Published By - Brian Curtis

MES in the Cloud

Manufacturing Execution System (MES)

The term Manufacturing Execution System (MES) was originally coined to encompass intelligent controllers often called System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), shop-floor data collection, quality management systems and granular scheduling functions (work sequencing and intra-day scheduling).

An entire ecosystem grew up around this idea, with devices, sensors and applications communicating with each other, largely separated from the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) business systems. In the best of situations, ERP-generated production schedules and pick lists would be downloaded into the MES and activity reports and uploaded back into ERP. This was a less-than-ideal
situation.

An MES comprises detailed plant floor data and activities and, as such, can be self-contained for day-to-day operations. However, information to and from ERP, such as schedules, priorities, inventory and master data must be shared with the Manufacturing Execution System. Integration is crucial.

With disconnected systems, batch data transfer may be the primary mechanism but greatly limits the timeliness of communication between the office and the plant – in both directions.

Over the years, both MES and ERP expanded their scope and coverage to the point where the dividing lines between what functions and capabilities properly reside in MES and which belong in ERP became indistinct. Is quality management a part of MES or is it an integral function of ERP? How about scheduling, tooling and maintenance?

Both ERP and MES have a role to play in these functions, and there is a logical integration point for tying them together. In a fully integrated system, this is a non-issue. For separate ERP and MES, the integration between the systems becomes a critical factor.

Many companies find their preferred solutions for ERP and MES from different suppliers, or they integrate point solutions together for specific functions (best-of-breed approach).

Internally integrated MES (full-function MES solutions designed to work together as an integrated solution) provides the needed functionality and eliminates the difficult interfacing of multiple systems and the less-than integral results.

This white paper examines the evolution of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and explains why the cloud is the best platform for synchronization of MES with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Learn what to look for in best-of-class cloud MES solutions, including:

  • A common production ecosystem that supports a single source of data
    in real time
  • End-to-end, detailed traceability tying inventory and production with quality
  • Cloud deployment, built for integration to ERP
  • Support of local operations for individual plants that integrate seamlessly
    with corporate ERP systems

Typically, ERP systems do not provide comprehensive MES capabilities and
attempts to add them may be cumbersome. See how manufacturers are being
more competitive with a strategic technology investment on the shop floor.

Download Resource

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