A manufacturing execution system (MES) is the basis for almost every smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0, and digital project in the 21st Century.

A manufacturing execution system (MES) is the basis for almost every smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0, and digital transformation project since it is a cornerstone of the fourth industrial revolution. And it offers enhanced cybersecurity.

The MES, like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), enables a diverse set of capabilities ranging from data gathering and analytics to ERP interfaces and production applications.

The system also includes — order management, production management, line scheduling, quality management, material management, recipe management, performance monitoring, corporate manufacturing intelligence, plus rich descriptive and diagnostic analytics are just a few of the manufacturing applications available.

How to Be Successful With MES

However, for an MES to be highly successful, it must possess several distinct qualities that give considerable capabilities and significant value. Inquire about these critical aspects while evaluating various MES alternatives to see whether the MES can offer the basis for intelligent manufacturing for you.

MES Database

To collect all necessary information from the shop floor, a highly efficient MES must start with a robust database.

Every piece of data connected to manufacturing processes inside the four walls of a plant, from the receiving dock to the shipping dock, requires a database entry.

Materials, suppliers, customers, procedures, equipment, labor, quality, maintenance, deviations, incidents, and everything else involved in the manufacturing process.

The database must also be structured so that it can accommodate a wide range of data. Some of the data will be time-series data gathered from industrial operations regularly.

Don’t forget the historical component

You must include a historical component for handling time series data in the MES database. Therefore, the MES database must have an object-based relational database for the event and transactional data to access shop floor data quickly.

Additionally, the MES database must have a data lake or warehouse component that enables historical data and a wide variety of analyses, employing a star schema. The whole MES system is a triumph of the IoT.

Properties of the MES Database Functionality

Orders, production, consumption, scheduling, quality, materials, and recipes must all be included in the execution section of an MES. However, it must have built-in ERP integration capabilities. You must have connectivity with other information systems, and the capacity to link automation and control systems through the IIoT.

Manufacturing and perfarmance monitoring

An MES should also provide enterprise manufacturing information and performance monitoring in the form of real-time dashboards and other displays. In the form of descriptive and diagnostic analytics, it must have real-time and historical analytics. It’s all part of the big metaverse picture.


For businesses with several locations, MES should scale up to sites with hundreds of employees or down to those with just a few. However, there should be no disparity in capabilities since even the most minor facilities need a complete solution.

A highly successful MES must operate in a wide range of physical architectures.

Consequently, the days of systems residing within the production plant are long gone. The IIoT may conduct its function on-site.

Meanwhile, the MES is in the cloud. In reality, distinct sections of the MES and separate parts of a database may live in different regions of the cloud. You might offer up transactions, dashboards, and analytics from MES applications to various employees throughout the global organization.


A bespoke MES solution isn’t possible, and neither is a toolkit. This system must be a customizable solution based on pre-built apps and application templates. It should be simple to customize.

Almost every feature of the MES system has to be customizable. Screens, apps, dashboards, reports, analytics, and more are all part of this. In an MES system, there should be no custom code, just customizable out-of-the-box apps and application templates.

MES Flexibility

Manufacturing facilities in intelligent manufacturing and Industry 4.0 environment change all the time.

Constant equipment relocation or adding. You can alter processes or introduce them, etc. The MES must readily handle these modifications. MES have flexibility enough to manage these sorts of changes regularly. That is to say, whether it’s modifications to the plant model, database model, individual apps, dashboards, or analytics.

Designers configure MES systems to work in certain ways and for specific industries in the past.

Although particular businesses (e.g., pharmaceutical industries) have special needs, a highly successful MES must go beyond this paradigm. Production businesses must adapt alternative manufacturing processes in Industry 4.0.

Blurring conventional barriers between process or batch manufacturing and discrete manufacturing — almost everything is heading toward hybrid production. Flexibility is with most businesses using various methodologies will be the most important moving forward.


Your MES must be comprehensive, delivering a complete set of tasks while being scalable down to the minor facility to be effective as an Industry 4.0 solution.

The system must be strong enough to handle all manufacturing tasks — meanwhile, also configuring across the board. It must provide considerable capabilities and advantages while also incredibly adaptable to the production environment’s continual change.

Finally, your MES must handle a variety of distributed architectures, all of which are cloud-based. As a result, the MES offers a solid basis for growth.

To determine whether a system is a highly effective MES, ask prospective vendors if it can deliver these characteristics for you.

The MES is the cornerstone of the fourth industrial revolution. Moreover it is the basis for just about every smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0, and digital transformation project.

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Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.