Why Integrate an MES with Your ERP?

Apr 18, 2024 4:30:00 PM / by David Crowley

Untitled design (7)If you’re currently using an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in your manufacturing operation, you’ve experienced its benefits. By streamlining how you manage materials, expenses, scheduling, inventory, and quality control, the ERP helps increase efficiency and reduce costs. Because it is an information hub for your organization, an ERP helps you eliminate data silos and make better informed business decisions. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of integrating your ERP with a manufacturing execution system (MES).

What is an MES?

An MES provides functionality that’s similar to an ERP, but instead of the company-wide focus of an ERP, an MES is designed to help manufacturers optimize the intricacies of the manufacturing process itself. An MES complements an ERP by providing visibility into what’s happening on the shop floor. As a result, planning and collaboration are enhanced across the organization. For example, an MES can track materials and products throughout the production process, monitor work in progress during manufacturing runs, and identify issues in real time. With this instant feedback on the manufacturing process, manufacturers can correct issues early, before they create a cascade of costly problems and waste further down the line.

MES Functionality

An MES provides a variety of production and process monitoring capabilities to enhance plant operations.

  • An MES allows manufacturers to quickly view the status of all machines as well as shift data and production summaries. Based on this information, manufacturers can instantly update project schedules and reassign tools and resources to meet evolving needs.
  • Labor tracking allows managers to accurately forecast labor demands and optimize employee scheduling. By using process journals, operators can log their actions to create an easily accessible audit trail.
  • By tracking downtime and scarp, an MES helps managers pinpoint the sources of problems.
  • The system can track individual components of each machine to inform a predictive maintenance
  • Customizable alerts help optimize response time when problems arise during the production cycle, preserving product quality and reducing waste. A MES system allows key employees to view real-time production data, including KPIs, from any device.

Benefits of Integrating an MES with Your ERP

Integrated MES and ERP systems can create a host of valuable benefits. By integrating an MES with your existing ERP, you can enhance the value of your ERP investment in several ways, increasing operational efficiency and allowing your plant to quickly adapt to changing circumstances.

Increased Adaptability

Without MES/ERP integration, information may not flow easily between the front office and the shop floor. As a result, it can take considerable time to adjust to supply chain or job changes. Because it eliminates barriers that impede the flow of information in the organization, an MES empowers managers to respond to changes as they arise.

Just-in-Time Production

Historically, manufacturing processes have been inefficient, producing large quantities of products that then needed to be stored until they could be sold. With the forecasting capabilities and real-time insights of an MES, manufacturers can ensure that labor and materials are available exactly when they’re needed. By enabling just-in-time production, MES can eliminate the need to store products and materials for long periods while preventing downtime, waste, and late deliveries.

End-to-End Insights

Integrated MES and ERP systems provide a holistic view of the entire manufacturing operation, from supply chain and demand information through production and delivery. With this expanded picture, managers can more easily identify the sources of bottlenecks and other hiccups in the operation and deploy solutions quickly and seamlessly.

Cost Savings

Integration of MES and ERP systems saves costs on many levels.

  • Because integration makes it easier to optimize materials, labor, and product inventory, manufacturers with integrated systems are better positioned to reduce waste throughout the organization.
  • By using MES data to implement predictive maintenance, manufacturers can extend the life of machines and increase their overall equipment effectiveness.
  • Production and process monitoring allows producers to detect and correct product defects early, preventing waste while supporting customer satisfaction.

Selecting the Right MES Solution

To get the most out of a new MES, make sure it’s capable of integrating with your ERP and communicating with your manufacturing equipment. The goal is to achieve a wide view of the operation, including inbound and outbound logistics as well as all aspects of the production process. Take the time to review case studies and understand how the system has impacted operations like yours. This can help you gain an understanding of the return on investment you can expect. When you’ve narrowed down your choices, schedule a product demonstration and ensure the vendor’s team will be there to answer any questions that arise and ensure your integration goes smoothly.

SYSCON PlantStar has more than 50 years of experience helping manufacturers monitor, control, and optimize their processes. With a highly skilled and dedicated customer support team, we specialize in forming reliable, long-term partnerships that deliver consistent results. To learn more about the benefits of manufacturing execution systems, subscribe to our blog.