Two prospective customers reached out to Brock Solutions recently to ask our opinion on whether they should build their own custom Manufacturing Operations Management/Manufacturing Execution Systems (MOM/MES) system or consider going with a commercially available solution. Six years ago we published a white paper that focused on the question of build versus buy in the MOM/MES space – we looked to see if the perspectives we had then still applied today… and they do! 

The expression “the more things change the more they stay the same” seems to apply. So what is different: 

  • There has been a lot of consolidation in the industry. Several companies, particularly those who offered point solutions such as scheduling or OEE have been absorbed into larger organizations. It’s challenging being a niche player and having the investment $$ needed to stay current. 
  • In our view the quality of the solutions from all serious players in this space has improved. That said, the focus has been on rounding out their portfolio of offerings rather than building a better mouse trap.  
  • Players in the space are focusing on integration of advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Industrial Internet of Things, Machine Learning and Analytics.  There’s been a natural evolution from rounding out their solutions’ S95 functionality, to adding these new, digital pieces.  

And what is the same: 

  • Many companies still rely on excel, paper, legacy systems and tribal knowledge to run their operations. The clock was ticking then, and it certainly is now. How to get started on the journey to go digital and make it so is as critical as ever.
  • Quote from the 2012 white paper – “Influencing outcome is key”. This is as true today as it was then. Transforming legacy operations is a journey not a destination and few can go it alone – establishing a productive partnership with your integrator and solution provider is key. 
  • A lot of organizations talk about standardizing their process across the enterprise rather than having different solutions in different facilities doing essentially the same thing, but for many the goal still remains elusive. 

We trust that you will find this white paper, at least for now, has survived the test of time.