IT in Manufacturing

Preach what you practice

January 2023 IT in Manufacturing

Participating in the panel discussion on Sustainable Manufacturing – Planet | People | Partnerships at the recent MESA Africa Summit from left to right: Jan Robberts, Co Founder/Director, Ki Leadership Institute; Vinesh Maharaj, Associate Director, Smart Manufacturing – PwC South Africa; Dhevan Pillay, Group CEO, LTM Energy (Pty) Ltd; Quintin McCutcheon, Global Marketing Director, Anglophone Africa, Schneider Electric; Gina Schroeder, Engineer & Lead Project Developer, LWS Family.
Participating in the panel discussion on Sustainable Manufacturing – Planet | People | Partnerships at the recent MESA Africa Summit from left to right: Jan Robberts, Co Founder/Director, Ki Leadership Institute; Vinesh Maharaj, Associate Director, Smart Manufacturing – PwC South Africa; Dhevan Pillay, Group CEO, LTM Energy (Pty) Ltd; Quintin McCutcheon, Global Marketing Director, Anglophone Africa, Schneider Electric; Gina Schroeder, Engineer & Lead Project Developer, LWS Family.

Schneider Electric made a resounding statement of intent across the manufacturing landscape in 2021 when it leaped from 29th in Corporate Knights’ annual global 100 list of most sustainable corporations, right into first place. What makes this rapid progress all the more remarkable is that the company’s sustainable manufacturing portfolio was not so much ‘created’, as it grew organically out of Schneider’s internal ESG (environmental, social and governance) initiatives to lessen its impact on the environment.

This came to light during a discussion between SA Instrumentation & Control and Schneider Electric South Africa’s Quintin McCutcheon (global marketing director – Anglophone Africa), Vikash Rampathi (segment marketing leader) and Johan Potgieter (industrial software leader).

The conversation took place at the MESA Africa Year End International Summit 2022 held on 16-17 November in Johannesburg, where Schneider Electric was the Platinum sponsor. Although ESG is a separate discipline, with its own set of risks and rewards, it goes hand in hand with MESA Africa’s domain of MES and MOM (manufacturing execution systems and manufacturing operation management). Defined as software for optimising manufacturing processes by monitoring, tracking, documenting and controlling the entire production lifecycle, MES is a key enabler for sustainability in the manufacturing sector – after all, how can you accurately measure your environmental impact if you can’t quantify these key metrics through a centralised supply chain platform like an MES?

Needless to say, Schneider takes MES seriously: it recently signed an agreement to acquire the remaining shares of British MES specialist, Aveva, of which it currently owns 59%. It therefore came as no surprise that Aveva was front and centre of Schneider Electric’s display at the MESA Africa conference, featuring a live demonstration showing delegates how Aveva’s MES can provide deep and actionable insights into their supply chains, in real time.

The magic ingredients

Citing its completeness of vision and ability to execute, Gartner lauded Aveva’s MES as a leader in its field by giving it a spot in its ‘2022 Magic Quadrant for Manufacturing Execution Systems’ – the third year in a row that it has earned this distinction.

“Our positioning in the Magic Quadrant for Manufacturing Execution Systems by Gartner for the third consecutive year validates our ability to help customers gain exceptional value from their manufacturing systems and investments. In the post-pandemic business landscape, manufacturers’ ability to operate in an agile and resilient way, in the face of massive and unpredictable disruptions to demand and supply networks, is key. We continue to leverage the latest technology (both on-premise and in the cloud) to enable the optimisation and integration of business planning and manufacturing execution into a single digital pane,” said Rob McGreevy, Aveva’s executive vice president of operations business.

In the report, Gartner defines manufacturing execution systems (MES) as “a specialist class of production-oriented software that manages, monitors and synchronises the execution of real-time physical processes involved in transforming raw materials into intermediate and/or finished goods.” Over and above the software that forms the ‘nuts and bolts’ of an MES solution, Schneider Electric encourages customers to take maximum advantage of its consulting services and the development of a comprehensive digital roadmap strategy, as the first steps to ensuring the success of any MES implementation.

As just one element of its portfolio, the scalable and modular Aveva Production Management platform enables increased profitability, agility and competitiveness by:

• Calculating true process performance KPIs for monitoring, reporting and analysis, to continuously improve operational efficiency and asset utilisation.

• Modelling your entire value chain, highlighting areas of quantity and quality concern before they propagate downstream, allowing you to rapidly adjust your operations to reduce penalties, and providing opportunities to take advantage of the spot market.

• Democratising the sustainability commitment to your operations, enabling your entire workforce – from the control room to the boardroom – to immediately identify adverse sustainability and environmental events, take corrective actions, and coordinate root cause analysis for continuous improvement.

This expansive and integrated value proposition allows for building a digital twin of the plant and the processes, which helps to improve plant productivity and throughput by up to 5-10%, reduce energy consumption by up to 16% as well as eliminate up to 25% of waste, making manufacturing operations more efficient and sustainable.


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