It’s difficult to read any current literature covering successful manufacturing organizations without the inclusion of one (or several) of the following terms: “MES,” “Digital Transformation,” “Digitalization,” “IIOT,” “Industry 4.0.” Perhaps the most often used – and frequently misunderstood – of these is “MES.” So what is this thing manufacturers call an “MES?” Although still new in some circles, “Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)” have been around for more than 30 years. Moreover, although a history of MES exists – and standards have been established around this solution, even today there are many different interpretations for the term.
According to the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA)*, an MES is a dynamic IS application “that drives execution of manufacturing operations, and by using current and accurate data, MES guides, triggers and reports plant activities as events. […] MES provides critical information about production activities to other production related systems across the organization and supply chain via bi-directional communication. In a nutshell, MES is defined as the layer that integrates business systems with the plants control systems and is commonly referred to as integration from the shop floor to the top floor” (Govindaraju & Putra, 2016).

By function, MESA’s C-MES Model focuses on how core operations activities interact with business operations in a model that represents issues such as increased competition, outsourcing, supply chain optimization, and asset optimization.

In addition to the MESA definition, ISA-95** defines MES/Manufacturing Operations Management systems in the Level 3 of its layers model:
Understanding this model can bring a wider perspective to system integration and which information systems can be exchanged. This model is not only used as a standard of requirements but also for the selection of MES vendor and/or the development of MES systems.

Nowadays, Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) and MES are terms that are used interchangeably. Nontheless, “MOM is the evolved state of MES, and it consolidates production processes to facilitate quality management, planning and scheduling, manufacturing execution and more”. (Dutta et al., 2022).

Overall, MES/MOM are the keystone of smart manufacturing, providing shared interfaces with product lifecycle and ERP and vertical integration, enabling data flows and closed loops. As manufacturing continues to evolve, Manufacturing Execution Systems will need to evolve as well. As digital transformation becomes more commonplace in Medical Device, Diagnostics, and Biotech manufacturing, it will be vital for manufacturers to stay current on the latest technologies and functionalities that impact the efficiency and effectiveness of the manufacture.

If you have questions about digital transformation and what technologies work best for your company, please reach out to Seabrook Technology Group at any time. As Manufacturing Technology Experts, our goal is to help our customers succeed. For more information, contact Maria Giraldo at [email protected] or schedule a demo here

*Note: Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association International is a worldwide not-for-profit community of manufacturing companies, information technology hardware and software suppliers, system integrators, consulting service providers, analysts, editors, academics, and students.

**Note: ISA 95 is an international industrial communication standard to enable communication between different levels of a manufacturing enterprise. It helps data from the field, or the plant connect with enterprise systems and applications.

Govindaraju, R., & Putra, K. (2016). A methodology for Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) implementation. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, 114, 012094.

Dutta, G., Kumar, R., Sindhwani, R., & Singh, R. K. (2022). Overcoming the barriers of effective implementation of Manufacturing Execution System in pursuit of smart manufacturing in smes. Procedia Computer Science, 200, 820–832.