes. No matter the company’s manufacturing strategies or philosophies, it needs clear management oversight and control to keep operations humming along and hitting targets. The easiest way to execute those best practices is with a manufacturing execution system that enables visibility through a manufacturing operations management strategy.

Digging deeper into quality control, managers need the visibility to identify and find opportunities to reduce scrap and waste. Every decrease in waste is an increase in manufacturing productivity, predictability, efficiency, and profitability. MOM provides holistic visibility and tight monitoring through statistical process control (SPC) and proactive corrections as parts trend toward the control limits of tolerance.

Speaking of waste, manufacturing operations management extends that visibility to inventory, warehousing, logistics, maintenance, and more to control inventories efficiently and reduce waste in areas adjacent to production operations.

MOM also extends to maintenance efforts to inform predictive maintenance based on schedules, throughput, and utilization so manufacturers can further reduce downtimes. Downtime, especially unplanned, is a destroyer of manufacturing efficiency that upends schedules, saps productivity, and can even impact product quality.

How Can MOM Software Support Operations & Production Management?

MOM is a strategy that empowers manufacturers to marry ERP software, quality management system (QMS), manufacturing execution system (MES), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and other technologies for greater control and visibility in pursuit of operational excellence. Each system must be interoperable and integrated to enable enterprise-wide visibility, automation, and effectiveness.

Key Features for Systems Supporting Manufacturing Operations Management

MOM spans the operations domain, so the supporting systems and solutions must cover all areas of operations and production and those adjacent, plus enable easy data integration across the systems.

Here are a few key features to demand from the most critical supporting systems for MOM:

  • Manufacturing ERP – ERP is the foundation of manufacturing operations, so look for a solution that provides centralized, comprehensive control of end-to-end manufacturing that is built on a future-proof platform. It should also enable a 360-degree view of the entire manufacturing business, from sales and operations to service and finance.
  • MES or production control – look for deep visibility into production plans, capabilities to measure overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), and integration with other systems to drive higher levels of quality and compliance.
  • IIoT and modern technology integration – technology moves almost as fast as customers’ demands, so make sure modern tools are supported and easily integrated into a MOM approach. Also, ensure any platform is trusted, provides ample security, and constantly improves and modernizes its technologies.
  • Quality management and real-time analytics – look for the ability to gain complete visibility and control of costing from labor to materials to overhead. The quality system must also offer real-time insights to identify and remedy potential quality issues quickly.

How Can Rootstock’s ERP Manufacturing Solutions Benefit Your Manufacturing Operations Processes

Uncertainty is nothing new for manufacturers. As suppliers, partners, distributors, and customers change direction, it is critical to have the insights and agility to pivot without disrupting operations or depleting efficiency. With an eye on operational excellence, a MOM strategy brings all aspects of operations together in concert for success.

Today’s manufacturers must be forward-thinking, too, especially when selecting manufacturing technologies. The continuation of digital transformation and the fast-paced progress towards smart manufacturing amplifies the importance of technology decisions, where ERP becomes the foundation – the operating system, if you will – for MOM. In that role, it is the common data model to which other MES, IIoT, QMS, analytics, and other technologies contribute. The importance of choosing the right manufacturing operations management strategy and tools cannot be underestimated.

For all this and more, look to Rootstock Manufacturing ERP Solution as the foundation for your inventory, operations, financial, and other processes as you work towards operational excellence in manufacturing.