Abraham Lincoln once cautioned, “We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.” Honest Abe wasn’t speaking to software providers, but there are plenty of manufacturers who wish they had been listening, having been unfortunately seduced by flashy PowerPoint presentations in lieu of proof of concept. When searching for a Manufacturing Execution System (MES), it always pays to get the proof.
Proof of Concept
A proof of concept can be a strategic first step, or the last major step before a company commits to launching an enterprise solution, allowing it to gauge whether the proposed technology meets the appropriate needs as defined in the business and technical requirements analysis. The proof process provides a valuable opportunity to test the functional and technical capabilities of the system and experience how it operates within a company’s infrastructure, alongside other programs and systems. It also provides opportunities for personnel and decision makers to gain practical experience with the solution or technology. The proof of concept is a real-life pilot demonstration and also an operational deployment strategy that facilitates critical assessments of a company’s ability to utilize the technology effectively.
Test and Refine Your Manufacturing Execution System
The proof of concept process is also a way for CIOs and their staff to test and refine a new system or integrate new technologies in a production environment before committing significant financial and human resources to full-scale implementation. It is an opportunity to address problems that present themselves to a small group of pilot test users, learning about mistakes or misunderstandings before they have an impact on the entire organization. As such, having proof of concept for your Manufacturing Execution System reduces risk and validates initial claims and estimates in terms of human and capital requirements for the IT project.
To be an effective guide for implementation, a proof of concept should be carefully designed and evaluated. The goals, objectives, scope, evaluation, and success criteria must be clearly defined up front to effectively plan, execute, and establish stakeholder expectations as well as provide actionable results to make sound decisions.
What to Expect
A proof of concept should do the following for the manufacturer considering a software solution such as a Manufacturing Execution System (MES):
- Clarify user understanding of the system or technology
- Verify the adequacy of specifications for the system or technology
- Validate the usefulness, efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness of the system(s) or technology
- Obtain end-user insights and feedback regarding impacts on day-to-day operations, processes, procedures, and citizen service delivery
- Establish resource requirements
- Sample interfaces with related systems
- Verify that the system is both operationally and technically viable and stable
- Verify the functionality, interoperability, and systems design
- Verify the systems and associated infrastructure performance
- Produce samples of all outputs
- Provide results to make sound decisions relative to full-scale implementation
Many MES providers will pitch software they haven’t yet built. They will sell the concept before they can prove it, and then have to build the solution from scratch. The proof is in the pudding, but there’s no pudding there to taste.
iBASEt’s Solumina MES is a built-out solution, commercial-off-the-shelf ready, defined by market need, self-contained, and complete with functionality that manufacturers can prove out right now. What manufacturers need when it comes to enterprise software solutions is proof, not promises.
Want to learn more? Download our Free ebook on how to choose the right Manufacturing Execution System.
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