How manufacturing operations management (MOM) improves operations, reduces risk

Manufacturing operations management (MOM) enables manufacturers to automatically connect with machines to collect critical data without manual inputs. Do you know how to reduce reduce the “six big losses” in manufacturing?

By Paulo de Matos December 3, 2021
Courtesy: Syspro


Learning Objectives

  • Many manufacturers still rely on manual methods for gathering data, which are slow and imprecise.
  • Manufacturing operations management (MOM) enables manufacturers to automatically connect with machines to collect critical data without manual inputs.
  • This lets manufacturers avoid potential losses such as equipment failure, reduced yield and process defects.

The COVID-19 pandemic posed new challenges to manufacturers, but, for the most part, it exposed problems that had already existed that became crises during the unique conditions of the pandemic. Case in point: analog machines and paper-based systems are still dominant in the manufacturing sector, according to a January 2021 study from Zinnov and Conexiom: “Reliance on manual processes is (still) deeply entrenched across all functions.” That reliance made it difficult, if not impossible, for most manufacturers to continue operating during the public health crisis.

Syspro’s 2020 study, “The Factory of the Future” corroborates these findings. The research looked into the inflection point for the factory of the future and exposed the danger of relying on legacy manual systems. Only 38% of manufacturing decision makers said their business systems had been adequate to cope with the disruption caused by the pandemic.

To illustrate how manual systems have proved inadequate, look at the challenges posed by compliance. In the U.S. and the EU, medical device manufacturers must establish and maintain device history records (DHR) for each batch, lot, and unit they produce. In Europe, medical device manufacturers need to comply with the European Union’s Medical Device Regulation of 2017.

These are stringent requirements, and the medical device sector is not alone in this challenge. The food and beverage industry also must keep extensive records as a measure of control and retain samples of all raw materials beyond product shelf life. For example, canned food manufacturers coat the inside of the can with a specific lacquer to protect the can’s contents from corroding the metal. A sealant also must cover any welds in the can to protect the food from the welding material and prevent corrosion from the inside out. The manufacturer also must retain records and samples of the internal lacquer and sealant at least until the shelf life of the product has expired and perhaps beyond it.

Tabulating this information and keeping these records manually is labor-intensive and time-consuming. It also comes with a risk of human error and omission, which could result in costly fines and recalls. What’s more, if these records are stored on paper, they’re inaccessible to anyone not on-site, and tabulating data from these records for reporting will cost even more time and money.

Understanding manufacturing product, packaging pain points

During the manufacturing process, frontline managers need to achieve complete visibility and control of the shop floor to prevent problems such as overruns, bottlenecks, downtime, poor employee or machine performance, and excessive scrap.  To achieve this, modern software needs to be combined with a digital strategy that ensures critical information is digitally available.

This need goes beyond complying with regulations. Manufacturers also need to keep a close eye on packaging and product performance. Quality control is an essential part of the manufacturing process in the electronics industry, for example, as it relies on batches of critical components, which are sourced from multiple suppliers and multiple locations. If a component from one supplier is of lower quality than the others, it may affect the overall quality of the final product.

For the food and beverage industry, shelf life of packaging and products must be monitored. As an illustration of its importance, consider the challenges of a company that produces peppadews, a mild pickled pepper popular in South Africa.

The company only has a three-month timeframe to harvest, process and package. In this short window of time, the manufacturer must harvest enough stock to meet all demand, process the whole harvest and pack enough products to meet the next year’s demand. The manufacturer had previously chosen to package its product into heavy duty plastic sachets, but the problem is the pH of peppadews in brine was too low for the longevity of the plastic.

Within a few months, the peppadews were eating through the seams of the sachets, ruining the packaging by the time they had reached the consumer. This supplier had no alternative supply after harvest; anything spoiled was then wasted.

To determine a shelf life for a product, a product and its packaging must be monitored under controlled conditions in a laboratory for several years. Once approved, packaging cannot be changed without redoing the tests.

Many manufacturers are automating simple jobs and relying on people to manage the remaining processes, which often places a heavy demand on human resources.  This automation may provide some benefits and increase efficiency, but these are often point solutions that do not come together to provide a clear view of the operation. Manufacturing resources need to be deployed, coordinated and managed so they help the company do what it wants without wasting resources. A holistic approach that automates data collection is best.

A sophisticated system like , integrated within the enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, supports the complete manufacturing lifecycle, without the risk of human error.

The benefits of MOM in optimizing the shop floor for increased control

A MOM solution enables manufacturers to automatically connect with machines to collect critical data without manual inputs. MOM helps manufacturers in three ways:

  1. Measures overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) performance. This refers to how well machines run and the measurement is based on a combination of uptime, speed and quality. A MOM system should not track every machine, but it should track bottlenecks or older machines.
  2. Measures overall labor performance (OLE). A lot of time and productivity is often lost through human error.
  3. Measures total effective equipment performance (TEEP), or the amount of downtime.
Manufacturing operations management (MOM) helps manufacturers with better overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), overall labor performance (OLE) and total effective equipment performance (TEEP). Courtesy: Syspro

Manufacturing operations management (MOM) helps manufacturers with better overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), overall labor performance (OLE) and total effective equipment performance (TEEP). Courtesy: Syspro

By measuring these three elements in unison, manufacturers can identify specific challenges on the shop floor and optimize operational efficiencies through the better workflow of core manufacturing activities. Improvements in OEE, OLE and TEEP help reduce the “six big losses” in manufacturing, which are:

  1. Equipment failure: Defects and failures in equipment results in downtime, financial losses, variances in inventory and a lack of quality control. This scenario can play out for several reasons, such as unplanned downtime, no available operators and even a lack of raw materials.
  2. Setup and adjustments: As the name suggests this refers to when equipment is scheduled for production but is not running due to a changeover or other equipment adjustments.
  3. Idling and minor stops: This refers to when the equipment stops for a short period of time.
  4. Reduced speed: This is when equipment operates at a slower time than the ideal cycle time.
  5. Process defects: This refers to the need to account for defective parts produced during stable (steady-state) production.
  6. Reduced yield: This refers to the defective parts produced from start up until stable (steady-state) production is reached.

The role of MOM in reducing manufacturing losses

Legacy manual systems don’t provide clear visibility into the manufacturing process, leaving manufacturers in the dark about where issues originated or where the bottleneck was occurring. MOM provides one source of data, which enables full visibility of production.

MOM can enable the organization to provide the right information to the right people at the right time so they can make better decisions about capacity analysis, work-in-process (WIP), inventory and advanced planning.

Because it creates a single, company-wide system of record, it’s easier to manage the interdependencies within production, implement continuous improvement in manufacturing operations and monitor overall quality and regulatory compliance. As a result, manufacturers can reduce waste, optimize inventory and reduce throughput time to raise efficiency, quality and customer satisfaction.

While MOM may seem like the obvious next step for manufacturers to optimize operations, many have been reluctant to move away from traditional legacy systems. The reality is the industry has reached an inflection point, where digital transformation and the need to fast track to a smarter factory are vital to remain competitive in coming months. Manufacturers should consider a MOM solution that abides to world-class manufacturing standards and is integrated into the ERP to leverage one platform to monitor and improve factory performance. This will transform how an organization manages people, equipment and processes to drive better business performance and strategic outcomes.

Paulo De Matos is chief product officer at Syspro. Edited by Chris Vavra, web content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology,


Keywords: Manufacturing operations management (MOM), enterprise resource planning


How can manufacturing operations management (MOM) improve your facility?

Author Bio: Paulo de Matos has more than 24 years of experience in ERP, serving in a number of business development and product management roles prior to becoming SYSPRO’s CPO.