What is a MES system

Hi All,

The medical device company that I am currently working for is introducing a “MES” system to remove shop floor paperwork from the manufacturing line.

What is MES exactly and what are it’s benefits?

Thank you


Mmm sounds very familar, I think we could be working for the same company!


What is MES

MES is a production control system designed to store all Device History Records (DHR) information electronically.

Benefits of MES

  • Electronic DHR & corresponding Audit Trail
  • Operators will sign off work steps electronically
  • Enforces line clearence (forced production sequencing)
  • Eliminates Calibration & Preventative Maintenance expiration errors
  • Forces correct component / batch consumption
  • Automates collection of quality data
  • Automates out of tolerance checks (min/max value checking)
  • Makes available only current SOP's
  • Enforces training certification checks
  • Prompts for time based events
  • Allows setup information to be sent directly to equipment from MES

Hope this helps a bit

A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is a system that companies can use to measure and control critical production activities. Some of the benefits with regards to MES solutions are increased traceability, productivity, and quality. Other functions served by MES solutions may include equipment tracking, product geneaology, labor tracking, inventory management, costing, electronic signature capture, defect and resolution monitoring, Key Performance Indicator monitoring and alarming, Executive Dashboards and other various reporting solutions.

It is important to note that the term MES is held vary loosely across different manufacturing industries (Semiconductor, Process, Food and Beverage, etc.). MES has many parts and can be deployed on various scales. From simple WIP tracking to a complex solution integrated throughout an enterprise monitoring and controlling all resources used in the manufacturing process from cradle to grave and touching other enterprise systems like Enterprise Resource and Planning Systems (ERPs), Product Lifecycle Managment (PLMs), Supervisory, Control and Data Acquistion (SCADA)solutions, Scheduling and Planning Systems (Both long-term and short-term tactical).

our company is looking at introducing an MES system. Are there many suppleirs of this type of system in Ireand? I saw in a previous thread Camstar mentioned.
How do you best distinguish between them?
What type of validation is required and how compliant are they to CFR?

Hi Madmick,

What type of MES system are you looking for Medical Device or Pharma.

Depending on the industry there are different MES solutions.


We are a packaging company that supply alot of the major medical device and pharmaceutical companies across Europe.

I’m a little confused if you are a packaging company, why do you need a MES solution?

I’m a little confused if you are a packaging company, why do you need a MES solution?

We produce various types of packaging in batches. We have alot of paperwork that accompanies each batch which we need to reduce.
Maybe I have the wrong description of what we’re looking for. We’re looking to go to a paperless production system

Ok I see now what you are trying to do, yes id imagine that an MES solution would serve this purpose, perhaps it might be a little overkill and an alternative solution might be more cost effective.

It sounds like a med device solution would be the best fir for you. I would look into the Camstar solution Insite as a best fit for you.

do you know of any others that would be worth looking in to? It’s always useful to compare various systems especially since they are so expensive.

also have a look at:


If I was in your position I would first all develop a detailed URS with the specifications that ylou require then approach at least 3 or 4 MES solution providers and see how their product handles your requirements.

Ask for demonstrations and actually see how the software works, dont be fooled into sales talk from the sales guys, make sure the solution does what you want it to do before commiting.

Sounds like a plan. Thanks.

Hi in my Opinion MES:
Computerized system used in real time documenting, controlling, and management of an entire manufacturing process that includes machines, personnel, and support services. MES applications track activities and resources, link administration to the shop-floor activities, and are often integrated with other applications (such as MRP II) used in purchasing, shipping-receiving, inventory control, and maintenance and scheduling.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are information technology systems that manage production in factories. The scope of such systems is somewhat imprecise, but typically includes:

* Presentation of schedules (often derived from ERP or Advanced Planning & Scheduling systems) to workcentres
* Collection of production information (time, quantity, quality,...)
* Analysis of production information (e.g. "How many units of this product did this workcentre produce last month?")
* Control of planned and unplanned maintenance (although the planning of this is often relegated to other, special-purpose, systems)
* Quality control
* Shipping / dispatch
* Product labelling
* Product traceability (particularly important in safety-critical applications, e.g. pharmaceuticals)

A manufacturing execution system (MES) is a control system for managing and monitoring work-in-process on a factory floor. An MES keeps track of all manufacturing information in real time, receiving up-to-the-minute data from robots, machine monitors and employees. Although manufacturing execution systems used to operate as self-contained systems, they are increasingly being integrated with enterprise resource planning (ERP) software suites. The goal of a manufacturing execution system is to improve productivity and reduce cycle-time, the total time to produce an order. By integrating an MES with ERP software, factory managers can be proactive about ensuring the delivery of quality products in a timely, cost-effective manner.


A manufacturing execution system (MES) is an online integrated computerized system that is the accumulation of the methods and tools used to accomplish production. MES was first used in 1990.

MES performs four primary functions:

  • Collects data (e.g. bar-code scanning) in real time.
  • Organizes and stores data in a centralized database.
  • Makes data accessible throughout the network, and integrates critical data from other information systems such as planning and accounting.
  • Delivers and manages orders from ERP to production, with detailed scheduling reacting to real-time events, increasing productivity and quality

Benefits of using computerised MES

  • Reduces manufacturing cycle time
  • Reduces or eliminates data entry time
  • Reduces work-in-process
  • Reduces or eliminates paperwork between shifts
  • Reduces lead times
  • Improves product quality
  • Eliminates lost paperwork
  • Empowers plant operations people
  • Improves the planning process
  • Improves customer service

Full Functions of MES – by MESA*

  • Resource Allocation and Status
  • Operation/Detail Scheduling
  • Dispatching production Unit
  • Document control
  • Data Collection
  • Labour Management
  • Quality Management
  • Process Management
  • Maintenance Management
  • Product Tracking and Genealogy
  • Performance Analysis

Core Functions of MES

  • Planning System Interface
  • Work Order Management
  • Workstation Management
  • Inventory Tracking and Management
  • Material Movement Management
  • Data Collection
  • Exception Management
  • Manufacturing Intelligence

Support Functions of MES

  • Maintenance Management
  • Time and Attendance
  • Statistical Process Control
  • Quality Assurance
  • Process Data / Performance Analysis
  • Document / Product Data Management
  • Genealogy / Product Traceability
  • Supplier Management

MES is not MIS
The MES must not be confused with the management information system (MIS). An execution system does the following, using knowledge captured in the system to create “artificial intelligence”, which an information system cannot:

  • Making products.
  • Making and measuring parts.
  • Changing order priorities.
  • Assigning and reassigning personnel.
  • Assigning and reassigning inventory.
  • Turning machines on and off.
  • Moving inventory to and from workstation.
  • Scheduling and rescheduling equipment.
  • Supplier management.
  • Embedding best practices, lean and six sigma thinking into the process.
  • Directly improves reaction time into the supply chain management process.

Want to learn more?
Read ATS Delivery Strategy for Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)

  • A modular working program designed from experience and best practices.

*) Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA) is an association of manufacturers/producers, solution providers and industry professionals, promoting innovation and best practices sharing, with a goal of delivering valuable knowledge around operations-centric enterprise solutions.

About ATS
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