OK, the title of this post is also the title of Schneider Electric Software Vice President Tim Sowell’s blog. I follow his blog closely. He offers deep thinking about operations management applications and the drivers, requirements and needs that affect their development.
In his latest post, he’s reflecting on both year-end planning and the evolution of what we have been calling MES.
He begins by noticing, “The labels we have used for years for products, spaces, and roles no longer mean the same thing. We rapidly find ourselves setting up a glossary of labels and what they will mean in 2020-25 in order to gain alignment.”
He starts with the label “MES”, but my involvement with the space goes back to 1977 and something called MRP II. So the evolution began before that, but it started to come together in 1990. “The label ‘MES’ was first introduced in 1990 to refer to a point application at a single site (typically Quality Management). Over the next 20 years, more functionality was added to MES to keep pace with Automation trends.”
The next evolution Sowell dates from 2010-2015. There is the introduction of the term MOM which came from the work of ISA 95. Sowell also quotes the definition from Gartner Group in 2012, “For many, MES is no longer a point application, but a platform that serves a dual purpose: integrating multiple business processes within a site and across the manufacturing network, and creating an enterprise manufacturing execution capability.”
Looking at today and tomorrow, “As the industrial computing paradigm shifts to the Internet, the platform is now being leveraged for other assets distributed across the interconnected value chain while extending the rich optimization functionality via new applications to get more productivity in areas outside of manufacturing.”
The problems increasing gained complexity as the requirements moved from a single machine or line went to many lines in one plant to standards to compare across the lines of many plants. “It was then that I realized in the meetings internally I could not use the word MES generically and needed to become specific.”
Sowell rightly concludes, “It is much easier to avoid labels and define the situation scenario / role, and start the meeting or strategy session laying out the landscape for discussion, gain alignment on the ‘desired outcome’ and destination first, it makes it easier!!!!”