Manufacturers will generally think laterally when it comes to their material planning - opting for the more traditional MRP. But, with the current wave of digitisation, they'll need new ways to optimise their plant-managing process. So, between MES and ERP, what does the ideal production manufacturing software look like?
What is MRP?
Historically, MRP (Material Requirements Planning) has been the software solution to aid manufacturers in making more precise calculations regarding the materials they need (and in what quantities) on the shop floor. Over time, MRP became MRP II and evolved to include detailed capacity planning, scheduling, shop floor control, and forecast comparison with real-time data that you can analyse to achieve greater operational efficiency. Since the advancement of ERP software in the 1990s and its greater increment in capabilities, MRP has slowly been taking a backseat.
What is ERP?
An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system for manufacturers centralises data and processes, making production and materials management accessible from one unified system. Manufacturing ERP systems automate order processing, scheduling, material handling, resource allocation, procurement, and inventory management. Traditionally, it is associated with top-floor management rather than on-the-ground commanding. But, modern manufacturing ERP solutions manage the whole organisation - top-floor and shop-floor.
What is MES?
In many ways, an MES (Manufacturing Execution System) is regarded with more reverence than ERP software, at least in the circles of less modernised manufacturing technicians. Like ERP software, an MES monitors, tracks, and manages various cogs of the manufacturing shop floor - acting as the overseer of raw materials and goods assembly.
What is the difference between MES and ERP systems?
Despite their differences, MES and ERP remain intertwined as distant cousins - and any high-quality manufacturing ERP solution, such as the robust precision of Dynamics 365 or Syscom’s very own ERP8, can act as a competent substitute and even advance its cousin in efficiency. Here are some of the biggest misconceptions about MES over manufacturing ERP solutions:
Data Delivery & Capture
MES systems are said to be able to deliver reports in real-time whereas ERP solutions for manufacturing are perceived to only give general reports over a period of time like days, months, or quarters. However, the best ERP for manufacturing such as Syscom's ERP8 is more than capable of real-time reporting, providing up-to-the-minute data in an easy-to-read format to help with decision making.
Manufacturing ERP has a more analytical brain with a robust scheduling system, while MES manages the shop-floor process as it is happening. MES is typically used for complex programming of the controls of the machines on your production line.
Unplanned downtime can be a huge problem for manufacturers. ERP for manufacturing is more than capable of monitoring machines, using connectivity with IoT sensors, giving you complete control of your processes. Not only that, but this technology allows the modern manufacturer to foresee maintenance issues and predict long-term maintenance schedules.
MES manufacturing software can be complex enough to demand massively flexible routing that adapts to the unforeseeable - perfect for small order quantities. Every aspect of the assembly line is mapped with discrete routing on a part-by-part basis. This fluid routing isn’t something that sounds like it can be easily replicated, but ERP for manufacturers can match it.
So, what can Manufacturing ERP Software Solutions bring to the table?
Once you’ve catalogued the pros and cons of the MES and ERP stratosphere, you may still want to know what ERP for manufacturers can do to tip the scales in their favour. As a manufacturer, you’ll soon be able to see that ERP software is ripe for flexible and tailored solutions that are just waiting for you to take advantage of.
With the ability to track materials across your shop floor and top floor with crystal clarity, ERP manufacturing software solutions have the dexterity for data collection needed to see the greatest ROI. Manufacturing ERP can bridge the gap between the business and manufacturing worlds, unifying all aspects of the brand by automating operations to reduce human error. ERP software monitors compliance regularly (and through a single system) to ensure the assembly line and offices are adhering to regulations, thereby counteracting risk potentials.
Command Your Inventory With Authority
With ERP software, the fundamental questions of equipment maintenance, next steps, production locations, and inventory will be answered. Plant workers and shipping can be scheduled and you can get insight into raw materials to allocate resources appropriately to cut down costs. ERP for manufacturing can be a very reliable workhouse to purchase, plan, monitor, and manage stocks within the assembly line that are in the highest demand.
Thanks to accurate forecasting, better production planning and control, consistent efficiency, and better decision making, the best ERP for manufacturers such as Syscom ERP8 lets manufacturers be punctual with their delivery dates, doubling down on customer satisfaction as a bonus.
By allowing your entire team, from the shop-floor to the top-floor, to work from one centralised database, everyone is on the same page and open collaboration is encouraged. Sharing information, transparency, and reporting on financial KPIs enables management to make better decisions. With the many add-on modules available, ERP solutions for manufacturing are capable of amazing things.
MES and ERP integration
Suppose you already have an MES system and are looking to reap the benefits of a manufacturing ERP. In that case, you’ll be happy to hear that there is a lot of crossover between these two manufacturing software systems that can be implemented and utilised in an effective way. Collaboration between MES and ERP - bouncing vital data between each other - is a gateway to success and a long lifespan for your brand.
MES and ERP systems both bring something unique to the assembly line. MES have a focus on shop-floor technicians, whereas ERP systems are better known for handling orders, inventory, and customer relationship management. However, ERP software solutions can pick up the slack in all areas - they have the functionality of MES included in them, meaning that manufacturing operations are connected with all other parts of the organisation, giving company-wide visibility from one platform.
MES are more than capable of standing on their own feet, but ERP systems allow you to master the manufacturing process, and use insights from software solutions to revolutionise your assembly line, increase company-wide efficiency and raise profit margins.
Syscom have over 40 years of experience working in the manufacturing industry, supplying software solutions for bespoke and complex manufacturers.
Syscom enables bespoke manufacturers to take control of their production process at every stage to ensure a cost-effective and optimised approach.
If it sounds like ERP software from Syscom could be suited to your bespoke manufacturing setup and you'd like to discuss it further, get in touch with us today on 01384 400 600, email firstname.lastname@example.org or submit a contact form below.