Five Characteristics To Look For In A Highly Effective MES

A manufacturing execution system (MES) is the foundation for just about every smart manufacturing endeavor in the modern digital and industrial age. A MES supports a number of capabilities from data collections to enterprise resource planning (ERP) interfaces and other manufacturing applications. According to or any MES to be highly effective, it must have several specific characteristics that will provide both significant capabilities and significant value. When considering different MES options, Clemons suggests you ask potential vendors about key characteristics to understand if the MES can provide the foundation for smart manufacturing.

Database – “A highly effective MES must start with a comprehensive database to capture all the critical information from the shop floor. Essentially, every piece of data related to the manufacturing operations in the four walls of a plant from the receiving dock to the shipping dock needs a place in the database. That includes materials, suppliers, customers, processes, equipment, labor, quality, maintenance, deviations, incidents and everything else that is part of the manufacturing process.”

Functionality – “The execution part of an MES must include orders, production, consumption, scheduling, quality, materials and recipes at a minimum. It also must have built-in capability for ERP integration, plus integration with other information systems, along with the ability to integrate automation and control systems through the IIoT.”

Scalability – “For companies who have multiple facilities, an MES should easily scale up to those facilities with hundreds of workers in them or scale down to those with very few workers. A highly effective MES must work across a variety of physical architectures.”

Configurable – “An MES solution can’t be custom, and it can’t be a toolkit. It must be a configurable solution built on specific out-of-the-box applications and application templates.”

Flexibility – “In a smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0 environment, manufacturing facilities change all the time — equipment is moved or added, processes are changed or added, and so on, all the time. The MES must be able to easily handle these changes. Whether it’s changes to the plant model, to the database model, to specific applications or to dashboards or analytics, MES must be flexible enough to handle these types of changes on a routine basis.”


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