ERP: The “backbone” of the company
An ERP (Enterprise Resources Planning) system manages all of the operational processes of a company and is the central tool to communicate with the supply chain.
ERP is now present in almost all industries around the world. ERP offers real added value by giving a visibility and levers of global actions in flows, stocks, orders and production launches, to plan and optimize the management of the company.
ERP and MES: a complementary partnership
In a global business process, the ERP actions stop where the workshop machine or operator’s work begins. Indeed, the ERP does not have visibility on the actions carried out in workshop, nor on the progress of the work order once it launched into production.
In many cases, at the shop floor level, the product is made and tracked using various paper documents and job cards and work Instructions are produced using office solutions (Word, Excel, PPT etc.) The production traceability therefore remains paper based which prevents any capitalization of the data and breaks the link in the digital chain.
MES software – Manufacturing Execution System – will ensure this continuity by providing operators with electronic operating procedures requiring direct input (measurements, traceability, serial number, tools used, etc.) or indirect input (time stamps, electronic signatures), which is fed back to the ERP in real time.
All of the information gathered will enrich the company database and serve as input for the ERP in its planning of operational processes. Therefore, the MES, with its finer level of granularity will complement the “macro” data managed by the ERP.
A simple way to explain this notion is to consider the various operation tools in terms of their time frames to enable actions.
- ERP = hour
- MES = minute
- Actuators = second