Manufacturing Execution Systems: Digital Foundation for Smart Manufacturing

Global manufacturing industries embark on digital transformation to improve productivity, increase efficiency, reduce the cost of operations and increase market share with product and process innovation. This digital transformation for smart manufacturing requires adopting many information and operational technologies that align with the current landscape of manufacturing technologies. This requires foundational technologies to scale and evolve into diverse functions of smart manufacturing. Many manufacturing organizations have Manufacturing Execution System (MES) for production management and collaboration. MES provides the power of real-time visibility of operations and drives production execution. Smart manufacturing requires end-to-end control across manufacturing and the value network with both horizontal and vertical integration. The benefits of smart enterprises adopting Industry 4.0 concepts is enticing for all types of enterprise — process, discrete of continuous manufacturing, but the path is not clear.

This paper addresses digital transformation with MES as the core element combined with other relevant technologies. Further, the paper analyzes the different requirements of smart manufacturing. It provides insights into the alignment of MES technology for this digital journey. MES being a data hub for all production events provides the most suitable platform to help realize many business functions in production, quality, inventory and maintenance operations. In this way, MES accelerates solution implementation for smart manufacturing. The workflow capabilities, real-time production data and contextual information of MES provide a convenient platform for adopting different technologies like Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), analytics, robotics, and immersive technologies to equip manufacturing operators and decision makers better to make operational, tactical and strategic decisions. It also provides a pragmatic roadmap to implement smart manufacturing for specific use cases.

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