Smart Manufacturing Blog

Welcome to your source for all things smart manufacturing. Whether you’re looking for expert insights, hard data, or actionable tips for your plant floor, we’ve got you covered every week of the year.

7th Annual State of Smart Manufacturing

Now Available!

Get your copy of the 7th Annual State of Smart Manufacturing and hear from 300+ manufacturers in this new survey report!

The Right MES Is Out There: Industry Experts Make Their Picks

Manufacturing Execution System (MES)
December 19, 2022

An MES, or manufacturing execution system, is an essential manufacturing tool for business resiliency in the face of disruption. The pandemic, geopolitical uncertainty, cybersecurity risks, and supply chain uncertainty are just a few of the major risks impacting manufacturers and driving more companies to digitize their business than ever before.

Whether or not to adopt or upgrade an MES solution is no longer the question. Today, it’s all about choosing the right one for your enterprise. Leading technology analysts are weighing in on what to look for in your new MES and their studies take different approaches — from gauging strengths, to gathering customer reviews, to competitively ranking providers. Let’s take a look at three questions the most trusted MES reports in the industry answer.

What are the strengths of the MES?

One tech industry standard for vetting solutions and determining core functionalities is the Gartner Magic Quadrant Report for MES. Gartner, a well-known research and consulting firm, annually evaluates, rates, and publishes its rankings of MES vendors according to four market positions: Leaders, Visionaries, Niche Players, and Challengers. Plex, for example, is in the Leaders quadrant for these strengths:

  • Proven support: Plex is the vendor with the longest history of SaaS-based MES and ERP solutions in this Magic Quadrant. Plex has proven to be a key solution in thousands of global plants supported by a global support team.
  • Long-term vertical/industry strategy: Its acquisition by Rockwell Automation expands Plex’s geographic reach and increases its coverage with Rockwell customers looking for cloud-native industry solutions in specific industries, such as those running process and batch operations, providing the ever-important connection between IT and OT.
  • Agility: Enhancements include an option to deploy on Microsoft Azure in EMEA, the addition of production monitoring and process automation capabilities, improvements for process manufacturing industries such as IoT traceability and improved batch management. Plus, Plex uses a modular product approach that enables customers to start their transformation journey with capabilities that can be deployed to meet one pain point at a time with paths toward expanding to a full enterprise-wide solution.

Gartner’s Nine Core MES Functionalities:

  1. Dispatching – work distribution and scheduling
  2. Production management, execution, and in-process quality monitoring
  3. Manufacturing data management
  4. Operational data store – ability to store data from basic to historian
  5. Manufacturing-related quality management processes
  6. Procedural enforcement
  7. Tracking and genealogy
  8. Integrated analytics and reporting
  9. Sophisticated integration capability

What do current MES customers have to say?

For another perspective, global tech research and advisory company InfoTech (ITRG) compiles the experiences of real-world MES users in their annual MES Quadrant Report. This comprehensive report collects unbiased feedback with the goal of helping companies make the MES choice that best suits their needs.

InfoTech asks customers about product features and satisfaction, along with vendor experience and capabilities, combining the results to achieve a complete evaluation of any MES solution. Plex was named a Leader in the InfoTech report, which also includes a high-level summary of product performance.

Products are ranked by a composite satisfaction score (Composite Score) that averages four different areas of evaluation: Net Emotional Footprint, Vendor Capabilities, Product Features, and Likeliness to Recommend. The Net Emotional Footprint Score measures user emotional response ratings of the vendor — attributes such as trustworthiness, fairness, and respectability. Again, these scores and rankings are based solely on real-world user feedback.

What sets an MES apart from competition?

Competitive rankings can also be helpful in the search for an ideal MES. ABI Research, a global technology intelligence firm, publishes a ranking matrix based on innovation and implementation. The study offers a thorough examination of the features and benefits of a given MES system, such as this excerpt from its 2022 evaluation:

“Plex Systems offers an easy to deploy MES that requires no customization, being able to be quickly configured for use without the need of programmers and outside consultants. A Plex MES can be accessed through any web browser, on any device, making it easy to access. Due to the SaaS nature of the MES, all customers share a common code base, separated by customer tenants, so new features are delivered through an opt-in and continuous innovation model, which eliminates the need to upgrade software or hardware throughout the solution’s lifecycle, making maintenance of the MES incredibly easy.

Customers do not need to add licenses, servers, or any further capital costs to access the features provided through this model. The software is deployed as a single instance, multitenant platform, ensuring that all users are running the same version, ensuring continuity and compatibility enterprise wide.”

Finding the Right MES for Your Needs

As MES technology advances the barriers to entry lower, making adoption more feasible for all businesses. No matter your size or specialty, taking the next step in your MES journey is paramount to tracking materials, harnessing real-time data, improving quality, and ultimately, remaining competitive.

But in order to find the right MES for your business needs, research is key. Luckily, there are many trusted, impartial reports waiting to help you make the most of your strategic decision

See how different MES systems stack up by reviewing the Gartner Magic Quadrant Report for MES, the Info-Tech Data MES Quadrant Report, and the ABI Research MES Competitive Ranking.

About the Author

Gerry Abbey Product Marketing Manager, Plex Systems

Gerry joined Plex in 2021 as a Product Marketing Manager with over twelve years of experience in software marketing. Leading the State of Smart Manufacturing Report creation and promotion, Gerry is also responsible for MES, QMS, and F&B product marketing. Gerry brings a wealth of content experience to the product team, having founded corporate blogs and collaborated on thousands of blog posts, white papers, and industry reports. Outside of Plex, Gerry has published two books, loves to travel, and enjoys spending time with his wife and kids exploring nature in Rhode Island.