Manufacturing Execution System (MES)
Features, Success Factors, Costs, and Benefits
Building IT solutions for manufacturing since 1989, ScienceSoft helps design and implement manufacturing execution systems for improved operational visibility and efficiency.
Manufacturing Execution System in a Nutshell
A manufacturing execution system (MES) helps manage product genealogy, production performance, material management, etc., detect potential issues, as well as implement corrective measures to optimize the production process and improve output.
- Go-to integrations: PLC, ERP, PLM, CMMS, WMS, HRMS.
- User groups: production managers, shop floor supervisors, and shop floor production employees.
- Costs: $375,000 – $1.2 million.
Key MES Features
At ScienceSoft, we build MES software with tailored architecture and functionality for our customers since each manufacturing organization has unique business processes. Below, you can see a detailed list of MES features commonly requested by our customers.
- Planning equipment, raw materials, human resources, etc. needed for production.
- Planning production quantities.
- Creating sequence rules for production process execution.
- Planning tool calibration before use or based on usage frequency.
- Planning equipment inspection and maintenance activities.
- Creating, distributing, and updating documents on product designs and manufactured products, production processes, materials, machinery, or orders (e.g., work instructions, regulatory documentation).
- Real-time equipment and production process monitoring (location, status, temperature, speed, yield, OEE, uptime, waste, etc.) with the help of barcodes or sensors.
- Tracking work-in-progress (WIP) inventory levels of parts issued to jobs but not installed.
- Tracking material expiration dates.
- Tracking the completion of orders by operation area, resources used, BOMs, and parts used.
- Tracking employee working and absence time, man-hours available in a department, and more.
- Tracking availability, compatibility, and condition of equipment and materials required for production.
- Energy consumption tracking.
- Maintenance history tracking.
- Tool calibration tracking.
Production process automation
- Automated workflows (e.g., selecting a job on a dispatch list, signing on to the job to start the clock).
- Automated employee scheduling based on workload analytics.
- Automated assigning of employees to production equipment.
- Automated transformation of an engineering BOM (eBOM) to a manufacturing BOM (mBOM) based on routing sheets and resources’ availability.
- Automated scheduling of manufacturing operations (e.g., tooling setup, parts positioning) based on production orders, sequence rules, equipment availability, etc.
- Production dispatching (sending materials or orders to certain parts of the facility).
- Automated alerts about detected production bottlenecks.
- Setting up automated product change workflows (e.g., documenting changes, approving changes, collecting signatures).
- Automated real-time updating of process plans based on product changes.
- Product parts tracking and creation of parts pick lists.
- Maintaining a product history, including a complete genealogy of the materials and components used in the assembly.
- Creating product change requests for minor changes (e.g., changing color of the part) and major changes (e.g., product design updates that require retooling).
Production control/quality management
- Keeping track of engineering specifications and detecting deviations between the as-built and as-designed product configurations.
- Tracking technical aspects, manufacturing conditions, and input materials in case of a rejected product.
- Keeping track of incoming and dispatched products and alerting stakeholders if the product parameters differ from the preset ones.
Reporting and dashboards
- Customizable role-based reports for operation managers, shop floor workers, etc.
- Up-to-the-minute reporting of actual manufacturing results as compared to targets or historical results.
- Visualization for the analyzed production data (dashboards, diagrams, graphs).
- Automated reports scheduling.
Production analytics and optimization
- Analysis of product cycle time, resource utilization, conformance to production schedules, performance to standards, material balances, etc. and identification of bottlenecks.
- Root cause analysis of issues (e.g., production line malfunctioning, low OEE).
- Employee workload analytics.
- Analysis of employee performance based on production data, absence times, and work order times.
- AI-based recommendations for areas of improvement in production planning, scheduling, and execution.
Security and compliance
- Role-based permissions.
- Multi-factor authentication.
- Manufacturing data encryption.
- Audit trail of process execution activities.
- Compliance with industry and quality management standards and government regulations (e.g., OSHA, FDA, ISO 9000, EPA, CAPA).
Useful Integrations for MES
ScienceSoft recommends integrating MES systems with:
- ERP – to share shop floor data from MES with ERP, which helps optimize the production process and reduce waste.
- PLC - to enable the direct communication of shop floor equipment data to MES and transmit updated work instructions, set points, etc. back to PLCs.
- PLM - to achieve continuous improvement of product design due to collecting real-time production data from the shop floor via MES.
- CMMS – to automatically create maintenance work orders based on shop floor data.
- WMS (warehouse management system) – to facilitate production planning based on the availability of raw materials required for production and ensure an uninterrupted manufacturing process.
- HRMS (HR management system) – to automatically assign employees to certain roles or equipment based on their skills described in HRMS and get employee performance data from MES software for payroll management.
Success Factors for Implementing MES Software
Relying on the 34 years of experience in software development for manufacturing, ScienceSoft’s consultants have defined a set of factors that can ensure successful implementation of an MES:
Gradual introduction of MES functional modules
depending on production specifics, goals, and priorities for smooth MES adoption and avoidance of superfluous features.
for each product that leaves the plant to ensure regulatory compliance (e.g., OSHA, FDA, ISO 9000, EPA, CAPA) of manufacturing processes.
to get accurate insights for further improvement of the production processes.
features like access control, multifactor authentication, data encryption and more to protect proprietary and sensitive production information.
MES Costs and ROI
The cost of MES implementation may range between $375,000 – $600,000 for midsized businesses and $750,000 - $1.2 million for enterprises depending on license costs, related IT services, software complexity, IoT hardware, the number of production facilities, and other factors.
ROI over 3 years
Key financial outcomes
MES Products ScienceSoft Recommends
TrakSYS offers non-disruptive analysis and reporting of the information from the shop floor for operators and managers to help manufacturers optimize operations, maximize asset utilization efficiency, and reduce production costs. The features include:
- Material requirements planning.
- Inventory management.
- Production management.
- Quality management.
- Maintenance management.
Discrete and process manufacturing
Honeywell Forge helps turn operational data into insights that can enhance processes and productivity, support sustainability initiatives, reduce asset downtime, and improve compliance. Its features include:
- Production and equipment data monitoring.
- Production efficiency tracking.
- BOM/recipes’ synchronizing.
- Quality management.
- Engineering change management.
- Compliance management.
Discrete and process manufacturing
SAP MES provides control over production (order, lot, or unique serialized items), helps track genealogy, monitor adherence to production specifications, as well as spot improvement opportunities. It offers such features as:
- Production process modeling.
- Materials routing.
- Defect tracking and resolution.
- Labor tracking and management.
- Personalized dashboards.
- Manufacturing performance analysis.
Discrete and hybrid manufacturing
When to Choose a Custom MES Solution
ScienceSoft’s experts recommend building custom MES software if you need a solution that ensures:
Automation of complex non-standard manufacturing processes.
Advanced protection of sensitive business data.
Smooth integration with your current IT environment and new systems or modules that can be added to it later (e.g., ERP, PLM, CMMS).
ScienceSoft’s Professional Services for MES Implementation
In IT for manufacturing since 1989, ScienceSoft builds and implements MES solutions that ensure operational visibility for your production facilities.
ScienceSoft is a global IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. We plan, design, implement, support, and evolve powerful MES solutions to help manufacturing companies effectively monitor and optimize production processes. Being ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certified, we guarantee high-quality IT services and the security of our customers’ data. If you need a smart MES, don’t hesitate to reach out to ScienceSoft’s development team.