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Plex’s No BS Guide to MES

Manufacturing Execution System (MES)
May 27, 2020

Are you struggling with a lack of visibility and control across your manufacturing operations?

Does it feel like you are being left behind while your competitors move forward?

Either way, you’re not alone.

The key to success, no matter the size of your company, is to select technologies that solve your challenges while also modernizing your business to compete. For manufacturers, this typically starts by digitizing and taking control of production and manufacturing execution. But what technologies enable that and where do you start?

You’re in luck. We’ve written a new guide to explain how you can obtain reliable data on your plant floor, increase visibility across your plants and take control of your operations. In partnership with Wiley, publishers of the famous “For Dummies” book series, we created “MES For Dummies” to uncover everything you need to know about manufacturing execution systems (MES) and how you can leverage this technology to take your manufacturing operations to a whole new level. 

Why Your Manufacturing Plant Needs an MES Solution

Industry 4.0 is driving development and deployment of a broad range of technologies that increase connectivity, resulting in faster, more accurate and contextualized data delivery, leading to more confident decision making.

MES, while not new, is one tool arming you for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. No matter the size of your business, an MES solution delivers greater efficiency on the plant floor, better data availability, and higher levels of control. From production control, machine integration, equipment maintenance, embedded quality controls, and real-time analytics, an MES can coordinate all the critical functions so that you can achieve operational excellence and truly realize the benefits of smart manufacturing. Here are just a few of the benefits that an MES solution offers.

  1. Reducing Risk

    An MES can reduce risk in your operation by helping ensure processes are executed consistently and by consolidating visibility within as well as across plants for a broad view of your manufacturing operations.

    By eliminating errors, optimizing schedules, and improving quality and compliance, you can achieve operational excellence and focus on continuous improvement.

  2. Increasing Inventory Visibility

    Having real-time production control means you can track inventory as it is being consumed. You can rein in costs by eliminating repetitive manual inventory checks and by ensuring physical inventory efficiency by avoiding either stockouts or having too much buffer stock.

    More importantly, you can better meet customer demands in a timely, more cost-effective way. This will help both increase cash flow and customer satisfaction.

  3. Adhering to Quality and Compliance

    Most manufacturers need to adhere to and comply with strict government regulations, industry standards or customer requirements. For example, the food and beverage industry is experiencing increasing accountability to meet quality and compliance standards due to drastic changes to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), giving increasing authority to the FDA over how food is grown, harvested and produced.

    An MES solution can help to assure that quality standards are being met throughout the manufacturing process. In the event that there are questions about a product, or a recall is issued, an MES can help you quickly locate and isolate the affected products.

The Right MES Will Drive Value

Implementing an MES should be done with a clear business case in mind and success metrics in place to ensure you meet your goals. Since results can appear quickly, it’s imperative your KPIs are set up ahead of time so you are ready to measure success.

When evaluating options, take the time to understand what is possible, what solution providers offer and what a successful implementation looks like for you. Doing so ensures not only the smoothest transition, but also delivers the greatest value and return on investment.



Of course, this is just a sampling of what an MES can offer. We dive much deeper into them in our new guide, MES For Dummies.

We know you are (probably) not a dummy. But by implementing what you find in this guide, we are confident you’ll come away smarter and be prepared to put an MES to work for you.

About the Author

Ben Stewart VP of Product Strategy, Plex Systems

Ben Stewart is responsible for product strategy at Plex Systems. He collaborates with Plex leadership, customers, and the analyst community to shape the future of the Plex Manufacturing Cloud. Ben brings strong domain expertise gained in his previous roles as CIO, ERP consulting manager, and global IT director for three manufacturing companies and a leading technology consultancy. He also served as president of the Plex Michigan User Group and has lead ERP implementations at over 50 locations worldwide. Ben earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Operations Management from the University of Massachusetts, and an MBA with a focus on Management Information Systems from Oakland University.