What is MES?
In the early days of MES (manufacturing execution system(s)), its scope was not very clear. It was certainly a product of data collection systems of the early 1980’s, and using data for a dedicated purpose. Long before that, the 1960’s and 1970’s witnessed the early steps of automated manufacturing, and laid the groundwork for the use, growth and standardization of digital communications connectivity in manufacturing. As computers became more common in manufacturing, the distinction between the different ‘levels’ of manufacturing were needed to provide a framework for optimal design, operation, control, and reporting. Along the way, the boundaries between ERP and MES, and MES and SCADA (and process control systems) became blurred, because functionality often overlapped. Even as distinctions were being made, systems providers and integrators, along with their innovative solutions continued to contribute to the confusion around the scope of MES.