There’s a lot of confusion about the difference between a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM). There are some that think the two are the same thing or that MES is a component of MOM, whilst others believe the two are totally different. What we have seen is an evolutionary development over several decades from MES to MOM.
The definition of MES
The best way to understand the differences are to define them both. MES is an information system that facilitates the tracking and monitoring of the manufacturing process on the factory floor. The main role of a MES is to ensure all the manufacturing processes follow the prescribed procedures so that it results in increased productivity and minimal wastage.
Some of the activities and processes MES controls include customer orders, master schedules, MRP (Materials Resource Planning) systems and other planning sources. Its key purpose is to achieve operational efficiency in operations by lowering costs and ensuring maximum productivity.
MES came into existence in the early 1980s and has had a tremendous impact on the manufacturing industry. It has played a critical role in collecting data in real-time, giving actionable insights that help with decision making.
The evolution of MES to MOM
MOM is a little younger than MES and was created in the late 1990s to be inclusive of solutions that evolved to fit in the same space. MOM provides a more comprehensive product solution encompassing the new dimensions of traceability, quality, production management, maintenance, and covering the ISA-95 level three architecture standards. It also provides enterprise manufacturing intelligence and the opportunity to implement a range of other advanced technologies like Industry 4.0, which makes MOM an important part of the journey towards the Smart Factory.
The ultimate goal of MOM systems is to facilitate closer integration of business planning functions and operations with a view to increasing agility. It collects data from shop-floor machines, connected devices and employees to help cut costs, increase productivity and to deliver to customers faster.
How does MOM differ?
MOM is a software solution for managing end-to-end manufacturing processes to optimise planning, scheduling and operations whilst controlling quality and costs. It is a much more comprehensive solution that has undoubtedly evolved from MES, providing complete visibility into all manufacturing processes. The acronym ‘MOM’ replaced ‘MES’ for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the concept of ‘Execution’ does not sit as well with process manufacturing as it does with discrete manufacturing.
A MOM will introduce unique approaches in the work environment by modelling real-world interactions between the plant and its operators. It creates an environment that makes the operators feel empowered and ready to refine and streamline the processes in a manner that’s required to function optimally. Effective use of MOM provides benefits to both the plant management and operators.
Benefits of MOM to plant managers and engineers
A MOM system helps managers achieve document compliance and ensures their products meet the required specifications, thereby reducing recalls to the minimum level. Additionally, it will help improve the visibility of critical data, increase productivity, reduce waste, lower production costs, enable greater quality control and improve the management of schedules and production rates without having to manage multiple systems from various vendors. The overall result is that the company’s brand equity is protected through consistent quality.
MOM also helps managers to visualise and see the process in action, through the enhanced decision-making and supply chain visibility it provides. Allowing them to make better planning decisions and improving their chances of achieving customer satisfaction targets.
Whereas for plant engineers, making work instructions available digitally will enable them to execute their tasks conveniently and cost-effectively. This type of uninterrupted production is crucial to maximising product quality and optimising inventory levels, which will enable the plant to go lean.
Where MOM fits in
A MOM solution provides the operational information that a business requires about plant floor operations, but it needs to be integrated with information from the rest of the organisation to get the maximum benefit. That’s where an ERP system comes in.
An ERP provides inventory management, warehouse management, procurement, Bill of Materials, supply chain visibility, as well as back office capabilities such as finance and human resource management that modern manufacturing businesses need.
When integrating ERP with MOM, manufacturers gain the accuracy of automation and the insights of data from both systems for full context decision making. This enables them to collect the machine data and provide detailed reporting capabilities.
This ERP integration also allows companies to support end-to-end enterprise business to manufacturing processes across the entire product lifecycle, including design engineering, supplier relationships, planning, scheduling, manufacturing execution, performance management, warehousing, shipping as well as customer relationship management.
Manufacturers should ideally consider a MOM solution that abides to world-class manufacturing standards and is importantly fully integrated into their ERP, in order to leverage a single platform to monitor and improve factory performance. This will transform how an organisation manages people, equipment and processes to drive better business performance and strategic outcomes.
Should manufacturers implement MOM?
It’s very clear that a manufacturer that implements better management of its industrial operations standards through MOM has a higher chance of success than one still holding onto traditional approaches.
To gain a competitive advantage, manufacturers must be agile enough to respond to market demands at all levels of production without increasing costs or waste and sacrificing their efficiency. The adoption of a MOM system can mean the difference between success and failure.
By Rob Stummer, Asia Pacific CEO at SYSPRO