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Manufacturing Execution Systems


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Agility logo
 
Agility by DMSI is a hybrid enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that helps businesses in the construction industry to integrate their data and processes across departments and locations. The solution can either be deployed... Read More
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Agility by DMSI is a hybrid enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that helps businesses in the construction industry to integrate their data and processes across departments and locations. The solution can either be deployed... Read More
 
CloudFactoryWorx logo
 
CloudFactoryWorx by Future Foundation is a digital manufacturing software solution that serves small to midsize businesses in markets including automotive, biotechnology, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, transportation equipment,... Read More
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CloudFactoryWorx by Future Foundation is a digital manufacturing software solution that serves small to midsize businesses in markets including automotive, biotechnology, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, transportation equipment,... Read More
 
ERP MARK 7 logo
 
ERP MARK 7 by Axqolt is an enterprise resource planning software suite that offers small to mid-size manufacturing companies with inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP) with finite capacity scheduling, and manufacturing... Read More
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ERP MARK 7 by Axqolt is an enterprise resource planning software suite that offers small to mid-size manufacturing companies with inventory control, material requirements planning (MRP) with finite capacity scheduling, and manufacturing... Read More
 
EVO~ERP logo
 
EVO~ERP is an enterprise resource management (ERP) solution that helps small and mid-size businesses to manage inventory, accounting, warehouses and manufacturing. The solution supports multiple languages, currencies, exchange rates... Read More
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EVO~ERP is an enterprise resource management (ERP) solution that helps small and mid-size businesses to manage inventory, accounting, warehouses and manufacturing. The solution supports multiple languages, currencies, exchange rates... Read More
 
Exenta logo
 
Exenta is a cloud-based apparel management solution that helps apparel, footwear, accessories, home furnishing and other consumer goods brands, manufacturers and retailers to manage their various business operations. Key features include... Read More
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Exenta is a cloud-based apparel management solution that helps apparel, footwear, accessories, home furnishing and other consumer goods brands, manufacturers and retailers to manage their various business operations. Key features include... Read More

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Expandable ERP logo
 
Expandable by Focus Works, Inc. is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution designed for manufacturers of all sizes. It offers material requirement planning, production planning, accounting, business intelligence and supply chain... Read More
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Expandable by Focus Works, Inc. is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution designed for manufacturers of all sizes. It offers material requirement planning, production planning, accounting, business intelligence and supply chain... Read More
 
FactoryLogix logo
 
FactoryLogix is an on-premise manufacturing solution suitable for businesses of all sizes. Key features include manufacturing execution, quality management, product lifecycle management, supply chain management, supplier management,... Read More
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FactoryLogix is an on-premise manufacturing solution suitable for businesses of all sizes. Key features include manufacturing execution, quality management, product lifecycle management, supply chain management, supplier management,... Read More
 
Henning Visual EstiTrack ERP logo
 
Visual EstiTrack ERP is an on-premise solution for small to midsize shops that offers manufacturing execution management, light material requirements planning, product lifecycle management, supply chain management, customer management,... Read More
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Visual EstiTrack ERP is an on-premise solution for small to midsize shops that offers manufacturing execution management, light material requirements planning, product lifecycle management, supply chain management, customer management,... Read More
 
LillyWorks logo
 
LillyWorks from LW Performance is a cloud-based manufacturing enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that provides companies functionalities to make to real-time changes, predict outcomes and ensure on-time deliveries. The key... Read More
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LillyWorks from LW Performance is a cloud-based manufacturing enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that provides companies functionalities to make to real-time changes, predict outcomes and ensure on-time deliveries. The key... Read More
 
OmegaCube ERP logo
 
OmegaCube ERP is a cloud-based and on-premise enterprise resource planning solution built for manufacturing and distribution. The system serves small to mid-sized companies and was designed for workflow automation. Key features include... Read More
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OmegaCube ERP is a cloud-based and on-premise enterprise resource planning solution built for manufacturing and distribution. The system serves small to mid-sized companies and was designed for workflow automation. Key features include... Read More

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A2000 logo
 
A2000 is a hybrid enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that caters to apparel, footwear, accessories and home furnishing industries and helps them to integrate data and processes across multiple departments and manage their... Read More
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A2000 is a hybrid enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that caters to apparel, footwear, accessories and home furnishing industries and helps them to integrate data and processes across multiple departments and manage their... Read More
 
Acumatica logo
 
Acumatica ERP delivers an adaptable cloud and mobile-based enterprise resource planning solution with a user licensing model which enables a real-time view of business operations at any time from anywhere. Through a worldwide network... Read More
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Acumatica ERP delivers an adaptable cloud and mobile-based enterprise resource planning solution with a user licensing model which enables a real-time view of business operations at any time from anywhere. Through a worldwide network... Read More
 
BatchMaster ERP logo
 
BatchMaster Software offers process manufacturing software solutions for the food, chemical, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. Users can run the manufacturing application with QuickBooks, Sage 100&300, Microsoft Dynamics... Read More
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BatchMaster Software offers process manufacturing software solutions for the food, chemical, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries. Users can run the manufacturing application with QuickBooks, Sage 100&300, Microsoft Dynamics... Read More
 
BlueCherry logo
 
BlueCherry is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite featuring modules for omnichannel planning, product lifecycle management (PLM), shop floor control, logistics, e-commerce, finance and electronic data interchange. It is suitable... Read More
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BlueCherry is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite featuring modules for omnichannel planning, product lifecycle management (PLM), shop floor control, logistics, e-commerce, finance and electronic data interchange. It is suitable... Read More
 
Cetec ERP logo
 
Cetec ERP is a cloud-based manufacturing enterprise resource planning solution that caters to midsize and large businesses and helps them to manage various components of the manufacturing process i.e inception of a job, procurement... Read More
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Cetec ERP is a cloud-based manufacturing enterprise resource planning solution that caters to midsize and large businesses and helps them to manage various components of the manufacturing process i.e inception of a job, procurement... Read More

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Factory MES logo
 
Factory MES from Aptean is a cloud-based manufacturing execution system (MES). The solution includes features such as shop floor data capture, packaged metrics like overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), constraint management, analytics... Read More
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Factory MES from Aptean is a cloud-based manufacturing execution system (MES). The solution includes features such as shop floor data capture, packaged metrics like overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), constraint management, analytics... Read More
 
HYDRA logo
 
HYDRA by MPDV is an on-premise and cloud-based Manufacturing Execution System (MES) suitable for small, midsize and large businesses. It caters to various industries including automobile, metal, food and beverages, chemicals, cosmetics,... Read More
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HYDRA by MPDV is an on-premise and cloud-based Manufacturing Execution System (MES) suitable for small, midsize and large businesses. It caters to various industries including automobile, metal, food and beverages, chemicals, cosmetics,... Read More
 
Infor VISUAL ERP logo
 
Infor VISUAL is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System with end-to-end functionality built for manufacturing organizations looking for a complete solution that supports the entire operational lifecycle, from planning to sourcing,... Read More
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Infor VISUAL is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System with end-to-end functionality built for manufacturing organizations looking for a complete solution that supports the entire operational lifecycle, from planning to sourcing,... Read More
 
JOBSCOPE Enterprise Edition logo
 
Jobscope is a cloud-based manufacturing solution that helps aerospace, electronics, industrial machinery, metals, automotive and high technology companies in enterprise resource planning (ERP) functions. Key modules of the solution... Read More
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Jobscope is a cloud-based manufacturing solution that helps aerospace, electronics, industrial machinery, metals, automotive and high technology companies in enterprise resource planning (ERP) functions. Key modules of the solution... Read More
 
JustFoodERP logo
 
JustFoodERP offers enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution to food manufacturers and distributors. The solution is designed to address the challenges of organizations in the food and beverage industry, with a suite of functions... Read More
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JustFoodERP offers enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution to food manufacturers and distributors. The solution is designed to address the challenges of organizations in the food and beverage industry, with a suite of functions... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Lisa Hedges,
Content Analyst
Last Updated: June 22, 2018


Manufacturing execution systems (MES) manage operations on the shop floors of factories. Some MES support a single class of machine; others are designed to oversee operations on the entire floor. We wrote this buyer's guide to explain MES technologies and assist buyers in making a selection.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is MES Software?
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand
The MES Vendor Landscape

What Is MES Software?

“If you build it, they will come,” is not a quote about manufacturing, but the concept is related. MES software manages operations on the shop floor. The scope of MES can vary from scheduling a small set of critical machines to managing the entire fabricating operation for a manufacturer. In all but a handful of cases currently, the MES does not directly control a machine but rather tracks the work-in-progress on the shop floor. 

MES is a subset of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and executes the plan determined by the manufacturing resource planning (MRP) system. The functions of MES programs include: compiling a bill of materials, resource management and scheduling, preparing and dispatching production orders, preparing work-in-progress (WIP) reports and tracking production lots. Advanced systems will also have a product definition library with revision history and can report on production status to an ERP. In contrast, an MRP system sets the production schedule, determines the make versus buy list and determines inventory requirements.

Screenshot of E2 Shop System scheduling whiteboard

Screenshot of E2 Shop System scheduling whiteboard

The MES is responsible for scheduling and tracking each step of the production phase of a particular job. It prints out the bill of materials that the operator will require and production steps to complete at each phase. It repeats this process for each operator and each step until a particular job is complete.

MES is not generally effected by a manufacturer's mode, be it make to stock (MTS), assemble to stock (ATS), assemble to order (ATO), make to order (MTO) or engineer to order (ETO). This is because by the time the MES is invoked, the parts and schedule are already set, usually by the MRP system.

MESes are generally installed on-premises, but cloud-based solutions are becoming available. In most businesses, one of the reasons for having a cloud-based system is the reduced initial cost for equipment. This is not necessarily true for manufacturing; if the system has just a few users then they are usually located in the same facility and it is just as easy to link them to each other as it is to give them access to the Internet. If it is a large implementation, the expense is in creating a robust network and acquiring suitable fixed and mobile workstations. The incremental cost difference between having a server for the software is generally minimal. Instead, the benefit of cloud-based systems is the reduced cost for system management; the servers are out of the shop floor environment, can be backed-up and replicated automatically, and do not have to be maintained by trained on-site personnel.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

The first step in evaluating MES software is to determine what type of buyer you are. Over 90 percent of software buyers fall into one of these three groups:

Enterprise resource planning suite buyer. These buyers value the seamless integration of data and processes that comes from having one system for all functions. For example, they would prefer a full-suite system for estimating, work-in-progress management and accounting that can automatically turn an estimate into a budget for project management and then match invoices to project status and allocate job costs. These buyers favor complete software suites from companies like Oracle, SAP, Sage ERP or Microsoft Dynamics.

Departmental buyer. Specialists in one function, such as creating process set points, may value the feature depth of best-of-breed solutions designed for their function. These buyers may need specific functionality, like the ability to interface with a specific computer motion control system.

Small manufacturer. Small organizations often have limited budgets and fewer IT resources and tools to dedicate to software. In many cases, they may be deciding between a new software system and a new piece of equipment. These buyers need cost-effective SMB manufacturing solutions that are easy to implement and use. Some will prefer full-suite systems, while others may just want one application, such as bill-of-materials production or shop equipment scheduling operations.  

Benefits and Potential Issues

  • Increase utilization of equipment: MES systems let manufacturers measure the actual utilization of equipment. With this knowledge, you can adjust job prices to either encourage the use of certain equipment or dissuade the use of that equipment.
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  • Better record-keeping and data analysis: MES provides records not of machine use, jobs and lots. This yields several benefits. First, there is better tracking of actual materials used, increasing accountability of material use to individual operators, which generally reduces waste. Second, should a quality problem occur, lot tracking allows tying back the issue to the individual lots instead of having to potentially recall an entire run.
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  • Real-time WIP reporting: MES systems can report on progress on jobs and lots in real-time, giving shop managers better information and allowing for modifications to the schedule to adjust for changes in productivity.

One of the big issues with implementing MES is the possibility it will be rejected by the shop floor personnel. Some workers find the method and amount of information collected intrusive. This can become a contract issue in a unionized shop. The best defense is to use a phased-in implementation coupled with training that emphasizes the benefits to workers.

Market Trends to Understand

Increased use of electronic documentation. Not so long ago, a shop floor had stacks and stacks of operator’s manuals, procedure manuals and material safety data sheets. Operators had clipboards and notebooks with bills of materials, work orders and reports. More and more, however, this paper is being replaced with electronic documents. MES documentation is no exception, most users produce electronic work orders and schedules.

Mobile devices used for reference and control. Related to the increased use of electronic documentation is the use of mobile devices on the shop floor. The days of using clipboards and paper kanban cards are quickly coming to an end. Instead, workers are using tablet computers and handheld devices to enter information directly into the MES system.

Increased integration with enterprise systems. Considering that ERP grew out of MRP and MES systems, it is no surprise that the integration with other systems is a continuing trend. Even stand-alone MES systems can receive data from MRP systems and inventory systems, and send information to others, like preventive maintenance systems (which track the hours that equipment has been used) and payroll systems (which track how much time workers spent on each job).

Machine integration. MES systems can now integrate directly with computer-controlled shop-floor machines, downloading directions and recipes when required.

Data consolidation and visualization. MES systems can collect and consolidate information from the various production systems. Production dashboards are beginning to make their appearance in systems, giving production managers a single view to track operations in real time.

The MES Vendor Landscape

This type of buyer... Should evaluate these systems
Enterprise resource planning suite buyer Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, SAP, Sage
Departmental buyer Microsoft Dynamics, Epicor, SYSPRO, Casco
Small manufacturer E-Z-MRP, ECi, Exact, Fishbowl

Free Download:
Manufacturing Software Feature Checklist

Free Download:
Ten Steps to Selecting the Right Manufacturing Software

 

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