Future Proofing MES/MOM

Author photo: Janice Abel
By Janice Abel

Keywords: MES, MOM, Manufacturing Execution System, Manufacturing Operations System, Smart Manufacturing, Digital Transformation, ARC Advisory Group.


MES/MOM (manufacturing execution system/manufacturing operations management) is a software technology that is used in manufacturing and production to track, manage, and execute production processes. It manages the gap between production and the business system. MES/MOM are often used interchangeably but can mean different technologies and applications. "MES and MOM has different meanings for different people.” In this report we will not distinguish between the two technologies but instead will identify what applications are generally part of most MES and MOM technologies. We will also identify those applications and technologies that are often or sometimes included. Overall, the applications and technologies that are part of the MES/MOM software tend to vary by process, application, company and history (e.g., other legacy systems and technologies used). 

Future Proofing MES/MOM

MES began as an execution system and has morphed and expanded its scope substantially into  a new and broader technology that is typically considered a key technology in Smart Manufacturing and Digital Transformation. While MES is specific to the manufacturing or production process, smart manufacturing generally incorporates the entire lifecycle from design to the customer and that is how ARC differentiates the MES/MOM market. 

The software is often used to bridge the gap between IT and OTor between the ERP and automation system. The primary function of MES is to track and document the transformation of raw materials into finished products in real-time. The MES captures data from many different data sources including automation systems, ERP systems, sensors, operators, and even Excel and PowerBI spreadsheets. 

The MES provides real-time visibility and visualization of production processes, enabling workers to monitor operations, identify bottlenecks, minimize downtime, increase yield, and optimize production. If quality management application is included, MES often plays a critical role. By streamlining workflows, automating tasks, tracking materials, and improving processes; MES plays a key role in the manufacturing process. The technology usually provides traceability, raw material and product genealogy, material and inventory management, data analysis and reporting and integration to ERP and automation systems. It also enables workers to utilize the manufacturing intelligence to make better data-based decisions that often lead to process optimization. 

ARC’s research will explore how the space is changing and expanding in capabilities this year. We will also explore some of the newer trends we see. For example, historically, all manufacturing software was done on-premise, and today this is changing, and cloud-based MES is one of the fastest growing markets. Much of the MES software sold is on-premise, but some manufacturers are using MES in the cloud. Many newer MES/MOM technologies are only available in the cloud today. 

Next Gen MES/MOM Will Utilize Cloud

The terms MES and MOM are often used interchangeably by most suppliers and manufacturers. MES (manufacturing execution system) can include many applications and differences between suppliers often varying due to specific process focus, geographical location and such others. Each MES solution is unique and typically includes different applications and involves the integration of data from historians, sensors, and other different data sources. MES/production management is much more flexible and adaptable today largely due to newer MES and MOM (manufacturing operations management) applications and new technologies. Many suppliers have named their product MES but include the same or similar applications to a MOM product today. ARC is seeing a range of solutions that include improved visualization, embedded analytics to quality and energy management that are included and sold with the MES solution.

Future Proofing Technology and the Cloud

In future writings, ARC will discuss the findings from their research this year. However, one trend that we would be remiss not to point out, is the movement of MES/MOM applications to the cloud. Not all applications will reside in the cloud for most manufacturers, but some manufacturers are 100 percent manufacturing from cloud MES/MOM and historians, but this is more the exception than the rule. Most MES/MOM software is still used on-premise. When selecting an MES many manufacturers want a solution that can be used interchangeably and is transparent to the user both on-premise and in the cloud. Even after requesting the capability, some users will not use this cloud MES for now, but they want to ensure that they are future proofing their technology selection.


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