Are people made redundant after the implementation of a MES system?

08 October 2018

A few years ago the staff of every company which invested in automation and IT solutions asked a question: will people be made redundant after the implementation? It was a concern (more or less justified), which sometimes blocked development. Today, this question is not raised so frequently any longer but some people still believe that all kinds of technological improvements of production are made to reduce the staff.

Meanwhile, the situation has changed dramatically. More and more frequently IT systems are not implemented to obtain savings related to employment, but to fill the gap in the shortage of employees. In fact, the lack of qualified people willing to work rather than too many of them has become a big problem for lot of manufacturers. A very low unemployment rate, the development of the market or growing expectations of customers are a positive trend in the social and economic dimension but from the point of view of an individual company they don’t always support growth of a business and sometimes they even make it more difficult.

In this light, systems which support managing and optimising processes shouldn’t be perceived as a threat for anyone, but as a chance of meeting expectations of customers and the company’s further development. We know well that stagnation eventually leads to bankruptcy.

Using such tools as MES, APS or CMMS can also be a way to grow a business, without the need to look for new employees when, as we know, that it is difficult to find them. A good example is Nomax Group – one of our clients.

In 2010, Nomax Group had 31 knitting machines. Two years later the MES system was implemented, which was to enable the purchase of additional machines of the same type without the need to increase employment. Thanks to appropriate using of this tool in 2013 the company could boast having 60 machines and lowering the yearly cost of their operation from PLN 225,000 per machine to PLN 98,000 per machine (!). The level of employment did not decrease – it increased. New people were employed but not as many as it would be necessary in the case of expanding the factory without the IT support. A machine’s unit operating cost was significantly lowered, and the financial result, efficiency of processes and the OEE indicator were improved. This result would not be possible without improving work, processes and performance management using the MES system. What happened later is even more interesting. We tell the whole story during referential visits at this plant.

As you can see, IT solutions in the area of production do not pose a threat for employees because they really dictate conditions to their employers. Moreover, no reasonable company can afford to lose qualified employees only because it is going to use a particular IT system. It solutions, including MES systems, are perceived by the vast majority of employers as a way to improve work and relieve employees from the most tedious tasks rather than as a way to make their personnel redundant.

Enterprises looking ahead, knowing the value of their employees try to use their potential in other areas. Manual reporting work or handling paper documentation are not creative or necessary tasks. Companies which cannot plan their development in this way and really see in a MES system an opportunity to make a part of their staff redundant, risk huge problems and business collapse.

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