What is MES: Manufacturing Execution Systems Explained

The manufacturing sector is becoming increasingly competitive and more complex than ever before. Manufacturers are required to have quicker turnarounds with lower-cost production, all while complying with strict regulations. Traditional methods of controlling your manufacturing processes just won't cut it anymore. Understanding what is MES, or a manufacturing execution system, will be crucial to meeting growing challenges of manufacturing and meeting customer demands.

An Overview of MES

Manufacturing execution systems (MES) are software solutions that close the gap between management and control of manufacturing processes. This provides never before seen transparency in all facets of manufacturing from the supply chain all the way to the finished product. The ability to obtain real-time data from equipment and systems allows for better-informed decisions regarding scheduling, the supply chain, inventory, processes, and regulations while increasing customer satisfaction. 

Let's take a look at the extensive capabilities and benefits of manufacturing execution systems and why they are the future of manufacturing across a variety of industries.

Increases Overall Efficiency

MES ensures that the right information reaches the right person at the right time. This level of precision allows your team to optimize manufacturing processes from start to finish. Quickly identify the areas of processes that are inefficient and take measures to correct these inadequacies.

Decreases Production Downtime

Track raw materials as they move through the supply chain in real-time. This means that you prevent wasted time caused by shifts in material transit times. You can then take it one step further and more effectively schedule your team, making the best use of your team’s bandwidth. 

Prevents a Surplus of Inventory

It is expensive to store inventory and you do not want to store any more than you have to. Not only does it take up unnecessary space, but you risk surplus inventory sitting on a shelf and expiring. In today’s environment, innovation may result in updated designs. You then have to throw the materials out. This is a waste and very costly.  An MES consistently keeps your inventory list up-to-date so that your scheduling team knows which materials are available, how much, and exactly where they are located. The data also shows you what needs to be ordered so that you only order the materials needed. 

Digitizes Your Manufacturing Processes

It takes resources for your team to take hand-written notes on the floor as production is taking place. Implementing an MES automatically collects the information needed to identify unprofitable business processes as well as forecasting. This frees up your team to focus on other areas of the production line. 

Has Comprehensive Integration Capabilities

An MES gets rid of the need for a standalone system, which in turn, eliminates redundancy in your processes. An MES integrates seamlessly with business systems to allow you and your team to manage manufacturing operations from a single, centralized database. This makes it easier to better see your supply chains and production lines from start to finish and make changes where needed.

On-Premise or Cloud

Implementing an MES allows you to choose from on-premise and/or cloud deployment. On-premise means your MES lives on your datacenters. While seemingly secure, you cannot access the system remotely. The option for cloud deployment means that you aren't limited to only being able to manage your operations from facility. The cloud allows for remote access, allowing supervisors to monitor production wherever they may be in the world and leverage modern technologies such as machine learning, AI, and mobile

Identifies Defects Quickly

Errors in manufacturing can be devastating, costing your operation lost time and wasted money. An MES allows you to more quickly identify defects and issues in the production line. This means you can take action to correct these identified issues as quickly as possible without losing additional products, materials, time, or money. Parameters can be set that automatically stops production when potential defects are identified until it can be reviewed by an engineer or supervisor. 

Automatically Collects Data

Reduce or completely eliminate the need for manual data collection. MES has the capability to collect large amounts of valuable data and turn it into valuable insights. These insights improve accuracy and speed up the management processes. The reduced cost of data storage allows you to collect more data than ever, while maintaining control over which types of data are relevant to various people on your team.


Have the ability to meet individualization requirements that meet the market-of-one-demand. At the same time, maintain optimal productivity, margin, and quality standards, while improving levels of customer satisfaction.

Keeps Operations Running Smoothly

An MES is a versatile tool that allows you to keep an eye on the condition of the equipment. This means you can create a maintenance schedule to ensure that your assets are properly serviced to prevent downtime and/or costly repairs. Obtain insights that alert you when a piece of equipment is not running as it should or an issue has been identified.

Controls Your Supply Chain

Use data based on your production line to build a strong supply chain and maintain accountability with your suppliers. 360-degree control of your supply chain means that you will have the materials you need when you need them to ensure that your facilities are always up and running when they need to be.

Streamline Production Lines

From scheduling shifts and providing instruction to making sure your production lines are streamlined, an MES helps you ensure that your team is productive and you are producing the highest quality products possible.

Innovative Design Engineering

It is risky to blindly provide inputs to your manufacturing process and hope for the best. Instead, rely on reliable data. An MES gives you a continuous feedback loop that allows you to make improvements using real-time data. Continuously improve the design of your manufacturing processes and provide critical manufacturing data to your design engineers so your team can keep an edge on your competitors.  

The Future of Manufacturing

Manufacturing execution systems in production facilities are the way of the future for the manufacturing industry in a variety of fields including aviation, aerospace, robotics, pharmaceuticals, and so much more! Manufacturing is evolving at a faster than ever pace.

Book a demo today and see for yourself how an MES can transform your production facilities!