MES: Definition

The term MES, Manufacturing Execution System, was created by the M.E.S.A and formalized in the ISA95 standard.  It defines 11 key elements that a MES solution must address.
An MES can be defined as a system for executing, managing and monitoring the production process. Its role is to supervise machines and operators with complete traceability of the manufacturing process.

MES and Industry 4.0 – Linking the digital factory

The 2000s saw the massive deployment of ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning) across all industry, which made it possible to plan and optimize the supply chain.
15 years later, there is a complementary need to optimize management of the production process: to provide data continuity between the ERP system and the workshop operations.  This is achieved by creating a complete digital chain from the creation of the manufacturing order (works order) to completion of the final product.

At the heart of the Industry 4.0 revolution, the Manufacturing Execution System is the central link to the digital industrial ecosystem.


MES: Real time workshop management

Interfaced with all the connected production process, the MES guides and reacts to the activities within the workshop in real time. It is the central point for production execution, in charge of transmitting the right information at the right moment to:

  • Operators (via work instructions, traceability requirements, work order progression)
  • Machines (Start / stop, machine parameter setting, part status, etc.)

By capitalizing all the production data in real time, the MES has low level visibility of each works order including its status and performance with a granularity in the order of a minute thus making it a complementary tool of the ERP which has a higher level global view.

Because of its central role, MES is an invaluable tool for effectively managing the production process by optimizing the flow of information and providing operators and managers with fast actionable data to minimize disruption.


MES & Industry 4.0

At the heart of Industry 4.0, the MES offers multi-source and multi-media interconnectivity, the basis for digitizing processes.
Through this fourth industrial revolution, IoT (Internet of Things), 3D printers and RA glasses are quickly becoming standard industrial equipment and no longer future R&T goals.
The MES facilitates and productionizes the digital transformation of factories by increasing the agility and adaptability within the production environment. From this concept came the term Smart Manufacturing: the intelligent and connected production plant, where data flows without limits.