MES Software vs ERP System?
“We also do a bit of production and machine data acquisition”. That’s how sales experts at ERP providers normally reacted when customers asked about MES functions. Nowadays however, cutting-edge MES solutions are far more than just plain old acquisition systems. Within the overall Industry 4.0 concept, a modern MES system is about much more than that. With the move away from simple production data acquisition and analysis, digitisation and networking of the shop floor is now often part and parcel of the daily routine!
MES software vs ERP system: Complementing each other, not competing!
To illustrate that ERP and MES complement rather than compete with each other, consider the following scenario: What can the machine operator do when his production process deviates from specifications because the processing behaviour of the tool changes due to changes to raw material properties and scrap is produced as a result? The OEE of the system also deterioriates by one percentage point. The production manager who watches the quality of his production process deteriorate based on this KPI would first turn to his staff for an explanation. But the operator has done everything right for this sub-process, the fault does not lie with him but incoming inspectors. This is also evident from a subsequent analysis based on MDE data and feedback on scrap and the related batch information, but by then it’s too late!
It is important of course to uncover faults through subsequent evaluations and analyses in order to correct them or, better still, to eliminate their root cause. Just as important though is the task of informing all those involved as quickly as possible of any process deviations from the specifications as quickly as possible, in order that they can take prompt action to correct the faults. This is where we separate the “wheat” from the “chaff”: Many ERP systems, which also offer data acquisition options for production, provide information, but few of these feed it back quickly to the operator. This is particularly crucial if process parameters such as temperature, pressure or feed rate fall below or exceed tolerance and need to be fixed. Using an ERP system, this would take too long. Other key information for the operator, such as warehouse information on semi-finished goods for the next process step, information on the next scheduled maintenance, but also tooling, drawing and NC program information should be provided in the right place at the right time. For comparison, the information that there is a traffic jam on route is only useful to a car driver if he can still turn around to avoid it, but it doesn’t help if he is already in the jam.
No Industry 4.0 without professional MES data acquisition
At present, an ERP system is not up to the task of ensuring horizontal and vertical networking for the operator in production and of providing him with all key information as the right time. This is exactly what an MES solution like PROXIA Software AG offers to create the basis for resilient production. Alongside the standard scope of an MES solution, other features are important if companies are to feel the full benefit of the solution. An MES solution created by specialists is designed to support and add value to all sub-processes in production, and to provide everyone involved in the process with information. This is why solutions have a modular design and can be expanded by the relevant software modules as required. MES projects often have a “smart” base module which can be gradually expanded to create a complete solution. Users not only benefit from the many years of experience provided by MES specialists, but from all current and future enhancements and add-ons to the MES solution.
MES – practical solutions based on practical experience
Alongside experience and technical expertise, an MES specialist provides expert advice when it comes to shop floor applications in particular. Through best practice use cases and user reports, customers can not only draw on the experiences of other users, but also receive advice tailored to their personal MES project. With an MES solution provided by MES specialists, e.g. PROXIA Software AG, a customer acquires not just a simple add-on, but lays a practical foundation for the development of digital production.Download prospect