Next Gen Manufacturing Execution Systems: What Applications Provide the MOST Value?

By Janice Abel

Industry Trends

Manufacturing execution systems (MES) continues to grow because users continue to see value from its implementation.  While MES solutions provide a wide range of applications, most users see a lot of benefits from process quality and traceability.  Some of the functionality is being supplemented by next gen MES.  For most manufacturers, MES technology includes applications that provide the nexus technology and value for the digital transformation.   

“Manufacturing execution systems continues to be critical for smart manufacturing and Industrie 4.0.  As one user stated, “it’s the air that we breath.” 

ARC previously conducted a survey to determine which applications that suppliers believe that end users are finding the most value.  According to the respondents, the top five MES applications in terms of value are: 

  • Production management 
  • Quality management 
  • Planning and scheduling 
  • Material, parts, and components management 
  • Workflow management/electronic work instructions 
  • Traceability and genealogy 
next gen MES applications

Typical Next Gen MES Applications 

While managing production is important, having high-quality products that match demand enables manufacturers to be globally competitive.  Being able to plan and schedule products cost-effectively and to enforce workflow using electronic instructions is also an enabler for quality products.  

Next Gen MES applications continues to support the most important processes and functions in the factory.  End users have reduced costs just by using better visualization tools that enable the workface to obtain and understand what the process is doing.  According to survey respondents, predictive analytics are also being integrated into some MES solutions with immense benefits.  A few users are adding virtual reality capabilities for better process visibility and to be able to simulate process behaviors for new processes or new products and prevent potential bottlenecks.  Other new capabilities are integrated into MES applications or provided as part of an MES solution. 

For those still operating in silos, getting the right information into the right hands can be time-consuming, and MES can make immense improvements.  Traceability and genealogy have also been drivers for adoption particularly because of some regulations that require material, part, and component traceability. 

Some users refer to MES as an old technology because they have not kept up with the new and more modern MES technologies available today.  The new-gen MES technologies have a new digital approach that is enabling them to easily connect to the many silos of data and achieve better results. 

In addition to approaching MES from a newer perspective, manufacturing companies need to understand clearly that operational improvement comes through the implementation of new-gen MES software that helps them better manage what happens in the plant.  It is a solution that seamlessly connects the shop floor to the business floor and aligns with the business strategy.  The modern MES helps eliminate silos and connects processes across the plant and enterprise in many cases integrates to inventory and supply chain systems. 

All these newer technologies, strategies, and trends are penetrating new MES deployments.  For additional information, check out ARC’s latest MES for Process Manufacturing Analysis Report, MES for Discrete Manufacturing Market Analysis Report, and MES Supplier Selection Guide for Process Industries and MES Supplier Selection Guide for Discrete Industries.   

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