Build or Buy? 5 Reasons to Partner with an Established MIS/MES Provider

During the first half of 2023, 56 food and drink companies went into administration, constituting 9% of the total UK administrations for this year according to Food Manufacture. The manufacturing sector has been under significant cost pressures over the past three years due to Brexit, the pandemic, and the war in Ukraine.

Companies are actively seeking ways to enhance productivity and reduce production costs. Many IT departments have begun developing in-house software solutions to reduce costs, rather than making additional investments to purchase external MIS/MES systems.

If cost savings are your goal, creating your own software solution is often not the best route to take. Here’s why (in fact 5 Whys, together with 5 Why Nots):

1. Uncertain Risks and Costs

Developing an in-house system presents great risks of exceeding the project’s scope, budget, and timelines, which could even threaten to put the business into administration. McKinsey revealed that more than 50% of IT projects exceed their budget by 45%, surpass their scheduled timeline by 7%, and fall short of delivering 56% of the predicted value. Worryingly, around 17% of IT projects deteriorate to such an extent that they imperil the very survival of the company.

….but when you choose a partner

Choosing an off-the-shelf MIS/MES solution that can be customised to your specific business needs emerges as a wiser strategy. This approach not only helps conserve valuable time, financial resources, and risk, but it can also play a crucial role in preventing potential pitfalls.

2. Restricted Integration and Scalability

Your IT department might not cover all operational improvement areas within complex factory operations. Developing homegrown systems could lead to multiple research areas, consuming time and capital. For instance, while your IT department might focus on creating a production performance tracking dashboard, addressing energy usage becomes another crucial requirement.

….but when you choose a partner

Highly developed and well proven MIS/MES like Harford’s scales across the entire factory, providing real-time data for instant performance adjustments. All production-related information, such as quality, performance, energy usage, labour, and wastage, is available within a single real-time system. This empowers your operators to make immediate adjustments to enhance performance.

3. Constrained Significance of Real-Time Data Analytics

While your IT department might develop a dashboard to track OEE (a very simple calculation at worst), can actionable insights be derived from the data? Does a drop in OEE from 65% to 40% hold significance for your operators? What steps can your operators take in response? It’s likely that in-house software might not be able to provide the necessary root cause analysis required for data-driven actions.

….but when you choose a partner

Harford’s end-to-end MIS/MES, real-time information is displayed across integrated networks and large TV screens in the production area, allowing you to monitor and trace every aspect of your production processes, from raw materials to finished products. We provide the granularity that you need to drill down to the root cause of your downtime. Both managers and operators can act immediately, based upon real-time actionable information, without the guesswork.

4. Lacking Maintenance and Support

When building a system in-house, staff training becomes essential.  Employee turnover is a common occurrence in any business, making it difficult to maintain a clear record of the system’s development and how to address potential future errors. If an error arises, your IT department might face uncertainty about whom to consult.

….but when you choose a partner

Opting for a dedicated solution provider offers the expertise and support you require. We provide 24/7 local support across 6 continents: Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Our engineers are often situated near your factory, ensuring rapid response to your needs. In cases where errors can’t be resolved remotely, we are prepared to visit your site and assist.

5. Continuous Improvement Demands Substantial Investment

While building software in-house, your IT department might create essential add-ons and integrations, adapting to emerging challenges and technological advancements. This demands ongoing investment in research and development, with no assurance of each add-on adding value. Some companies find it challenging to stay current with technology, leading to reduced market share or potential bankruptcy.

….but when you choose a partner

Working with a solution supplier helps save these costs, allowing you to concentrate on your core business. At Harford, we allocate 35% of turnover each year to research and develop our MIS/MES systems, based on customer needs and market demands. We have expanded our solutions including LIMS, energy tracking, labour wastage and monitoring, adding to our existing successful solutions.

The continuous development of our performance improvement systems for over 55 years keeps us at the leading edge of real-time factory floor MES technology. No other single company has created such an impressively integrated set of production modules which so seamlessly work together to form the most comprehensive picture of factory performance.

Success Stories: Real Results and Tangible Savings

Don’t just take our word for it. Look at what our customers have said:

“One year after implementation and Harford has supported us in reducing our bottling losses to less than 0.1% and has taken our overall end to end liquid losses down by more than 50%. This alone has delivered sufficient savings back to the business to pay for Harford. Plus, we now have the added benefit of seeing real-time performance data, that is beginning to yield greater efficiencies on our production lines, as a result of our ability to identify and tackle the biggest causes of downtime.”  — Tony Brewerton, Plant Director, Loch Lomond Distillers

By installing the Harford system and utilising it efficiently, we can help you save on production costs without any additional capex requirements beyond the initial cost of the Harford system itself. Given the proven effectiveness of Harford MIS/MES, why invest in developing an in-house solution that might not yield results?

“Success is not mandatory, neither is survival.” Edwards Deming

Choose a Cost-Effective Approach

Opting for a reliable solution supplier is much more cost-effective for your factories, offering benefits like risk and cost monitoring, advanced functionality scalable across your entire factory, real-time drill-down data insights, maintenance, support and future readiness. To learn more about the power of Harford’s End-to-End MIS/MES, get in touch with our Business Improvement Managers to help us understand your performance objectives.

Share your thoughts to Info@harfordcontrol.com or give us a call on +44 (0) 1225 764461