MES - Manufacturing Execution Systems are systems that form a link between enterprise information systems (e.g. ERP) and manufacturing automation systems (technical processes). Throughout the history of the development of these systems, a number of key activities have been defined by these systems. Several selected ones are described below.
Managing Production Resources
Ensures the allocation and tracking of resources and capacities needed for the production process. For example, these resources can be people, material, equipment, tools, energy, etc. This information is based on the current status and future bookings of these resources. It also provides information on resource availability for assigned tasks and required qualifications (e.g. training).
Managing production processes
Includes inventory, version management, and master data exchange with surrounding systems, such as production rules for final products, bills of materials, production sources, etc. All of this information is used to define the final product. Managing production processes can be part of PLM (Product Lifecycle Management).
Detailed production planning
Production planning is a critical part of manufacturing and is also an important part of manufacturing information systems. There are many different approaches to production planning, such as forward and backward production planning, planning based on simple algorithms based on the priorities of individual orders, or very complex planning based on genetic algorithms. The result of production planning is the so-called queue of work defining the order in which individual production orders will be processed on the production source. This queue of work is, of course, created with the emphasis on eliminating unnecessary machine adjustment, energy consumption, downtime, etc.
Dispatching control is defined as a summary of production control activities by assigning work to individual equipment and people, providing the necessary amount of raw materials and energy, monitoring the current state of production, operational failures, etc. The final scope of dispatching control is dependent on the range of activities provided by detailed planning.
Provides activities that control production specified in planned and released production (queue of work). If the production control is secured in the control system, the production information system provides for resource checks and informs surrounding systems about the current state of production (work-outs, production control steps, etc.). Managing production in MES systems is very important due to the linking with ERP systems and possibly online access to information on the production process.
It assures the collection and history of process and production data, plant statuses, etc. Production data generation can be very diverse in every type of production. From very simple production where only basic information (such as machine cycle) is collected, to highly automated production, where thousands of values are collected every minute.
It is defined as a collection of activities to collect and provide information on resources (people, machines, ...) currently used for the production of the final product, material consumption, intermediate production, etc. This activity is very important for legislative requirements, audits or resolving complaints.
Performance analyses (or Key Performance Indicators - KPIs) are used by manufacturing companies (and not just manufacturing companies) to evaluate their overall success or to evaluate success in different areas of the entire production process. In general, other indicators are important for each business, depending on their strategy. Perhaps the best known indicator of manufacturing is OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness). This indicator consists of several sub-indices and indicates a value for the efficient use of production facilities.