A personalized user experience (UX) maximizes MES value

By Eric Mitchell

A personalized user experience (UX) for each operator on your manufacturing floor would have been an infeasible fantasy just a short time ago, especially if each UX had to be updated regularly to accommodate manufacturing changes. Not only are such personalized user experiences possible today, but they are also already helping manufacturers to maximize the productivity of modern, powerful and flexible manufacturing execution systems (MES) like Opcenter Execution Discrete and Opcenter Execution Process. Mendix’s low code, multi-experience development platform is the key enabling technology for UX personalization, bringing an entirely new level of agility and productivity to the shop floor. Here is how it works and what it can do for your manufacturing operations.

What’s so great about flexible personalized user experiences?

To illustrate the value of a flexible personalized user experience on the shop floor, consider as an example the plant of a mid-size automotive manufacturer, which may have up to 200 different operator terminals. The advanced power and functionality of Opcenter Execution Discrete provides each operator with all the guided tasks, visual instructions, behind-the-scenes track and trace activities, error proofing, and more to complete assigned tasks accurately and efficiently. Some of the 200 user interfaces are standard out-of-the-box (OOTB) implementations of the MES while others in the past would have been tailored by IT and software specialists for the particular processes and tasks of a specific station.

What happens when this manufacturer introduces a new product, procedure, or machine? To maintain operator accuracy and efficiency, a large portion of the 200 operator terminals may require an update of the user interface – but the time and expense of IT development are impractical. What now?

By combining Opcenter Execution Discrete with low code technology from Mendix, this manufacturer equips floor personnel who are non-IT specialists to modify personalized user interfaces to their individual requirements.

The same can be accomplished with Opcenter Execution Process and Mendix, keeping personalized user interfaces up to date by a consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturer, for example. In either case, embedded low code capabilities provide a visual, model-driven way to build and deploy customized user interfaces.

How to build a personalized user interface with low code

To enable UX personalization, Opcenter Execution now offers OOTB UX templates. Each template can be used as it is, providing an OOTB user experience, or it can be used as a prepackaged baseline application that serves as a starting point. The template can be customized to address a user’s needs through a few simple visual steps using low code assembly tools:

  • Snippets and widgets are tools that simplify and speed up screen creation starting from a set of reusable building blocks. These are graphical components and modular pieces of the UX created in Opcenter Execution.
  • App services provide domain-specific sets of capabilities. For example, a 3D viewer app enables the user to view CAD drawings much like one would within the CAD program – rotating, zooming in, etc.
  • Connectors enable users to extend a workflow or experience beyond a normal MES scope.

With low code personalization for Opcenter Execution, low code capabilities are embedded within the MES development toolset, enriching the development experience. As a user employs these tools, Mendix performs the data extraction and workflow generation processes for the UX behind the scenes, thus eliminating the need for high-level coding. In meantime, the MES itself continues to host and power data model definitions and business logic implementations.

Benefits of UX personalization

UX personalization supports a human-centric approach to digitalization. That is, it makes your operator’s work easier by adapting the user interface, rather than making the operator do the adapting to a static UX.

Modern MES solutions like Opcenter Execution Discrete and Opcenter Execution Process offer manufacturers a state-of-the-art platform on which they can increase manufacturing efficiency and flexibility, and at the same time ensure consistently high quality. By supporting these rich capabilities with the Mendix low code platform for UX building, a powerful MES becomes even more powerful, enabling your team to personalize their user experience efficiently and without specialized IT skills.

To learn more about the benefits of a personalized user interface for each of your operators, check out our whitepaper: Unleash the power of low-code capabilities on top of a rich and mature MES platform.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at