Mark Davidson, Principal Analyst MOM, LNS Research

Mark Davidson, Principal Analyst, LNS Research

Who or what drives your operations management software implementations? Does everything come from or through your ERP system? Maybe the company implemented an MES (or MOM) system throughout the enterprise and depends upon connectors to ERP and the automation and manufacturing process systems. Or maybe your MES evolved on a plant-by-plant basis building up from the automation system?

In the first case, any new software or process must be able to integrate into the ERP system. This system is driven primarily by corporate IT. It is often rigid. It is hard to buy new software that keeps up with state-of-the-art computer science in this case. But everything integrates.

Perhaps division management was far-sighted and wanted a cohesive and comprehensive reporting system from all the plants within their scope of responsibility. They built up an MES and then connected up and down.

Maybe an individual plant manager was frustrated by lack of standardized workflows and inconsistent results reporting. Managing the plant based on real-time information was impossible. So an individual plant MES system grew–maybe from a number of isolated spreadsheets–that helped the one plant but left a headache for division managers trying to integrate a company.

LNS Research Analysis

Mark Davidson, writing on the LNS Research blog, analyzes the pros and cons of three different approaches which he labels:

  • Top-Down/ERP-Centric Manufacturing Strategy
  • Center-Out/MOM Software-Centric Manufacturing Strategy
  • Bottom-Up/Industrial Automation System-Centric Manufacturing Strategy

Based upon LNS “crowd-sourced” research, Davidson concludes, “These days, companies are mostly taking either the center-out or top-down approach, but different trends emerge based on company size and specific vertical industry needs, and for some organizations, bottom-up may make perfect sense.”

What is your experience? What would you prefer?

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