The construction industry is constantly evolving, utilising new tech, methods and materials to deliver a more comfortable, cost-effective and energy-efficient built-environment. When analysing progress in these areas, much emphasis is put on the construction and operational phases of a building lifecycle. Perhaps less focus, however, is placed on manufacturing processes. As Henry Ford showed the world in 1913, innovative production methods can have the power to change the course of humanity.
Ford’s moving assembly line reduced the amount of time it took to make a car. What once was a 12-hour process could now be done in little more than an hour-and-a-half. With this breakthrough, Ford made cars affordable, available to the masses, and revolutionised manufacturing forever.
Breakthroughs such as the moving assembly line come along very rarely. But here at ArcelorMittal Construction, we take inspiration from the kind of indomitable spirit that makes these breakthroughs possible. While most of the time, progress is iterative (taking small steps towards an end goal) central to our philosophy is that there is always room for improvement. Everything can be bettered. The innovator’s work is never done.
MES at ArcelorMittal Construction
One example of ArcelorMittal Construction’s constant march for progress is our adoption of MES. An MES (or Manufacturing Execution System) is a system used to track the transformation of raw materials to finished goods in production to improve output and reduce lead times.
To try and put that in more tangible terms, Florian Chevallier, ArcelorMittal Construction’s lead industrial IT engineer, describes MES as “an information system providing checks and balances, for an all-round better approach to manufacturing.”
MES has been so successful at ArcelorMittal Construction that, since first introducing it back in 2018, we have continued our enthusiastic investment in the technology, rolling it out across production lines on plants all over Europe.
Benefits to the manufacturer
Our MES brings several key benefits. Essentially, it enables us to create a constant stream of better products and deliver ever improving service. But before going into the details of how the system benefits our customers, it is necessary to outline the benefits to us.
Accuracy – “A systematic, automated approach to data capture yields maximum data with maximum accuracy,” explains Hammad Mirza, industrial excellence and change leader at ArcelorMittal Construction. “By analysing this data, and optimising our manufacturing approach accordingly, we can dramatically improve our efficiency, cutting down on unnecessary scrap, stockpiling, and production downtime.”
KPIs – With accurate data, comes effective implementation and attainment of Key Performance Indicators. Everything from overall equipment effectiveness, to quality or cycle time ratio can be analysed, with the results driving performance improvement initiatives.
Consistency – Not only does the MES deliver an optimal procedure on an individual production line, it also ensures a standardized approach throughout our operation. “The cloud-based nature of our system,” says Florian, “means that the way we manufacture a certain product in France, would be exactly the same as the way we make it anywhere else in the world. The quality of the product and the resources required to make that product are always consistent.”
Efficiency – The automated nature of our sophisticated MES helps to eliminate human error. Optimised scheduling and computer-generated work orders streamline the processing of bulk orders and, for example, minimise the risk of an item being missed off an order or delivery.
Agility – Generally speaking, the larger a company is, the more complex it is, making it harder to enact new ideas or methodologies. For many large corporations, change is a slow thing. However, the digital nature of ArcelorMittal Construction’s MES, enables us to remain agile. We can continuously review and update our systems in synchrony. So – when a new and better way of doing something becomes apparent – we can react swiftly and decisively.
Benefits to our customers
“Although not primarily customer-focussed, the benefits of ArcelorMittal Construction’s MES do filter through downstream because ultimately it allows us to deliver better quality products and customer service,” says Hammad Mirza. “For example, say there was an issue with a colour on a particular line, MES would identify and rectify that issue before a single faulty product ever left the plant.”
Higher quality products:
Quality control - Effective KPIs plus an abundance of accurate data means that production issues are less likely to occur. In the unlikely event that there is a quality issue in manufacturing, MES means that the issue would be spotted and rectified swiftly.
Agility and flexibility – ArcelorMittal Construction’s agility means that our customers receive the best possible goods, made with the most cutting-edge methods. It also allows us to be more accommodating to individual requests. We make our production experts available to our customers so that we can collaborate with them to understand the challenge, then adapt our systems accordingly and deliver bespoke solutions.
Responsive – Thanks to the efficiencies of MES, we are able to adjust production line output quickly. Therefore, we can fulfil, cancel or adapt orders at short notice, right up until the moment that production commences. For our customers, all of whom face their own challenges and pressures, this level of responsiveness is very welcome indeed.
Logistics – The digitised nature of MES means that orders and delivery fulfilment are more thorough and user-friendly for the buyer. Data relating to things like work orders, quality checks and dispatch all serve for a better customer experience.
Inspiring smarter building for a better future
Our comprehensive range of construction products exist to inspire our customers to create smarter, more sustainable and aesthetically pleasing buildings. To achieve this, we must stay restless, always pushing ourselves to improve upon our market-leading offering. Our MES is just one of the things that make this possible.