A Structured Approach
The key advantage of the MES is the structured way in which it stores the data based on events and transactions, while also verifying in real time that each step of the execution is performed correctly.
Consider this example: the ERP has an order that requires one of our nominal recipes to be extended based on the equipment capacity and capabilities. This means we need a new production recipe for the manufacturing floor, calculated from the nominal recipe generated in the PLM and the order in the ERP. The MES performs this logic and adjusts the required Bill of Process (BOP), Bill of Materials (BOM), and the related process parameters, then delivers these to the production floor.
Once the process is underway, the MES monitors every step, verifying and validating each activity and event, and storing the resulting data in a structured manner.
All this logic, and the necessary reaction time, is either not available or only partly available in a PLM, ERP or IIOT system.
An Information-Enabled Manufacturing Process
Working together, the MES, IIOT, ERP, PLM and other systems secure a common communication framework, allowing a connected data flow and an integrated view of the asset’s data throughout its lifecycle.
This single source of truth allows companies to focus on their business strategies, objectives and related KPIs, while the MES handles the “how?”, ensures that everything is working correctly, and calculates what’s need to fix errors when they do occur.
Not Extinct, but Evolving
MES is far from dead – it still has an important role to play in a digitally transformed operation. However, that role has changed, and MES is changing with it.
As the manufacturing process evolves, the MES is becoming more modular and flexible, incorporating the functionality needed to enable Industry 4.0. Together with IIOT, it provides increased interoperability, contextualised data, advanced analytics, and even the foundation for Extended Reality (XR) applications.
MES is evolving to become a more flexible part of an overall ecosystem of applications. And, in doing so, it is providing an essential part of the digital thread so critical to the success of Industry 4.0.
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