Pico MES, a manufacturing execution system (MES) software company, is getting a leg up from investors to enable digital transformation for small to medium-sized American factories. Since its founding in 2019, Pico MES has integrated 10,000 processes into digital data streams from over 700 workstations and connected over 1,900 devices to its platform.
New factory construction spending has more than doubled over the past year in the U.S. due to both a surge of funding and tax incentives from recently enacted laws, such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and CHIPS Act and the need to accelerate our clean energy transition. However, most manufacturers are having trouble meeting increased production demand because they lack transparency in their systems, with a majority of factories still tracking operations via clipboards and spreadsheets. Additionally, 98% of U.S. manufacturers are small to medium, with 500 or fewer employees.
“Over 85 percent of our factory floor runs through Pico MES, which has allowed us to scale at the rapid rate needed to meet the growing demand for fast electric vehicle chargers across the country and around the globe,” said Glen Casey, COO of Tritium, a global leader in direct current (dc) fast chargers for electric vehicles. “With Pico MES digitizing our assembly lines, we can track our processes, validate quality control, and quickly implement stations to get dc fast chargers to market before competitors. This is critical for our business as we continue to boost production and maintain our position as a leading manufacturer of universal dc fast chargers in the U.S.”
Founded in Brisbane, Australia, more than 20 years ago, Tritium holds the leading market share for universal dc fast chargers in the United States and opened its largest manufacturing facility to date in Tennessee last year. At peak capacity, the company’s Tennessee facility will be capable of producing up to 30,000 units annually.
Pico MES is designed for the average factory worker — connecting the tools and machines with the people who use them, measuring shop-floor processes, and digitizing assembly lines. Additionally, its affordable, no-code platform is exponentially faster than today’s analog methods and has an open API for connection to other critical systems on the shop floor. Pico MES is also fast to deploy, enabling remote installations in just hours.
“Digital manufacturing solutions provide massive efficiency gains for enterprises but have often ignored mid-size factories due to smaller sizes and budgets,” said Ryan Kuhlenbeck, co-founder and CEO of Pico MES. “American manufacturing cannot succeed without the supply base of mid-size factories. Pico MES connects these factories with their OEM customers, enabling visibility up and down the supply chain and creating a new level of efficiency gains for all.”
Digitizing labor-intensive product processes also helps U.S. factories compete with those overseas. The current status quo to track manufacturing processes uses pen and paper — creating errors, inefficiencies, and data silos. With Pico MES, manufacturers can look into any workstream, implement proven solutions to address challenges and maximize production. Factories that are optimized for success also increase career opportunities and boost local economies.
“In order for factories to remain competitive they need to digitize their labor‐intensive production setups,” said Ingo Ramesohl, managing director of Bosch Ventures. “Bosch has a large network of suppliers and like many enterprises drives towards increased transparency in the deeper supply chains. Pico MES emerges as the catalytic force and has the potential to set new standards for transparency, collaboration, and operational excellence for all stakeholders within this ecosystem.”
After spending nearly two decades at General Motors, Tesla, and Alta Motors, Kuhlenbeck and his co-founders Geoff Bucks and Zac Nelson started Pico MES because they experienced first-hand the frustrations between supplier and manufacturer. The founding team recognized most inefficiencies were due to poor access to data and created Pico MES as a mid-market manufacturing execution system.
Since its launch in 2019, Pico MES has been deployed in dozens of factories that operate as Tier 1, 2, or Tier 3 suppliers to larger OEMs in the EV, aerospace, and battery industries. This new round of funding will help expand Pico MES’ solution to more factories and advance its vision of creating connected supply chains for American manufacturing.