Blog by Vladimir Lukić
You can very often hear manufacturers claim that SCADA and ERP have built-in MES functionalities or something that I particularly like: „Lite MES“ functionality” 😊.
There is a good article about this by Mr. Rick Franzosa : Lite Works for Beer But Not For MES.
In my humble opinion, they are missing the point of what MES is.
The fact that ERP can be integrated with a SCADA system, cannot be interpreted as MES functionality. I am sure MES can be made within ERP, but it is usually expensive and hard to maintain. Also, the fact that SCADA has built-in reporting and historian does not mean that SCADA, therefore, becomes an MES. The functionalities of MES are very well defined by the ISA-95 standard. In my opinion, that makes it one of the best sources of information.
MES experts need to understand the manufacturing process and know how L2 systems and Level 4 ERP systems generally work to integrate with both worlds.
You could probably manage the entire factory with only one solution. But what would you get out of it? An inefficient and unsustainable system with very complex maintenance and vast costs! Moreover, running such a solution requires the help of an all-in-one expert: a superhero capable of simultaneously handling ERP, automation, and MES. Imagine what would happen if you had an upgrade of an entire system? The whole production would have to stop for a few days?! Turning your ankle hurts like hell, even if you are a superhero.
I have also heard certain experts claim that MES is yet another data silo. I think that systems that can easily collect and exchange data are the right solution and are by no means just data silos.
MES receives a tremendous amount of data in real-time, but we do not only collect data – we also analyze it and convert it into valuable information. That makes an essential difference between MES and other seemingly similar systems.