7 interesting points that help answer: What is MES Software? – Manufacturing Execution System?

Wikipedia details MES can be defined in the below quote and many experts in the field consider these points when referring to MES Software:

“MES works in real time to enable the control of multiple elements of the production process”.  As such many data collection and performance display software penetrate the MES market without offering full functionality.”

This infographic of MES Software shows where an MES resides within a manufacturing company, note the blue area to the right that bleeds up and down into the other area:

MES Software Solutions, MES Vendors

MES Software Solutions


What is MES Software?

 Many experts consider this list of 7 informative points – What is MES Software?


Manufacturing execution software systems (MES) are computerized systems used in manufacturing, to track and document the transformation of raw materials to finished goods. MES provides information that helps manufacturing decision makers understand how current conditions on the plant floor can be optimized to improve production output.[1]

MES works in real time to enable the control of multiple elements of the production process (e.g. inputs, personnel, machines and support services).

MES may operate across multiple function areas.  For example:

1. management of product definitions across the product life-cycle

2. resource scheduling

3. order execution and dispatch

4. production analysis

5. downtime management for overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)

6. product quality

7. materials track and trace

MES creates the “as-built” record, capturing the data, processes and outcomes of the manufacturing process. This can be especially important in regulated industries, such as food and beverage or pharmaceutical, where documentation and proof of processes, events and actions may be required.  People often ask, what is MES Software?  There are many diluted definitions.

The idea of MES might be seen as an intermediate step between, on the one hand;

an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system

and a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) or process control system on the other;

Although historically, exact boundaries have fluctuated. Industry groups such as MESA International — Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association were created in the early 1990s in order to address the complexity, and advise on execution, and definition of What is a MES Software? or MES System?


“Manufacturing Execution Systems [help] create flawless manufacturing processes and provide real-time feedback of requirement changes” and provide information at a single source. Other benefits from successful MES implementation might include:

  1. Reduced waste, re-work and scrap, including quicker setup times
  2. More accurate capture of cost-information (e.g. labor, scrap, downtime, and tooling)
  3. Increased uptime
  4. Incorporate paperless workflow activities
  5. Manufacturing operations traceability
  6. Reduced inventory, through the eradication of just-in-case inventory[4]

What is MES Software?

A wide variety of systems arose using collected data for a dedicated purpose. Further development of these systems during the 1990s introduced overlap in functionality. Then the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA) introduced some structure by defining 11 functions that set the scope of MES. In 2000, the ANSI/ISA-95 standard merged this model with the Purdue Reference Model (PRM).[5]

What is MES Software?A functional hierarchy was defined in which MES were situated at Level 3 between ERP at Level 4 and process control at Levels 0, 1, 2. With the publication of the third part of the standard in 2005, activities in Level 3 were divided over four main operations: production, quality, logistics and maintenance.

Between 2005 and 2013, additional or revised parts of the ANSI/ISA-95 standard defined the architecture of an MES into more detail, covering how to internally distribute functionality and what information to exchange internally as well as externally.

Many experts consider this list of 7 points – What is MES Software?

Functional areas

Over the years, international standards and models have refined the scope of such systems in terms of activities.

These typically include:.

  • Management of product definitions. This may include storage, version control and exchange with other systems of master data like product production rules, bill of material, bill of resources, process set points and recipe data all focused on defining how to make a product. Management of product definitions can be part of product lifecycle management.


  • Resource Management. This may include registration, exchange and analysis of resource information, aiming to prepare and execute production orders with resources of the right capabilities and availability.



  • Dispatching production orders. Depending on the type of production processes this may include further distribution of batches, runs and work orders, issuing these to work centers and adjustment to unanticipated conditions.


  • Execution of production orders. Although actual execution is done by process control systems, an MES may perform checks on resources and inform other systems about the progress of production processes.


  • Collection of production data. This includes collection, storage and exchange of process data, equipment status, material lot information and production logs in either a data historian or relational database.

MES Software - Man With AR Helmet And Phone showing mes software data Ujigami MES

  • Production performance analysis. Create useful information out of the raw collected data about the current status of production, like Work In Progress (WIP) overviews, and the production performance of the past period like the overall equipment effectiveness or any other performance indicator.


  • Track and trace of production. Registration and retrieval of related information in order to present a complete history of lots, orders or equipment (particularly important in health related productions, e.g. pharmaceuticals).
  • The digitizing of the complete data from the log books into the web/tablet interface with the edit lock feature and also pulling the data from the SCADA system into the common databank.

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  • The audit interface which helps in the evaluation of performance. For example, the direct/indirect efficiency of the boiler or the cooling tower effectiveness, which is possible only by the complete integration of the data from the log books and the SCADA System.
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Video explainer:  What is MES Software?

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