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3 Key Differences Between ERP and MES Systems

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) share some common purposes in the manufacturing environment. The two systems are similar enough that their unique characteristics are easy to overlook. It is helpful, therefore, to examine some of the dissimilarities between the two. The following are three crucial differences between MES and ERP systems.

1. Specific focus of purpose

ERP functions as a means for sharing information within an organization. The system ties every part of the business together and allows information to flow freely. Acting as an overarching data pathway makes ERP a valuable tool for management since it gives decision makers the ability to dive deeply into each part of the business and tie previously far-flung data together in meaningful ways.

The reason for adding MES, on the other hand, is to provide a means for precise control of the manufacturing process. MES takes steps or generates reports based on what is taking place at the moment to monitor and correct variables affecting production efficiency. MES synchronizes the numerous facets of fabrication to orchestrate the best possible solution for obtaining a less wasteful and more profitable process.

You may also like our Guidebook: Getting to Market: The Unique Stations of ERP and MES

2. Means of data capture


Humans typically feed most information into ERP. This manual data gathering works well since the system is primarily concerned with collecting, organizing and sharing information across an organization for planning and guidance. Modern ERP systems have one database for the entire organization so redundant entries are reduced or eliminated. A single data store also makes fluid sharing of information across different functional areas a seamless process.

The immediacy of manufacturing drives the need for MES. Real-time production monitoring is achieved through barcode scanner events, IoT sensor signals, data feeds from product test stations, assembly machinery sensor systems feedback, and data entry from production floor personnel.  This information provides accurate and timely information to ERP, enabling the organization to react quickly enough to keep up with rapidly changing circumstances. Reducing latency in this manner increases the odds of realizing a higher monetary return on each job.

3. What triggers actions

ERP performs based on financial transactions. When customers place orders, suppliers send bills or payroll issues checks, the system responds with an action. ERP is multifunctional, but developers build it around a primarily economic substructure.

MES on the other hand is process event driven.  This system is designed to monitor for events specific to the manufacturing environment.  Real-time data monitoring enables MES to perform tasks such as ensuring conformance to production process, inventory consumption tracking, automatic holds on non-conforming material, scheduling machine maintenance based on performance, and to reorder procedures to utilize available resources more efficiently.

Comprehensive Guide

Understanding the differences between ERP and MES is critical to your company’s bottom line. Get Intraratio’s guide to the unique stations of ERP and MES for a full description of how these two systems work together to improve your efficiency and profitability.