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Raise MES Stature, Says Study

A new research report analyzes top manufacturing execution system vendors, and emphasizes that MES should be viewed as a corporate-wide business application of equal importance to ERP, SCM and PLM systems.

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Chief information officers (CIOs) should modify their mindset and begin to consider manufacturing execution systems (MES) as a corporate-wide business application, says new report released by IDC Manufacturing Insights (, Framingham, Mass., a unit of International Data Corp. Manufacturers need to move away from the traditional deployment of MES that was typically plant-centric and local, with minimal or no involvement of corporate IT, according to IDC Manufacturing Insights.

The report, released on Nov. 8, notes that many manufacturing organizations—when selecting a solution to improve their manufacturing execution—are uncertain as to whether it is best to use a best-of-breed MES suite or simpler functions available from their favorite enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management (SCM) or product lifecycle management (PLM) vendors.

But a change of mindset to a corporate-wide perspective is needed, says the report. “Being a successful manufacturer is not an easy task today,” says Pierfrancesco Manenti, EMEA research director at IDC Manufacturing Insights. “Manufacturers must be ready to make rapid corrections to their tactics following fast-changing demand, shorter product life cycles, and opportunities to exploit new or emerging markets. In this environment, we believe manufacturers should directly manage the selection, implementation, and maintenance of the manufacturing execution system. It is as important as their ERP, SCM, PLM, and CRM (customer relationship management) systems.”

Competitive analysis

The report, titled, “Vendor Assessment: MES Strategies Part 2—Selecting the Right MES Application,” provides a competitive analysis of the top seven global MES vendors, designed to help manufacturers orient the choice for their initial short list of potential MES suppliers. The vendors analyzed in the report include Apriso, AspenTech, Invensys Operations Management (IOM), Oracle, Rockwell Software, SAP/Visiprise, and Siemens.

The new study follows and completes the report, “Business Strategy: MES Strategies Part 1—Importance and Challenges of Real-time Manufacturing Execution” and suggests that manufacturers should carefully select their MES vendors and implementation partners. This can have a deep impact on the value of their MES applications and, as a consequence, on the quality and effectiveness of their manufacturing operations.

“Our advice is to start first by clearly defining business requirements and then defining the right MES approach,” continues Manenti. “To frame the issue, one should consider whether the MES application is for a single plant or multiple plants, as well as the need to extend the application to support the specific requirements of an individual plant or having a global standardized application.”

IDC Manufacturing Insights

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