Small to medium-sized food and beverage manufacturing businesses that haven’t yet invested in enterprise resource planning (ERP) software or a manufacturing execution system (MES) may need further clarification on the differences between the two applications. Alternatively, if you’re already running an ERP system, you might whether implementing an MES system is worth the investment.
To help manufacturers make an educated decision about whether or not to adopt either of the above solutions, the team at EZSoft has put together this brief guide highlighting some key differences between ERP and MES industrial automation solutions. For most companies, introducing some combination of the two that includes MES and ERP integration is usually the best approach.
What is ERP software?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems for the food and beverage industry is an automated software platform that helps food producers manage their daily operations more efficiently. This solution doesn’t just deal with manufacturing processes at the plant floor level. Instead, companies deploy ERP software to enhance productivity and efficiency across multiple departments.
ERP systems bring management tasks under a centralized hub, allowing businesses to gain more visibility into their operations and grasp additional control over valuable business data that might otherwise be inaccessible. ERP systems are most often cloud-based -but not always. Above all, these solutions empower businesses to make data-informed decisions and implement process improvements across multiple areas of their organizations that save time, reduce costs, and boost efficiency.
ERP software provides flexible modules, from supply chain management and accounting to human resources and marketing. Each module is adaptable to your unique business requirements. ERP systems leverage automated industrial solutions to improve customer-client relations and drive essential business functions as they’re coalesced under one umbrella to simplify management.
The various ERP software modules communicate with each other relaying relevant data back and forth while storing information within a database usually facilitated from the cloud. Among the primary advantages of an ERP solution it gives businesses the ability to automate several core processes to enhance visibility and run analytics on critical business data. What’s more, ERP software consolidates all these processes under a unified platform that can be implemented in-house, on the cloud, or through a custom hybrid solution.
What is a manufacturing execution system (MES)?
What is a manufacturing execution system (MES) software is an industrial automation solution that is somewhat similar to the ERP in the sense that it aims to accomplish many of the same objectives. Both solutions provide real-time visibility into your business operations. However, an MES is more focused on the manufacturing side of an organization.
MES solutions monitor your manufacturing processes from start to finish while supplying precise information about product contents such as raw ingredients. Like ERP software an MES aims to optimize productivity and businesses more control over important factors, like quality control, while enhancing their management processes.
All the processes industries, from food and beverage to pharmaceutical manufacturing, are highly regulated. Because compliance violations can be costly, companies operating within the processing sectors leverage MES industrial software solutions to ensure product traceability and optimal level of quality control.
The latest manufacturing systems give food producers live-time production data that are typically stored and administered over the cloud. The software provides companies with the ability to streamline tracking and tracing and the tool necessary to analyze critical manufacturing data across their entire production cycle. Like ERP systems, MES software enables businesses to make data-informed decisions and adjust their processes to enhance productivity and efficiency.
What are the key differences between ERP and MES software solutions?
As mentioned, MES software and ERP systems cover different aspects of manufacturing operations. ERP systems optimize business management and resource planning across a broad spectrum of activities. MES software, on the other hand, deals primarily with the manufacturing elements of a company, emphasizing management on the plant floor and product quality control.
ERP solutions draw data from the various parts of an organization to ensure that all departments can access the same data as needed and make sound decisions based on high-quality, real-time information. Conversely, MES systems help operations managers gain more control over and visibility into production, addressing several areas of manufacturing that ERP solutions cannot.
Companies that already run ERP software typically introduce MES solutions to improve specific elements of their manufacturing processes. Businesses integrate MES software with their manufacturing equipment to introduce a more automated manufacturing process and improve productivity at the shop floor level.
So, while ERP systems are used to control and monitor broader business tasks, MES solutions provide businesses with detailed information about factory production. Many organizations have found that they’ve considerably improved decision-making and productivity after implementing a well-integrated combination of the two solutions.
Should manufacturers adopt an MES if they’re already running an ERP?
The answer to whether or not you should integrate an MES into an existing ERP depends on a few factors. If a company’s production is lagging and the processes are less than efficient, an MES solution can help them quickly regain control of manufacturing plants and return to profitability.
However, most food manufacturing businesses will benefit from integrating an MES into their current ERP solution because an MES fills in the gaps that an ERP simply can’t cover. And MES can give you detailed information about your batch runs and help your product quality control procedures, while ERP software cannot.
Locating reliable industrial automation companies near me
Interested in learning more about MES integration and creating a data ecosystem that can optimize decision-making and increase productivity while reducing production downtime?
Consider partnering with EZSoft, a full-service integrator of process control systems provider that helps food manufacturers enhance productivity and quality control through automation.
Contact an MES and ERP software expert now by completing a request for contact form or dial EZSoft now at (484) 568-5040.