What is a Manufacturing Execution System (MES)?

By: Simon Spencer

mercredi, mai 20 2020


What Is An MES

A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is a software or computerized system commonly used in the manufacturing industry. It is employed to monitor, control, and document the processes which transform an item from being a batch of raw materials to a finished article.

An MES can vary in complexity from almost being considered an ERP to a very simple process control system (e.g. within a spreadsheet).

The MESA International, commonly known as Manufacturing Execution System Association, originally defined an MES as having the following attributes:

  • Operations detail and sequencing
  • Resource allocation and status
  • Dispatching production units
  • Performance analysis
  • Maintenance management
  • Process management
  • Quality management
  • Data Collection/Acquisition
  • Product tracking and genealogy
  • Labor management
  • Document control

Over the years, as the manufacturing and production enterprises have shaped their processes by adopting more innovative solutions, such as Industry 4.0 revolution, the MES model changed.

To better illustrate the current MES' modularity and interoperability, we have adapted MESA's newest model with VKS' capabilities below

MES diagram

Why Is MES Needed

The Manufacturing Execution System centralizes all essential attributes to promote a company's effectiveness, but at the same time, it divides those main attributes vertically. The new model has a series of Strategic Initiatives identified as the overall enterprise goals (e.g. Lean Manufacturing). Next, MES integrates into the plant-level operations, denoted as Business Operations in the image, and to the actual Manufacturing/Production Operations' level.

It is important to keep in mind that MES is a software solution after all and before you plan the roadmap to success using MES for your company you should consider if SaaS is a viable option for your company's actual abilities. Don't get us wrong, we encourage all manufacturers to shift their vision towards a Smart Factory, but it is crucial you consider all factors involved.


VKS is a Smart Manufacturing solution, and its purpose is to aid manufacturers continuously improve their operations. With its unique value proposition, the VKS tool aims to help any company, that has no software in place, guide its operations towards optimization, and higher productivity.

Learn more about VKS' capabilities here.

At its highest level of integration, VKS will let your company start with clear and concise operation work instructions, which are setting the tone for the whole plant operations at their most basic levels. At the same time, you gain a paperless shop-floor that easily integrates all your drawings, plans, and job specifics in one place.

Next, by simplifying and streamlining all your processes you develop a digital workforce. In return, this lets you capitalize on quality by having all your employees execute your best practices.

If your company has an ERP in place that has the capacity to do resource management and scheduling, VKS can help you bridge the gap between the shop-floor and your information. VKS will act as the IoT solution for capturing and facilitating the data transmission of your critical events directly from the employee while minimizing data entry (transactions) that feeds your ERP.

All these competencies will maximize the overall enterprise productivity and seamlessly integrate all your processes into a lean operation, the main MES goal.

MES diagram

VKS Integrating Within Your MES

If you already have an MES, it is generally your source of truth and it would be impossible to operate without it. However in many cases, MES’ fall short when it comes to showing your employees the details of each job. VKS can help you bridge the gap between your shop-floor and your information systems.

In this scenario, you can use VKS to provide the most comprehensive visual work instructions by presenting your processes using pictures, videos, annotations, and text. The two are easily brought together, simply create your work instructions within VKS, and then link them into your MES.

Read more about VKS success stories here.

With contributions from Shannon Bennett.