Advantages of Connecting ERP and MES Solutions for Supply Chain Visibility

by Dan McKiernan, on May 6, 2024 1:05:14 PM

Typical tech layers for manufacturing

Integrating Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) on the plant floor can bring about significant benefits for an organization. These systems serve different but complementary functions, and their integration enhances overall efficiency, visibility, and decision-making.

That visibility extends not just across the plant floor, but throughout the enterprise, providing valuable insight into the supply chain. At a time when years of supply chain disruptions, delays, and inconsistencies have created significant logistics challenges for many manufacturers, that visibility has the potential to be a true game-changer.

Sophisticated ERP solutions are like the nervous system of an organization: the organizing program that manages and integrates all essential business processes under a single umbrella. And if ERP software is the nervous system, Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) with connected process control functionality are the five senses: a connected network of tools, software, and systems that manages and measures production processes.

The magic happens when you can connect your ERP and MES solutions. Once that integration takes place, the essential data gathered by the MES can be processed and coordinated within the ERP framework. As valuable as your MES solution might be for optimizing parts, processes, personnel, and performance, the ability to contextualize that information with ERP integration takes things to a whole new level—and with a previously unthinkable degree of supply chain visibility.

To understand why MES capabilities are important, consider the flow of information that begins with detailed real-time data gathered on the plant floor. Thanks to next-generation MES solutions with connected process control functionality, the quality and production data gathered from the plant floor is delivered to the ERP. This unified system allows for seamless coordination of procurement, production, and distribution activities, offering a real-time, end-to-end view of the entire supply chain. With ERP managing the business processes and MES providing real-time data on the manufacturing operations, organizations can extend their visibility beyond internal operations to include external suppliers and partners.

The resulting insights can not only provide critical information on production data and detailed delivery timing, but also allow manufacturers to plan ahead for bottlenecks. That heightened level of proactivity means you can quickly address any unexpected shortages, quality concerns, or production issues. The ability to accurately trace potential issues directly to the exact source not only saves you time, it also helps prevent potentially costly or even catastrophic liability issues.

This enhanced transparency enables more effective collaboration, inventory optimization, and timely response to changes in vendor performance or market demands. The integrated approach of ERP and MES streamlines internal processes while fostering a more agile, resilient, future-ready supply chain.

Learn how Epicor solutions can help simplify your supply chain.

Topics:OpinionLean ManufacturingConnected Process ControlManufacturing Execution System

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