The Enterprise Food Safety Management System starts with MOM


The idea of shop floor control and data collection systems are nothing new for those involved with manufacturing technology over the years.  The first data collection systems were introduced in the early 1980’s as part of the computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) model.  Those systems solved a simple problem and preformed a simple task.  Accurately record the movement of ingredients, intermediates, and finished products as they move through the steps of manufacture.   

 The technology has evolved greatly over the years and has become mandatory for processors who seek to comply with today’s food safety certification requirements.  While obviously an important tool for food processors, many find that a stand-alone data collection system falls well short of expectations.  In recent years, technology has moved beyond data collection and raised expectations that an effective system should manage all aspects of Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM).

Example of Plex Online HMI - Control Panel

 The concept of MOM is simply defined as a methodology for viewing an end to end manufacturing process with a sharp focus on optimizing efficiency.  Today’s MOM systems not only enable the collection of shop floor data, but also provide tools for performance analysis and an innovative Human Machine Interface (HMI) far superior to the classic data collection system.  Operators can finally stop the error-prone recording of production and quality measurements in paper log books and turn to a touch-screen interface that captures and reports data in real-time.  Modern MOM systems can accurately process and record production data directly from the machine  and eliminate common operator errors.

 Once implemented a MOM system can provide performance analysis tools like Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) reporting.  The information contained in an OEE report directs process improvement teams to problematic processes or machines that should receive immediate attention.  As part of a continuous improvement initiative – OEE is valuable information that food processors can profit from.      

 Three weeks ago we participated in the 2011 Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference (click here for presentation slides).  There were many presentations given about the benefits of implementing an OEE program.  Each company had experienced significant bottom line results from capturing and analyzing this data and they were excited to share their approach.  While the benefits were significant, the method and cost of implementing an OEE program seemed complicated and expensive.  Each OEE program relied on a separate database and a spider-web of custom connections to other systems requiring an army of people to manage and maintain.  This approach may be typical to the large mulit-national food processors, but it is far from reality for most food processors.

 Are MOM and OEE simply out of the reach of most food processors, or should they expect more from technology providers?

Food processors should expect more.  Today, technology companies like Plex Systems  are delivering the solution.  Plex includes MOM and OEE as a part of its Cloud based Enterprise Food Safety Management System (FSMS).  The playing field has been leveled allowing ALL food processors to benefit from these valuable performance tools.

In the next blog entry we’ll discuss how the Plex FSMS can eliminate paper from the quality and HACCP process, bring together CCP data, inventory and production data, and provide instant traceability and recall management.


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