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MES vs ERP: Which Is Right for Your Manufacturing Business?

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are both essential when it comes to meeting your business goals. However, not all companies can spring for both. So which is better when it comes to MES vs ERP, and what are their differences, anyway?

In this article, we’ll explain the differences between MES vs ERP systems, explain how they can be integrated to supercharge your manufacturing business, and help you make a final decision about which system is right for your business.

MES vs ERP: What Are The Differences?

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are two sides of the same coin. While they both help manufacturers by streamlining operations, they serve distinct purposes.

The main difference between MES and ERP solutions is that MES focuses on shop floor management while ERP systems are centralized databases that organize data from every department, from accounting to human resources to sales and production.

MES solutions are like other ERP modules in that they cater to one specific aspect of your business and are only accessible by the team that uses them. Likewise, there are ERP modules specifically for sales or finance. On the flipside, the ERP system is the central hub that collects and manages all the departments’ data.

What Is MES?

A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is type of software that manages manufacturing processes on the shop floor. MES is used to monitor, control, and help your team optimize and improve your manufacturing protocols.

MES can provide real-time data and insights into the production process. It automates data collection and tracks your operations so your team can access valuable data about your successes and areas for improvement.

Benefits of MES Systems

MES and ERP share many benefits because they both collect vast amounts of data, automate analysis, and generate easy-to-read reports.

Benefits of MES in particular include:

  • Automated production schedules: Not only can MES ensure production schedules are met, but it can also adjust schedules due to sudden changes in conditions.
  • Data collection and analysis: MES systems gather incredible amounts of data from IoT devices embedded in machinery and equipment. It can analyze data to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies or notify your team when it’s time for machine maintenance (also called predictive maintenance).
  • Control production quality: Set your product quality control and assurance team up for success using MES. MES tracks measures reported from IoT devices throughout the manufacturing process to ensure consistency. MES automatically records quality data and triggers alerts for deviations.

What Is ERP?

An ERP system is an holistic software solution that manages all business processes, from finance to product lifecycle management (PLM) to sales to customer and vendor portals. Yes, we’re talking about supply chain management, business intelligence software, warehouse management systems, inventory reduction and control, and more.

The goal of an ERP system is to store all aspects of your business in a central repository as a golden source of truth, to automate processes, and streamline workflows. While each department has its own ERP module in which they work, administrators can assign roles to users across departments to improve collaboration and eliminate the risk of human error.

Benefits of ERP Systems

ERP systems have a wealth of benefits and we’re always surprised to hear about manufacturers that operate without them. ERP systems provide superhuman insights into all operations and keep your data clean and easy to manage.

Here are just a few ERP benefits:

  • See the entire scope of your business processes: Unlike MES which focuses on one area of your business, the shop floor, ERP allows your team to have a bird’s-eye view of your business as a whole. It gives you the big picture.
  • Save money and boost your bottom line: While ERP implementation requires an initial investment, the data collection and analysis it offers will show you where your company is losing money. You’ll also uncover your strengths which you will leverage to grow your business.
  • It provides continuous returns: ERP systems for manufacturers, like Infor SyteLine CloudSuite Industrial, are highly scalable. As your company grows, so will the importance of your ERP system. Large manufacturers depend on ERP systems to monitor and manage their businesses as they expand outside their direct line-of-sight.

How to Integrate MES and ERP Systems to Boost Your Bottom Line

Serious manufacturers don’t choose between MES and ERP solutions. They realize they need both. Fortunately, ERP systems built for manufacturers, like Infor SyteLine, allow easy integration of MES systems.

Integrating MES and ERP systems allows seamless data exchange between the shop floor and enterprise-level operations. As with integrating any module with your ERP system, the ultimate goal is to increase visibility, especially among stakeholders, and ensure data-backed decisions making and collaboration across your entire company.

ERP and MES integration gives your team real-time data from your manufacturing processes so you can automate menial tasks involved in warehouse management, inventory control, production planning, and financial reporting. It enables a streamlined workflow.

ERP consultants like our experts at Godlan can help you integrate your MES and ERP systems. They’ll help you conduct a business process review (BPR), create an ERP implementation roadmap, clean up your data for easy migration, and connect the systems without missing a beat.

MES vs ERP: Which Is Right for Your Business?

If you’re still unsure whether you need an MES vs ERP solution, consider this: If your primary focus is on optimizing manufacturing operations and improving shop floor efficiency, you’ll want to look at an MES. If you’re looking to grow your business using software that connects all business processes across the board, implement an ERP system. Again, most manufacturers depend on both MES and ERP systems.

Have questions? Contact Godlan Consulting for custom-tailored solutions today.

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