Manufacturing Execution Systems and Digital Transformation

Manufacturing Execution Systems and Digital Transformation
A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is a vital step toward comprehensive digital transformation in manufacturing. What is the role of such a system in the company’s hierarchy? What areas can benefit from an MES, and how?

Monitoring production data, controlling ongoing processes, improving communication, and minimizing losses are factors that significantly impact the quality and efficiency of any manufacturing company. A well-designed MES system can provide support and benefits in various areas.

Functions of an MES as a dedicated IT system

According to the international ANSI/ISA-95 standard, which defines concepts related to management systems in companies and specifies how data should flow between them, there are four levels of a business hierarchy. The lowest level represents the physical plant, including machinery, equipment, and sensors. The second level is the process control layer, with controllers, object controllers, as well as monitoring and visualization devices and software, such as operator panels and HMI/SCADA stations.

Four levels of control and management systems in a company. Source: ImFactory

The remaining top two levels comprise the management layer. The uppermost fourth level encompasses systems that manage the entire company and its finances, planning, and logistics. This is where the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is positioned. The third level, in turn, is the production management layer, responsible for scheduling, monitoring task execution, and optimizing the manufacturing process. It is at this level that Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are placed, serving as a bridge between the production and business layers.

The tasks performed by an MES can be simplified into three main areas:

  • managing production efficiency,
  • managing production orders and tasks,
  • managing production quality.

By covering these three areas, an MES enables full control over the entire production process. However, it’s worth noting that it’s also possible to implement a system whose role will be to cover only some of these tasks.


MES modules. Source: ImFactory



Zarządzanie efektywnością produkcji

An MES provides real-time insight into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE), not only for individual machines and workstations but also for entire production lines. It also facilitates reporting and diagnostics, including equipment and line performance, workstation utilization data, and information about mean time between failures (MTBF), mean time to repair (MMTR), etc. This enables easy and effective identification of machinery performance issues and resource availability problems.

Monitoring production efficiency. Source: ImFactory

The key tasks performed by an MES in this area are:

  • Monitoring production order status and adherence to schedules, comparing current production results with planned production rates and durations.
  • Automatically identifying the current process bottleneck by evaluating performance across individual operations.
  • Detecting, capturing, and reviewing utilization events such as equipment downtime or short stoppages that impact the overall availability.
  • Collecting data automatically through integration with control systems and a user interface that enables efficient data collection and detailing by operators and supervisors.


Managing production processes and operations

An MES facilitates the allocation and flexible management of planned production orders. It allows users to oversee task execution, providing real-time insight into the production process, its current status, and inventory.

Managing production orders. Source: ImFactory

The key tasks performed by an MES in this area are:

  • Importing work orders from external systems (e.g., ERP or APS) or creating orders manually based on defined process templates.
  • Queueing production orders on machines.
  • Determining Bills of Resources (BOR), Bills of Materials (BOM), operations, and steps.
  • Capturing events related to order and task execution (such as status changes, consumption, production) in each operation within the process.
  • Recording income and expenses, building product history.
  • Reporting production progress, material consumption, etc., to external applications (e.g., ERP) after order completion, at the end of a shift, or at any given time.


Managing production quality

Cyfrowe zarządzanie jakością zapewnia wszystkie możliwości niezbędne do tego, aby wdrożyć proces ciągłego doskonalenia jakości produkcji.

Digital quality management encompasses all the necessary capabilities to implement the process of continuous improvement of production quality. The key tasks performed by an MES in this area are:

  • Executing quality sample plans by collecting data automatically and manually and matching with work order events.
  • Visualizing process stability using control charts.
  • Integrating workflow management software to support the automation of manual data collection processes and procedures for corrective or preventive actions to significantly reduce response time.

Visualizing quality data in the process. Source: ImFactory


Benefits of implementing an MES

Implementing an MES in production management brings benefits in three main areas:

  • Reducing expenses while improving productivity and quality through MES functionalities.
  • Enhancing decision-making competencies and supporting decision-making processes through clearer supply chain visibility and reduced reporting delays.
  • Ensuring a reliable data source for continuous production improvement programs.

Each of these areas represents a valuable source of financial benefits, ensuring a quick return on the investment.


Editing: Mateusz Pierzchała

Authors: Paweł Firek, Adrian Szczypski, Aleksander Paul, Artur Masłowski, Michał Zieliński

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Fields where we can help you:

  • AVEVA MES/MOM production management systems
  • Planning and scheduling production systems
  • Planning and scheduling production systems
  • Building a Digital Transformation Roadmap
  • Supporting ongoing IT projects
  • Dedicated solutions for industry
  • MES competencies development in end-user teams
  • Migration design and implementation for legacy systems

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