MES: The Foundation of Digital Manufacturing

Innovation Central: Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)

Technology is driving rapid transformation in the production of goods and services across the global economy. Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are at the center of this transformation, enabling manufacturers to leverage technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, augmented reality, and additive manufacturing to achieve higher levels of efficiency, quality, and agility.

What is an MES?

A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is a real-time control system for monitoring and managing work-in-process on the shop floor, from human activities to materials and production processes to finished goods. A modern MES is expected to integrate with other key systems such as CAD, ERP, and PLM, where MES plays a central role in your manufacturing ecosystem.

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Benefits of an MES

Compared to paper-based systems, an MES can improve efficiency, cost reduction, quality, operations performance, compliance, consistency, decision-making, and customer relationships. MES also provides the backbone for the Digital Thread and provides valuable data that can be harnessed to gain insights and competitive advantages.

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Big data can enable a 50 percent decrease in product development and assembly costs.

MES in Complex Discrete Manufacturing

Complex discrete manufacturing involves special challenges, with very specific regulatory requirements. Many of the global economy’s most critical sectors – including aviation, defense, space, nuclear, medical device, robotics, and specialized industrial equipment – are built on complex discrete manufacturing processes. MES is essential for managing the people, processes, complexities, and often the sheer number of parts, actions, and documentation involved.

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The Importance of Integrated Quality

Quality management is most effective when it is managed and executed as a completely integrated process within an MES. This approach drives higher quality processes – and ultimately corrective actions – directly into the manufacturing process, ensuring enforcement and documentation at every step.

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Selecting the Right MES Solution

Selecting an MES solution will affect the performance of an enterprise for years to come. Proper risk management can protect your organization from unnecessary costs and headaches and ensure a successful implementation. Understanding the different variants of MES, and selecting one specifically designed for complex discrete manufacturing, is essential.

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