What Is MES (Manufacturing Execution System)?

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) link business systems such as ERP with real-time operational plant-control systems such as PLCs. With MES, the manufacturing process becomes information driven (and therefore more controllable) – this info can be used to trigger actions or execute operations, activities, rules, enforce quality rules and checks, etc.

Typically, our customers have a number of stand-alone databases, legacy MES systems, Excel and Access databases, or all of the above, and want to move to a more integrated, holistic solution that drives business value across their enterprise.

MES Enterprise Icons

We Can Help Your Business

Successfully designing and deploying sustainable MES solutions is not easy: there are many different moving pieces, technology touchpoints, 3rd party tie-ins, and people and processes considerations. Managing these challenges is what we at Brock Solutions have been doing every day for over 30 years, and that valuable experience allows us to understand how to implement and integrate in these complex environments against our proven methodology. We understand where businesses can obtain operational value from implementing an MES solution and work to ensure the system drives business value and is not just an IT technology project. Put simply, we are not a controls company trying to move up into the MES world, or an ERP consultant trying to move down. This is our business, and our singular focus on the real-time operations space makes us very unique in the integrator world.

Demystifying The Space

To help manufacturers understand the specifics of the MES space, Brock Solutions launched a series of interactive webinars focus on the lifecycle of Manufacturing IT (MES, MOM, MI, etc.) transformations starting with education, alignment, implementation and sustainment. We address common questions, such as:

How do we build a Business Case to help our leadership determine the value of real-time manufacturing IT implmentation?

How do we get our current systems into a single, integrated platform?

How do we get different functional groups aligned so we can move forward?

This webinar series is designed to broaden the discussion and share practical learnings around demystifying Manufacturing IT.

MES Journey Youtube Play Button
Implementation Youtube Play Button
Sustainment Youtube Play Button
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Common Confusion Around MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems)

Ask 10 people what MES (Manufacturing Execution System) means and you’re likely to get 10 different answers.

MES/MOM has always been difficult to define and pin down. Traditionally, MES/MOM functions resided in customized control and software systems or ‘fit-for-purpose’ ERP systems. There is also a grey area between how far to push ERP down and how far MES can be pushed up. Mismatched nomenclature such as “What is meant by Scheduling? Inventory Management? Receiving?” contributes to the confusion. Add to that the technology landscape itself; there are over 700 MES/MOM solutions in the market with no clear winner.

Over the last several years, Brock has been helping our customers demystify this space. Based on our experience and a proven mapping tool that we have built to define ‘What goes Where’, we are helping companies align their real-time operations architectures and strategies.

MES Framework Drawing

How To Get Started with MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems)

One of the most common questions we are asked by our customers is “How do I get started?”

MES Framework Study

Brock has helped several customers across a range of industries develop a framework for implementing MES in their businesses. Our Framework Study process includes identifying MES requirements, determining the business case and ROI (Return-on-Investment), and developing an implementation roadmap. Because we are vendor-neutral, we can help facilitate and direct an MES vendor-selection process. We also help challenge customers prioritize requirements to ensure focus on what their system must do to drive business value versus nice-to-haves or continue to do things the same way because that is always how it has been done.

A major part of this effort is to help customers determine ‘what goes where.’ Working closely with the customer, we map their requirements against a project-tested workflow tool to determine which functions should reside in the ERP layer, the MES layer, and the controls/plant-floor layer. These workflows form the basis for an overall MES design.

As a result, customers receive a comprehensive MES Framework Study deliverable outlining how to get started on their MES journey.

"We are facing many new challenges and opportunities. Some are internal to our business and operations while others are external forces that have the potential to significantly impact our customers and the industry. Manufacturing must continue its drive to deliver superior results in all aspects of our business."

rai logo

Tommy Hickman
Senior VP of Operations, RAI Manufacturing Strategy

The Benefits of MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems)

Many of our customers know instinctually that a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) will enable their business transformation. Just as important, however, is the need to build a solid business case with a tangible Return-on-Investment (ROI) to confirm the business value and secure the resources to move forward.

Brock is often engaged in helping develop MES business cases. We work collaboratively with our clients to estimate the expected operational benefits and understand the less tangible business benefits that come with the required MES solution. After implementing the solution, we validate where and how the anticipated benefits have been realized.

Typical MES benefits include:

  • Better visibility & decision making
  • 5 -10% percent improvement in quality/yield
  • 10 – 30% increase in throughput/uptime
  • Elimination of most (80 – 90%) Manual Data Collection & Analysis Activities
  • 10 – 20% improvement in Schedule Adherence
  • Better Inventory Management (including fewer stock outs, lower inventory levels and more accurate inventory)
  • Enhanced Regulatory Compliance with electronic Track and Trace


MES Business Case Funnel

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES): What Goes Where?

Many organizations are struggling internally with decisions around technology use in the realtime operations space for applications that impact manufacturing, operations, and the plant-floor environment. In trying to determine which technologies should be used to enable real-time operations, execution and reporting, there are an abundance of solutions to pick from, and often confusing terminology to decipher from solution providers and system integrators. Moreover, organizations are implementing or rolling out big Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations and want to leverage this significant investment as much as possible across their enterprise.

With the growing convergence of the Information Technology and Engineering functions and responsibilities within many companies, it is critical to have a consistent vision and strategy for technology deployment. That does not mean, however, that one size fits all. Organizations who use technology for applications that are not fit-for-purpose often find themselves starting, stopping, re-grouping, and re-starting projects. This is particularly true when it comes to implementing real-time applications like Manufacturing Operations Management/Manufacturing Execution Systems (MOM/MES).

If this is something your organization struggles with, we encourage you to check out our videos below, or download our “What Goes Where” white paper for more information.

Brock Solutions and MESA International

mesa logoBrock’s commitment to the MES space is further highlighted by our deep involvement with MESA (Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association), which is a global, not-for-profit association that focuses on improving operations management capabilities through the effective application of technology solutions and best practices. MESA has 1000s of members that are end-users and solution providers representing global-leading companies from a cross-sector of industries. MESA solution partners are dedicated to working together to deliver holistic automation technology solutions that provide significant return-on-investment while increasing overall manufacturing performance.

Brock has been a member of MESA since 2007. Brock’s co-CEO John Southcott served on the MESA Board of Directors from 2008 to 2010 and has served as Chairman of the International Board of Directors. Brock’s Manufacturing Operations Management Practice Leader – Stephanie Mikelbrencis – is the current Chair of the MESA Americas Board, having been elected for the term April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2017.

In 2016, Brock Solutions has reached the highest status within MESA’s certification process as a “MESA-Recognized Business”. To achieve this status, our MOM/MES professionals have completed MESA’s most in-depth training programs, as well as committed our time and effort to the MESA community in a variety of working groups and technical activities.We believe that the combination of this educational dimension with our 25 years of practical, hands-on design and delivery of MES/MOM solutions gives Brock Solutions a valuable advantage as a System Integrator in the field of the real-time operational space.

For more information, please visit www.mesa.org



RJR Profile

How to get started on the transformational journey was the fundamental challenge faced by RAI leadership. To address this challenge, RAI partnered with Brock Solutions to develop a Framework Study designed to answer a wide range of questions.


Brock Solutions & MESA

Industrial executives are focused on smart manufacturing and business intelligence. Manufacturing Execution Systems by Brock Solutions support this focus.


What Goes Where

Many organizations are struggling internally with decisions around technology use in the realtime operations space for applications that impact manufacturing, operations, and the plant-floor environment. In trying to determine which technologies should be used to enable real-time operations, execution and reporting, there are an abundance of solutions to pick from, and often confusing terminology to decipher from solution providers and system integrators.