Premium forest machinery quality and production efficiency through a modern MES

As a global leader in the manufacturing of forest harvesters and other forest machinery, Ponsse was recently exploring solutions to replace its dated manufacturing execution system (MES). 

Case Solita and Ponsse: Premium forest machinery quality and production efficiency through a modern MES

MES is a core component, responsible for managing the Finland-based company’s forest machinery production execution and shop floor operations. Solita was selected as the Ponsse partner to plan and implement a new and modernised MES, while conveying Ponsse as the forerunner it is in the digitalisation of the forest machinery industry.

Benefits of new Ponsse MES:

  • Modern effective and flexible system to manage production.

  • Consistent and standardised high-quality products.

  • Operational excellence for streamlined and optimised production phases.

  • Real-time overview with reporting and visualisation capabilities.

  • Ability to gather and utilise production data for new services.

  • Production-critical data safely secured and stored in the cloud.

An end-to-end fully tailored solution

Ponsse’s forest machinery manufacturing and servicing touches on numerous units and requires many phases, including assembly, parts manufacturing, prototype development, logistics and testing. A readily-available commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) MES solution that was able to provide all the needs of the various phases involved was not an option. This is because Ponsse’s customer-centric and highly-customisable forest machinery products require a flexible MES adjusted to Ponsse’s specific needs.

Setting itself apart from other MES providers, Solita took a human-first methodology — from an end-user experience to service design — which aligns seamlessly with Ponsse’s roots and its people-first approach to employees and customers.

Using the modern tools of our new MES, we now have numerous data collection capabilities, which brings even more value to our factory-operations. These data touch points will continue to facilitate workflow improvements into the future for us at Ponsse.

Miika Soininen Director, Digital Services and IT, Ponsse

Cloud technologies for a more hybrid approach to data

While MES products have traditionally had a reputation of being antiquated and rigid, when it comes to IT technology and architecture, the Ponsse MES solution has been achieved through a different approach, leveraging the most modern technologies available on the market today.

The IT infrastructure of Ponsse’s new MES delivers an established and modern architecture that supports hybrid, cloud-based scenarios.

Ponsse factories and structures are required to operate and function, even in cases when cloud connectivity is inaccessible. Therefore, they cannot rely entirely on a cloud-based system to be up and running 100% of the time, although for data collection it is able to rely on the cloud.

With a hybrid scenario, Solita has created a modernised setup and process for Ponsse to run its production-critical system partially in the cloud, and not merely on premises.

By applying the cloud for data storage and analysis, Ponsse is well positioned to increase its production efficiency and improve its product quality in the years to come.

Setting a new standard with higher-quality products

By standardising Ponsse’s assembly work phase, the new MES results in more effective production standards and higher-quality products for its customers.

This quality is a direct result of a sizable reduction in errors, while deviations are discovered immediately — and in some cases even forecast ahead of time — as factory workers are submitting all phases and information directly to the MES in real-time.

Truly at the foundation of everything Ponsse offers its customers

Ponsse puts the future of forestry at the forefront and advocates the cut-to-length method for more responsible and sustainable forestry, while reducing hazards, costs and emissions. As the core of manufacturing over thousand forest harvesters each year, the Ponsse MES is a mission-critical system for its factory.

With a functioning and modern MES, Ponsse is now able to properly collect, organise and systemise the overwhelming amounts of data. It’s also responsible for holding the steps and processes for its various stakeholders across the company, including sustainability, factory leadership, quality management, personnel, safety, business, and sales.

The modern reporting and visualisation capabilities of the MES provide key intelligent data and information to production management and employees about the state of Ponsse products, production work and performance. It also organically interfaces with the recently-developed Ponsse Data Platform, where it forwards this data and is utilised to combine data from different sources.

Implementing a newly tailored and modernised MES for Ponsse was the result of a true partnership and commitment between Solita and Ponsse’s team of professionals, from Ponsse management, supply chain, factory operations and IT experts.

Marko Suojasto Account Executive, Solita

Value is in the data

With the collection of countless data points, a just on time inventory system method enables Ponsse to ensure equipment, supplies and raw-material orders are directly synced with its warehouse production schedules to even the smallest detail. This approach to operational excellence also eliminates the disturbances of broken equipment, missing parts, and the element of surprise in replacing eroded tools.

As a strategic partner, Solita has also collaborated with Ponsse to deliver new data and API platforms, that have helped establish a firm foundation to support the digitalisation of Ponsse’s future business and operations.

Technologies: Agile software development and DevOps, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Service Fabric technology, Microsoft .NET Core technology

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