Cutting out the Middleman: Will ERP remove the need for...

Cutting out the Middleman: Will ERP remove the need for manufacturing execution systems?

Manufacturing Technology Insights | Friday, November 30, 2018

The introduction of real-time machine data and strict transactional business information has drifted manufacturers towards integrating Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software with control systems in the enterprise architectures. Sitting between the ERP and the control systems are Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) – an unnecessary middleman that is hard to define and obstructs the manufacturing decision making process. MES provides information to the business decision makes by tracking and documenting the transformation of raw materials into finished goods and the real-time condition of the manufacturing plants.

The modernized ERP software can carry out the same functions as MES, but with a higher efficiency and an accurate traceability of captured information through a set of defined data points. The ERP collects data in the form of inputs, outputs, material transactions and machine times. Although MES serves as a link between the ERP and the equipment being fitted, the systems residing close to that equipment also serve as a link. MES, unless provided directly by the equipment manufacturer, is rendered a mere consultation and integration software solution for the enterprise architecture. A majority of costs in MES are for software servicing or purchasing special modules to make data accessible or external systems, which makes for additional expenditures.

The industrial equipment can be monitored and controlled either on the plant floor or via a portfolio of distributed assets and software systems. A well-defined ERP application can integrate data directly with dashboards and handle data points shared between the equipment with high efficiency within the enterprise architecture. Also, IoT enabled equipment can use an ERP solution coupled with IoT discovery platform paired with enterprise IoT connectors for analyzing data. This could eliminate the use of MES or any other consulting and professional services, reducing uncertainty and project risks.

See Also: The Manufacturing Outlook

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