Successful refactoring of critical manufacturing systems

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are key building blocks when it comes to digitalizing manufacturing. They provide the data needed to efficiently plan, manage, and optimize workflows. Our expertise enables you, to leave inflexible legacy software behind and step up to a scalable solution – to a powerful tool that allows you to take full advantage of the potential of Industry 4.0.

Titelbild Erfolgreiches Refactoring kritischer Produktionssysteme

The MES, a key asset in the smart factory

The manufacturing execution system (MES) is becoming an increasingly important asset in smart factories as the data collection and processing hub. It serves to manage and monitor production lines, enables flexible scheduling, and provides the tools to efficiently use resources and optimize processes. An MES paired with an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system can provide deep insight into manufacturing efficiency and quality, and help align production and value creation processes.

Challenge: A lack of flexibility

Many companies’ MES are outdated. Unable to execute business processes from end to end, they cannot deliver the performance required by a complex systems landscape. Maintaining and servicing these outmoded systems costs a lot of time and money. The options for extending legacy ecosystems are limited or prohibitively expensive.

Aufnahme durch Glas in einer modernen Fabrik: Weiblicher Projektleiter im Gespräch mit einem männlichen Wirtschaftsingenieur, der an einem Personal Computer arbeitet.

Monolithic architectures – not easy to adapt

Commonplace until just a few years ago, monolithic architectures often incur high maintenance costs. The larger they are, the more time and effort it takes to adapt these architectures because every change, revision, or error affects the entire use case. This impact extends to testing and availability.

Outdated programming languages and operating systems hamper development efforts. The prerequisites for Industry 4.0 use cases such as connectivity and real-time data transmission were not priorities – or any concern at all – when these systems were built. They also lack the tooling for simple syntax checks and source code documentation.

Grafik zu Technologische Innovation und Prozessautomatisierung.

Evolved processes and IT landscapes

Advancements and modifications made over time compound this problem. Processes and IT landscapes in general have grown more complex. Many companies have all but transformed their systems by adding custom programming and connecting it to numerous IT subsystems and databases. Operating these heterogeneous IT infrastructure landscapes, which have burgeoned over time, is expensive.

The bottom line: Companies seeking to reduce maintenance effort and tap the potential of Industry 4.0 use cases have to adopt a manageable, future-proof MES and integrate their systems. And they will have to tackle highly complex technological and organizational issues if they want to keep their assets up and running 24/7.

Solution: An agile transition to an end-to-end solution

We make the complexity manageable and implement a robust MES system with 24/7 operation.

eine Frau und ein Mann arbeiten in einem Workshop

Before replacing legacy software, we analyze the status quo and develop a transition strategy to fit the given needs. We determine, specify, and test needs using state-of-the-art requirement engineering methods. A holistic transition strategy sets out exactly what has to be done: Break tasks down into manageable work packages. Keep all departments involved throughout the effort. Prepare people on the job for the new technologies.

We conduct architecture workshops with stakeholders to identify suitable technologies while factoring functional and nonfunctional requirements into the equation. Then we evaluate subordinate solutions for each function and develop the overall architecture. Operating the legacy system in parallel, we incrementally roll out new components to replace the old. The outcome is a tailored edge cloud architecture with standard platform components and customized micro-services. Customers can then operate this architecture economically, develop it further as they see fit, and connect other sites at will. The database technologies, choice of vendors, and licensing models are tailored to each customers’ requirements. Smooth, easy startup is assured with a smart rollout strategy.

Added value: A flexible MES

The result is a scalable, future-proof, data integration platform based on state-of-the-art, native cloud technologies. It provides homogeneous data from a central source, reduces maintenance effort, and increases availability. This brings end-to-end transparency to business processes. And that, in turn, boosts quality and productivity, enables new business models, and empowers customers to respond that much faster to changes on the market.


Icon Entwicklungscheckliste

A scalable and future-proof MES

Icon Steigerung mit Pfeil

Lower maintenance effort, higher availability

Grünes Icon digitale Fabrik

Smart factory enabler