What is a Manufacturing Execution System (MES)?

2022-07-25

When it comes to the manufacturing industry, staying ahead of the competition can be tricky. You may have the best product on the market, but without a scalable platform to lend a hand, your product is worth as much as the next.

An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is typically the starting point for most companies, as it automates core business processes as well as plans, budgets, and predicts all your organization’s financial reports.

However, an ERP for manufacturing is just the beginning. It may be solving your supply chain issues and providing acute performance indicators, but what about your plant floor? Are you really tracking viable data from production to finished goods? Or are you losing profitability due to unknown circumstances?

If there’s an obvious gap in your shop floor data collection, an MES, or rather a Manufacturing Execution System is highly recommended.

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What is a manufacturing
execution system (MES) ?

The manufacturing process is highly complex and requires a powerful platform to ensure all procedures are executed in a controlled manner. A manufacturing execution system (MES) collects, integrates, and analyzes the data of your factory floor from beginning to end.

The complete production lifecycle is tracked by real-time – and highly accurate – data from the customer order until the delivery stage. For example, the moment the operation begins with cutting metal for a desk to the work in progress (WIP) to the delivery at an office building, an MES provides clear and concise information on each phase.

A full understanding of what occurs on the plant floor not only optimizes the production, but allows executives to make decisions at the drop of a hat, which ultimately facilitates the company’s growth and scalability.

Manufacturing companies who specialize in products that are made-to-order, engineer-to-order, or configure-to-order will benefit from MES due to the fact that they don’t start production until an order has been placed. Having a functional integration that provides an extra layer between a manufacturing ERP software and the controlled processes on the factory floor is critical for customized orders.

How can a MES
help your business?

There really is nothing better than real-time workflow visibility, flexibility, and an optimal outlook on how to improve manufacturing operations. So, let’s take a deeper look at what exactly an MES does for the manufacturing industry.
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Operations Management

Never fall under the spell of miscommunication again. A comprehensive view of production orders and routing ensures errors are avoided and the team is heading in the same direction.

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Dispatching Production Units

Forget about getting lost in inaccurate and unusable reports. You’ll have full control over all data between your ERP and shop floor in real-time.
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Product Tracking

The time for compliance is now. Whether it’s raw material or product assembly, you will have full access to the corresponding manufacturing data.
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Data Performance

All the essential business data right at your fingertips. Should you lose any information? Don’t worry, all data is easily recoverable. Not to mention, the ability to consolidate data allows users to calculate KPIs and discover improvements and successes.
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Document and Resource Control

Throw away all your filing cabinets, folders, and papers. It’s over. Simply provide your users with the necessary access to all the information. Instructions, drawings, notes are available within the system. This also ensures all resources and statuses are tracked throughout the process.
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Maintenance and Process Management

Stay up to date with machine maintenance and put unnecessary interruptions in the past, all while keeping up with production traceability.
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Labor and Quality Management

The idea of having the right people in the right place is often overlooked. With MES, you can make sure your employees are where they need to be throughout the processes. You’ll also be able to manage the quality of each process at the same time.

Curating the right solution for your business involves a lot of time and money. That being said, there is no way you can lose with the proper technology in place.

“Epicor recognized as a MES leader in the plastics and rubber category”

According to ARC Advisory Research 

MES and ERP:
The Perfect Fit

While both an MES and an ERP are manufacturing enterprise solutions, they’re two completely different platforms that complement each other, especially when it comes to manufacturing production.

An ERP software houses all the necessary core functionalities a business needs to run, from finance to human resources to sales. Its comprehensive system has a limitless capacity to provide users with real-time data to make informed decisions on the spot. There are many ERP providers on the market and are typically suitable for most, if not, all industries. Depending on your organization’s goals and objectives, you can add integrations and customizations that better suit your industry vertical.

Enter MES. It’s a system designed solely for manufacturing businesses and integrates the shop floor (production, machinery, etc.) with that of your business processes (logistics, supply chain, etc.). MES supersizes your backend operations and provides you with the missing binoculars to have an explicit view on all enterprise activity.

Whether your industry is aerospace, fabricated metals, or furniture and fixtures, – among others – finding the right solution is no easy task. A key player, like Epicor Kinetic, is a Cloud-based ERP solution designed for the manufacturing industry. Throughout the years, they have learned all about the challenges faced by manufacturers and spent time working on the ultimate solution.
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MES and your business:
Do you need it?

It’s important to note that like technology in general, it’s not everyone. A business is unique and has its own needs and requirements. For example, a local mom and pop store would not need an MES as their supply and demand as well as profitability are just not enough to justify a new system.

As is the case with most software purchases, a company must weigh the pros and cons and come to the conclusion: is it really worth it?

A full understanding of what occurs on the plant floor not only optimizes the production, but allows executives to make decisions at the drop of a hat, which ultimately facilitates the company’s growth and scalability.

Manufacturing companies who specialize in products that are made-to-order, engineer-to-order, or configure-to-order will benefit from MES due to the fact that they don’t start production until an order has been placed. Having a functional integration that provides an extra layer between a manufacturing ERP software and the controlled processes on the factory floor is critical for customized orders.

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