What is the Manufacturing Execution System? MES Benefits, Architecture & Core Functions!

While market demand pressurizes manufacturers to improve production efficiencies every day, the manufacturing execution system provides a smart structure for real output execution. Factors like reducing scrap, increasing uptime, and lower costs are the topmost reasons why the MES software market is set to hit $24,344 million by 2025.

Of course, COVID-19 is another factor that you can’t ignore. It turns out to be an accelerator for digitization in many fields that had slowed down before. So, those manufacturers who have already extended digital capabilities to support remote operations have fared better than others. Do you also need to digitize your operation to avoid disruption in the future? Let’s get started with a strategy for your on-premise manufacturing solutions.

What is the Manufacturing Execution System (MES)?

A manufacturing execution system (MES) is an information system that connects, records, and manages the factory floor of dynamic manufacturing processes and data flows. The primary objective of an MES is to ensure the successful execution of manufacturing activities and to increase production performance.

A standard MES provides customized data on the manufacturing lifecycle, starting with the release of orders until the finished goods distribution point of the commodity. Like any piece of software, a production solution also comes with a whole bunch of functions, benefits, and workflow that helps business goals. So let’s start with your interest first which is MES benefits.

Benefits of Manufacturing Execution Systems

Benefits of Manufacturing Execution System

  1. Real-Time Visibility

    Real-time visual MES data empowers teams, fostering openness, accountability, and responsiveness as it provides,

    • User-friendly dashboards
    • A real-time view for shift supervisors
    • Increased focus on driving plant performance for production managers

    It also enables line operators to operate better and adapt faster when difficulties occur in work orders and process data management.

  2. Standard Operations

    MES offers a mechanism for single and multi-site manufacturers to automate business operations by standardizing procedures like,

    • Routings and workflows to ensure control
    • Health and safety procedures to ensure the security
    • Up to date documentation on the line

    With that, an open-source manufacturing execution system ensures that everyone acts in the same manner across all plants in multi-site organizations, to prevent duplication and miscommunication.

  3. Reduce Operational Costs

    MES allows for improved regulation and cost-efficiency of all manufacturing execution inputs as,

    • The production execution system monitors the machines & progress of jobs and alerts operatives to reduce direct labor costs.
    • The software automatically collects the information and improves accuracy saving the time of operators. This production results in a reduction of indirect labor costs.
    • The software further optimizes the process control of the quantity of material, making it possible to reduce material wastage cost.
  4. Replace Papers

    While you create an unbroken chain of essential information through all manufacturing operations, MES offers a single view of all production processes as,

    • Manufacturing execution solution removes the need for manual data collection, increasing accuracy
    • The software makes spreadsheets & standalone databases that are 100% original
    • All departments to work together have a unified view of data, instead of a bunch of paper files
  5. Improve Flexibility

    When you build customized production solutions, it’s easy to get a competitive advantage with maximum flexibility as systems will allow you to,

    • Introduce a new product fast
    • Integrate a new process, factory, and personnel smoothly
    • React fast and appropriately to unplanned events
    • Integrate with supply chain software solutions easily
  6. Increase Uptime

    Here, we are not talking about employee uptime only, but equipment uptime is equally important to manage manufacturing operations. Production execution system, however, takes care of both as,

    • The manufacturing execution system creates realistic production schedules by tracking raw materials and parts of inventory, eliminating time wastage for an employee.
    • It recognizes that the right equipment & resources are available in production and that machines are set up, runs, and managed in a timely manner.
  7. Consistent Processes & Productivity

    Manufacturing execution software strengthens protection and continuity, while production execution solutions integrated with scheduling and maintenance software offers productivity without interrupting the workflow of business as,

    • The system provides access to records such as menus, SOPs(standard operating procedures), BOMs(bill of materials), genealogy, and other vital details that would otherwise have to be manually checked by the supervisor or operator
    • MES software optimizes orders with the scheduling of personnel, material, and equipment, making it possible to achieve faster product flow.

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How Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) Works?

MES is an intensive scheme with multifaceted manufacturing execution capabilities for the plant floor. So let’s see how every flow creates a functional layer!

How Manufacturing Execution System (MES) Works

Step 1. Ordering

  • The software solution will configure order forms, and;
  • Collect data to centralize orders in any language

Step 2. Quoting & Costing

  • ME software will prepare product simulation, formula, or volume
  • It will then generate quotations & cost sheets for customers and internal use

Step 3. Production Planning

  • MES will provide daily, weekly, and monthly charts to enable you to plan production and work instruction ahead of time
  • It will create jobs and product workflows automatically

Step 4. Machine Connectivity & Scheduling

  • Manufacturing execution IT systems recommends job assignments to available machines and personnel based on availability and delivery dates
  • The assignment is tracked for each individual part sequence and generates job assignments and processing task lists instantly
  • MES will also adjust rescheduling failed prints or shifting jobs in the scheduled downtime

Step 5. Optimize Manufacturing Routes

  • Manufacturing execution systems will conduct quality checks taking samples as products progress through the factory point of view
  • MES helps to recommend changes in product routes based on input from production data or on data from production machinery

Step 6. Automatic Delivery

  • MES that are connected with ERP solutions, delivers the full job pack with product information to the operator
  • It also displays production feedback from machinery that is needed for decision-makers

Step 7. Data Collection

  • Track manufacturing execution parameters and quality data for each serialized part and job
  • Auto-generate product quality reports from data stored across upstream and downstream business processes
    Capture the digital thread and enable repeatability of end-use parts

Step 8. Analytics and Reports

  • It offers data analytic dashboards to track KPIs and metrics every day, weekly, and monthly.
  • It also helps you to push & pull data and get a holistic view of your operation through 3rd party business networks.

Need to Improve Your Business Workflow with Mobile Solutions?

Manufacturing Execution System Architecture

By now, you would have an idea that a manufacturing execution software solution is nothing but an information model created by the manufacturing enterprise solutions association (MESA). Which generally divides the production system into 3 levels as shown below.

Manufacturing Execution System Architecture

  • Level-1: Describes the role of the ERP system for business planning and logistics which includes the establishment of a basic plant schedule and time frame for production, material use, delivery, and shipping.
  • Level-2: Describes manufacturing operations management handled by MES that includes a detailed workflow for manufacturing the desired end products. The team also maintains the records and optimizes the production process.
  • Level-3: Defines the manufacturing control system where you monitor and automate the control process of production from work in progress to output. It includes basic control, supervisory control, process sensing, and process manipulation.

What makes the MES framework relevant is that it acts as a practical layer between the ERP and the shop floor process control systems (execution system), offering clarity, consistency, and insight into the real-time workflow.

Also, find out how to bring digital transformation into your business!

MES Core Functions

While MES is a one-stop solution for the production sector, the value is spent differently in each department by each manufacturing execution feature. Let’s take a look.

Core Functions of Manufacturing Execution System

  1. Operations/Detailing Sequencing

    To provide your employees with a global view of planned production orders and their production routing and execution system including job cards, this function ensures that your entire staff is on the same page and reduces errors due to miscommunication.

  2. Resource Allocation and Status

    As part of the method routing concept, the MES systems list the resource specifications for each manufacturing execution job. It is then moved to the method of ERP or scheduling software solution. This lets you define and monitor the status of your assets and how they are used in the manufacturing process. Manufacturing organizations can handle the allocation and status of resources including equipment, tools, materials, and labor.

  3. Dispatching Production Unit

    Dispatch function is focused on enterprise resource planning (ERP) global guidance tailored to the availability of services, scheduling specifications, and capability. To control the bidirectional flow of output data between the ERP and the workshop in real-time, the manufacturing execution guarantees that output data is still precise, accurate, and up-to-date.

  4. Performance Analysis

    This manufacturing execution software feature helps you to understand how the manufacturing process functions and how it might be expanded. Businesses can define and record key performance indicators (KPIs), conduct predictive production performance analysis, deliver performance tracking, and monitor dashboard displays and datasets.

  5. Maintenance Management

    To minimize downtime and production output interruptions, preventive system maintenance as part of MES can be scheduled more quickly and effectively. To reduce the effect on plant activities, companies can improve the preparation of preventive maintenance practices. Just plan for inevitable repairs without hindering performance, and allow for a seamless flow of production.

  6. Process Management

    One of the important functions of the manufacturing execution process is to manage the production process, including guided work phases and work orders, from order release to work in process (WIP) to finished products. Therefore, manufacturing systems offer support with process routing and operational sequencing to provide complete traceability of output.

  7. Quality Management

    You may incorporate this feature directly into the manufacturing execution software or use external software to overcome regulatory compliance. Integrated quality control in the manufacturing process assists you in the workflows of corrective and preventive action (CAPA), verification, and non-conformance.

  8. Data Collection/Acquisition

    You may call this feature the heart of the MES systems as it enables the input of all information, manually or automatically. You can monitor and accumulate important details and, when you need it, retrieve the data quickly. Just collect and store data from end-users, accounts, or computers, on databases or embedded historians.

  9. Product Tracking and Genealogy

    With this execution system function, you can track each object in the manufacturing process, unique recognition of parts and components, as well as the equipment and workers involved in handling it. Then, from the raw material to the product assembly, you may group final parts or lots with all their corresponding manufacturing execution details.

  10. Labor Management

    Production execution systems let you control and use the highest productivity and attributes of workers and services in the most desirable places as you automate manpower. Handle the employees, objects, & activities and monitor the skills they require. This means that, at each stage of the manufacturing execution process, you always have the right people in charge.

  11. Document Control

    Manufacturing execution systems also provide the operators with a quick way to view substantial records as they need them, including manuals, drawings, and notes. This saves time for you and your team by not having to dig for the details you need across file cabinets.

Manufacturing Execution System (MES) Mobile Application

One centralized location in terms of software for everything happening on your shop floor is a smart decision. But is it sufficient always? No. You still have to call up evolutions on a PC or Desktop. To make quick business decisions at any time, anywhere in the world, you still need spatial flexibility like smartphone applications!

Just as mobile access is a rescue for everything in this modern era, the manufacturing industry has also adopted this capability to increase production efficiency and profitability. Mobile access automates almost every process from receiving goods to manufacturing execution work centers. Which results in,

  • Instant mobile data collection on the spot
  • Reduced time spent on the evaluations
  • No bottlenecks at stationary operating terminals
  • Increased manufacturing efficiency and customer satisfaction
  • React quickly to interruptions for decision making
  • Change plans easily from anywhere

So, how do you get such benefits? Either you can connect the manufacturing execution software to your mobile device and operate from anywhere, or build custom mobile apps for different work areas as mentioned below.

Mobile App for Manufacturing Execution System (MES)

  1. MES Apps for Daily Production Routine

    These apps help you to get,

    • Overview of all machines and workplaces
    • Order overview and list of all manufacturing operations
    • KPI monitor with drill-down functionality
    • Lists including details on the pool of orders and setups
    • Maintenance calendar and input dialogs for maintenance tasks
    • Clear production control and product definitions
    • Recording of energy consumption
    • Flexible project time recording and machine utilization
  2. MES Apps for Time Tracking & Employee Management

    Attendance tracker and management apps handle your employee’s uptime and productivity with,

    • Collection of attendance times
    • Personal timesheet for decision making purpose
    • Employees’ attendance statuses offering direct contact via phone or email
    • Paperless absence requests with calendar view
    • Planning systems and approval of absence times by supervisors
    • Individual staff schedule
  3. MES Apps for Quality Assurance

    Your quality assurance team will always be accurate with customizing apps as it helps with,

    • Collection and documentation of inspection results
    • Display of relevant inspection documents
    • Generation and process of complaints
    • Detailed reports on failures of shop floor personnel
    • Access to escalation management

Now, you might ask if it’s even worth building different production execution system apps for different work areas, so let us assure you that when you build your own customized mobile apps, all the features and functionality works as per your unique business needs. It gives you comprehensive control over the operation.

Want to Build an MES Mobile App or Software Solution?

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What does a manufacturing execution system do?

    Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) monitors the details of the product and order on the smart factory floor, gathers transactions for reporting to financial systems, and delivers orders and production directions remotely to shop floor employees.

  2. Is an MES right for my business?

    If you need better control, enforcement, and clarity to handle production lifecycle execution with detailed orders, instant data, world-class user experience, and knowledge, your business does need an MES system integrated with the supply chain.

  3. What’s the difference between ERP and MES?

    ERP is used to build and maintain the basic plant schedule, while MES is used in real-time to drive the production process by monitoring and reporting on plant operations as incidents occur, to provide an improved user experience.

  4. How do MES and ERP work together?

    When you integrate MES with ERP systems, it enables manufacturers to orchestrate work orders and other resource needs. It helps the manufacturing company to minimize unnecessary interruptions and delays with the real-time information exchange.

  5. Why is MES needed?

    To achieve real-time insight into manufacturing environments, to quickly recognize mistakes and bottlenecks, to analyze product cycle time and improve production output, to calculate labor utilization and cost, you need an MES.

Conclusion

It’s proved that manufacturing intelligence has evolved with MES over the years, and new systems such as function-specific applications and manufacturing execution mobile apps are beginning to appear as permanent alternatives to the shop floor tech. So, are you still resisting to build MES mobile apps or ready with a plan? We are a native custom mobile app development company to help you with each stage and development process. Just contact us and schedule 30-mins free consultation today!

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Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel
Designation: Co-founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies

Mr. Rakesh Patel is a Founder and CEO of Space-O Canada. He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311.