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MES – Definition, Importance and Benefits of Manufacturing Execution System

Published: · Last updated: · 7 min reading time

What is MES in Manufacturing and Why is it important?

Manufacturing today, despite large strides in ways and means, remains very unpredictable and competitive. So much so that the typical manufacturer must do much more than utilizing the latest manufacturing bells and whistles if they are to survive.

It makes all the difference that manufacturers are versatile and constantly optimizing efficiency so as to improve quality, production rates and maximize profits. Doing this requires a comprehensive grasp of production and all it takes is the right degree of visibility into critical processes.

A MES plays a pivotal role, coordinating and automating – based on accurate MES data – production and quality controls, machine integration, equipment maintenance, real-time analytics. This further helps to deliver greater efficiency with lower costs, faster decision making and higher profits – all of which are vital to achieving a competitive advantage, and staying in business.

What is Manufacturing Execution System MES?

Defining what a MES is can be somewhat complicated. This is not unconnected to the fact that there are many standards, and asking a cross section of people in manufacturing may yield more different answers than one might imagine.

Functionally, the acronym -which stands for Manufacturing Execution System– describes automated systems which manage, document, and synchronize the execution of real-time physical processes involved in transforming raw materials to intermediate or finished products. The goal, with MES control and capability, is to drive greater efficiency in product execution and output.

Manufacturing execution systems do far more than control hardware, they also address quality, inventory, and other important parts of the manufacturing process. Aspects usually addressed by incorporating these processes through MES software.

These extensions are not readily categorized as forming part of traditional MESs. Many analysts in the MES industry instead refer to them as manufacturing operations management solutions — or MOM. Whatever the lingo is, the MES software works to report data, give accurate information about what’s happening in production, and make the manufacturing processes less difficult.

Where in the Industry is MES used?

Competitive markets and regulatory compliance continue to drive the application of these systems at many stages in production. Whether in small and medium scale firms or in the larger, established ones, MESs are no stranger to the manufacturing environment.

There are numerous MESs available on the market; with varying functionality for the many different parts of the industry. And using all or any of these technologies to manage any manufacturing processes starts with understanding what these systems do and how they do it.

There are;

  • traditional MES solutions,
  • Enterprise Resource planning (ERP) add-ons,
  • and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) add-ons.

SCADA add-ons grew from manufacturing equipment control (MECS) systems. They provide a detailed view of equipment utilization and performance, and are also used to maintain a visibility layer above the programmable logic controllers (PLCs) on the production floor. Generally, they have also been found to be excessively fixated on machine performance such that larger patterns and trends across the plant are ignored.

On the other hand, MES software companies started out ERP add-ons as modules that provided better reporting. Usually tasked with providing management with abridged and accurate data from production relevant for planning and strategic decisions. Data from most ERP software have often been found inadequate for process improvement, and occasionally lack the timeliness necessary for day-to-day working decisions.

Traditional MES solutions assist with a ground-up, flexible interface between processes on the plant floor and management reporting. These original manufacturing execution systems focus on logging each mes event as it occurs, and then monitoring the flow of products through the process.

Manufacturing execution systems like Plex MES are built intentionally to support shop floor manufacturing integrated into existing corporate software or as part of the larger Plex Smart Manufacturing Platform which incorporates Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), ERP, and supply chain management.

How can MES optimize the production process?

MESs are revolutionizing the way companies, products, and the process itself is managed. For many manufacturers, the key to staying afloat is leveraging the right technologies to improve manufacturing and keep ahead of the curve.

Because MESs function to tackle and bolster weakness in production, its important what those weaknesses usually are to gain a sense for what needs optimization. Usually, these issues revolve around;

  • Operational visibility and efficiency;
  • Quality and product control;
  • Material/ labor costs;
  • Reporting and decision making.

A truly robust MES operates to resolve these core issues; providing actionable data to the right people at the right time and helping them make informed decisions and increasing operational visibility.

MESs would also integrate varying “islands” of information, interpreting them into a practical picture of productivity. As a result, the efficiency of each function increases. This synchronized and coordinated information ultimately fosters tighter control over manufacturing activities and, ultimately, in first-time, end-product quality and production repeatability.

Of note also, is the fact that an MES would establish an automated system for documenting and distributing information procedures, not only satisfying ISO 9000’s requirements, but also eliminating the confusion and errors that occur in paper-based systems.


Benefits of MES

The benefits of a manufacturing execution system are not easily overstated, they clearly impact a manufacturer’s ability to revamp and improve operations. With a MES, the common challenges in manufacturing are easily overcome.

These benefits include but are not limited to;

  • Improved quality management and control: MES drives value through machine-efficiency, error-proofing the production from raw materials to finished goods.
  • Regulatory compliance: MSEs also ensure that there is far lower risk of recalls or run-ins with regulatory authorities on product quality and defects.
  • Fast and accurate management reporting: MESs can make sure that everyone in the company can access the insights they need per time
  • Increased visibility and efficiency: MESs provide dashboards with relevant information about what’s happening in real time, so that you can spot problems early and keep the operation running smoothly.
  • Increased asset utilization
  • Reduced costs: MSEs do wonders for the bottom line; making direct savings by reducing the time required to produce.
  • Improved MES supply chain collaboration: MESs make sure that suppliers have access to accurate data, so they can more easily collaborate and align their deliveries to support production processes.
  • Better and easier system management: A cloud software MES can simplify IT by offloading system maintenance to the cloud MES software provider, removing a tremendous IT burden from the manufacturer.
  • Better asset utilization.

Why FORCAM is the best partner for MES

FORCAM benefits the manufacturing industry with a high-performance solution that helps implement high-performance, well-integrated MESs. With our premium MES manager, Forcam Force, our MES company allies with manufacturers to leverage today’s digital revolution by providing a flexible IIoT and MES-ERP solution that enables them take the opportunity to level up and scale their productions.

If you would like to learn about how FORCAM can transform your manufacturing operations, please contact us today.


A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is a production management system that maps, monitors, and controls complex manufacturing processes. The main objective of an MES is to ensure the effective execution of manufacturing operations and to improve production performance. It supports companies in achieving this goal. This is achieved by collecting and processing accurate real-time data throughout the entire production life cycle.

For example, the MES collects machine, operational, and process data throughout the entire manufacturing process and informs the user as soon as problems occur. This data, in turn, enables decision-makers to understand current processes better and to optimize the production process sustainably.

Why is an MES essential for manufacturing companies today?

Companies that want to control and optimize their production efficiently cannot do without an MES. As a bridge between the operational corporate management and the process control level, companies can directly compare data from the ERP with real-time data from the production. This provides unprecedented transparency in production. Added to this is the real-time insight into machines and systems, which allows immediate intervention in problem situations or the event of malfunctions.

In addition to these core functions, and MES helps companies meet the enormous challenges of meeting the regulations and guidelines of various industries such as the pharmaceutical industry or the aerospace industry, for example, by tracking products.

Furthermore, it can be used in discrete manufacturing for industries such as aerospace, defense, automotive, and process manufacturing.

A Manufacturing Execution System offers many fundamental advantages:

  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Improved regulatory compliance
  • Better agility and shorter time to market
  • Improved supply chain transparency
  • Reduced production cycle time
  • Eliminate paperwork and manual data entry processes
  • Reduced order processing time
  • Reduced labor costs
  • Reduced WIP inventory
  • Increased machine utilization


About the author

Sumrit is a creative thinking, strategic Marketing professional who thinks outside of the box and delivers results. Leading all FORCAM Marketing activities in the UK, Sumrit has an entrepreneurial and problem-solving approach to business, sharing value-based communications and propositions.

Sumrit Shidu

Marketing Manager UK