I was introduced to the IT/software manufacturing control layer (level 3 of the Purdue model) in 1977. My boss was a VP and wanted to expand his power base. I was his candidate. It was a great early learning experience–in technology as well as corporate politics.

Back then the IT/manufacturing world was transitioning from Material Requirements Planning (MRP) to Manufacturing Resources Planning (MRP II). Then suppliers began referring to their vertical solutions (work routing, batch records, laboratory information, quality, and more) as Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) signifying that one or more of these software solutions would help managers better execute (in the sense of getting it done rather than in the sense of shooting it).

A committee sanctioned by the International Society of Automation (ISA) dubbed “S95” undertook the task of defining all the tasks and intersections and workflows of manufacturing, building a model, and agreeing on common language to describe the lot. The standard is ANSI/ISA95. This standard names the category Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM).

Oh, in the meantime the MES Association (MESA) thought the Execution in the name to limiting, so it has changed to words to Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions.

Back to MRP II. I went off to “IBM school.” Much of what I learned should still be drilled into people today. Such as get your system right before adding information technology. Too often over the past 20 years or so managers have bought a technology (ERP or MES) and then tried to change business processes to fit the “solution.”

Guess what–that didn’t work out all that well. Took years to implement some systems.

Recently on the MESA LinkedIn group (a closed group for MESA members) a discussion sprang up as to whether the industry should standardize on MOM rather than MES (and MESA becomes MOMA???).

Some people don’t see much difference in the terms. I see a lot. You can now join a Webcast next week and see me on a panel with other MESA Technical Committee members discuss the topic. You can register here. The Webcast is live on your streaming Internet connection on Thursday, January 30th at 11:00 AM EST.

My view

Like the automobile advertisement says, “And is better than Or.” MOM actually incorporates and extends MES, so it is the better term and refers to more advanced thinking. This layer 3 stuff is not just about a bunch of vertical solutions. It’s about rationalizing manufacturing business and operations processes and then applying solutions to solve problems.

Meet the Panel

From the MESA press release, “Khris Kammer, MESA’s Technical Committee Chair, will host a panel of four long-time MESA contributors consisting of Dennis Brandl, Gerhard Greeff, Conrad Leiva and Gary Mintchell. We’ll hear opinions from each of the panelists, after which we’ll hold a question and answer session.”

Khris Kammer, Information Partner and Competency Manager
Rockwell Automation.

Dennis Brandl, Chief Consultant, BR&L Consulting, Inc.

Gerhard Greeff, Divisional Manager-Process Management & Control, Bytes Systems Integration Limited.

Conrad Leiva, VP Product Marketing and Alliances, iBASEt.

Gary Mintchell, Founder/Editor, The Manufacturing Connection

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