1. When speaking about digital transformation and implementation of solutions, there are often questions regarding Customizable Solutions that will enable a higher degree of personalization,


2. An Out-of-the-Box (OOTB) Solution that will enable a certain level of configuration.

How an organization answers these questions will determine greatly the success and the strategy of the implementation. MES solutions are not the exception and therefore we need to know the differences and benefits each of these solution options bring to the table:

Custom (Toolkit) Solutions
Always, customizable or “toolkit solutions,” that usually come in the form of libraries of codes, take approximately 12 to 18 months to implement as they are built from the “ground up,” taking into account the organization’s specific processes, thus making the time of design, testing and of the validation process of the system much longer and, therefore, much more expensive. In terms of the design of the MES solution, there will be a greater need to agree on the roadmap of the solution. If a thorough discussion and “roadmap building” exercise is not done beforehand, the organization is potentially facing an unsuccessful deployment and ambiguity in its return on investment (ROI).

Importantly, the total cost of ownership (TCO) will increase due to the extra costs incurred during the solution deployment. Because of this, the toolkit MES solutions are better used in manufacturing organizations that have very unique and special processes.

Out of the Box Solutions
On the other hand, OOTB solutions take approximately 3 to 6 months to implement, as there is already pre-configuration in the form of templates. Approximately 90% of current MES vendors sell OOTB solutions, all of them using different percentages of pre-configuration.

How are these MES vendors different? What truly differentiates one OOTB MES solution vendor from another is the preconfigured templates that they use (usually coming in the form of industry templates or the recommended features for a certain industry). However, some vendors will have more direct expertise in one industry or another and know the real pain-points and challenges those organizations in that particular industry face.

In terms of maintenance and upgrades, OOTB MES solutions are more efficient due to the level of configuration vs. customizable MES systems, which are more complex when adding new features or enhancing the security.

In conclusion, there isn’t one “ideal Solution process” that is inherently superior. Each organization will have to decide which approach to take as it relates to their specific needs. As previously said, some organizations will decide to implement the customizable solution because they have very unique and special processes that are not replicated within an industry, and therefore they will have a need to afford the resources requirements for this type of solution. Other organizations, on the other hand, may have the flexibility to implement an OOTB solution that has the best percentage of pre-configuration for them and that meets their requirements and a product roadmap fit for them.

Interested in exploring an OOTB MES solutions for the Medical Device and Biotechnology Industries?

Visit our Digital Manufacturing Cloud solution webpage Seabrook’s Digital Manufacturing Cloud is a cloud-based MES solution that is easily scalable while enabling organizations to become paperless and achieve operational excellence without having to invest up-front capital in IT capabilities.