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Since their beginning in the mid-1990s, the M.E.S. have been significantly evolving. The M.E.S. were proposed for industrial need for optimizing the manufacturing process reactivity, the manufacturing quality, the standards respect, and mainly reducing cost and deadlines (Ugarte et al., 2009).

They were first intended for only storing and analyzing data for manufacturing and mainly in an offline mode. Then, they are actually operating in real time for storing and analyzing data. They evolved from simple supervision software to integrated software applications at the paste of computing technologies to supporting the manufacturing process from the production order to the delivery of finished products. However, the manufacturing actors are expecting more from M.E.S. to support in the future the planning of future process and to integration functionalities to anticipate in the future possible process deviation.

Note that in 1997, the MESA organization proposed the first step for the standardization of the M.E.S. The MESA defined clearly the expected functionalities from M.E.S. The M.E.S. functional areas are:

  • 1. Labor management: Provides the status of different human resources involved in the manufacturing process. It also provides statistics and reporting about the manufacturing staff activities (realized and scheduled). It enables labor tracking and scheduling. The M.E.S. might interact with resources allocation to optimize the manufacturing process.
  • 2. Resource allocation: Manages the different manufacturing physical resources: machines, devices, material, tools and other equipment. The M.E.S. can provide documents about the history of each resource. This functionality is important to enable dispatching the work orders on the different physical resources.
  • 3. Dispatching: Although dispatching and scheduling the Product Orders on the manufacturing machines is communicated from the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), the M.E.S. can dispatch the order differently since it has a better overview of the available machines. The M.E.S. support the manufacturing priorities, the BOM (the recipe for manufacturing), and the production characteristics. Then, the M.E.S. can provide manufacturing alternatives to ERP ones.
  • 4. Product tracking: The M.E.S. support the visibility of the production by the time and the physical resource axes. For a given product, the M.E.S. indicate about the material batches used for producing this product (serial number, quantity, etc.), the allocated physical resources for manufacturing this product and the human operators responsible of its manufacturing. These data are stored for a long time, especially for food and drug manufacturing.
  • 5. Quality management: This functionality consists of reporting in offline and online analysis of the product quality. This reporting is established via different measurements collected manually or automatically from manufacturing.
  • 6. Performance analysis: Provides a real-time overview of actual manufacturing operations’ results. This overview can be coupled with historical data in order to establish comparison and for benchmarking purposes. This overview is based on periodically or on demand measurements. The provided analysis can be: production rate, conformance to scheduled manufacturing, availability of raw products, resource status (temperature, pressure, etc.). The analysis can be as numerical data, personalized widgets, control charts, pdf report, web reports, etc.
  • 7. Process management: The M.E.S. monitor the manufacturing process to automatically correct or provide decision support to face the process derivation or to improve the manufacturing process.
  • 8. Scheduling: To schedule the manufacturing process: the product order, the batches, the scheduled tasks, etc. This functionality consists of dispatching the information received from ERP on the manufacturing resources. As the scheduled work can change at any time, the M.E.S. ensures rescheduling the manufacturing activities.
The M.E.S. functionalities

FIGURE 7.1 The M.E.S. functionalities.

  • 9. Document control: The M.E.S. support documentation about the manufacturing recipe, the manufacturing instructions, operation procedures, batch records, engendering notices, etc. It considers also factors related to environment, staff safety and health. There are many regulations and recommendations to be considered following the kind of manufacturing sector: The GAMP (2001), 21 CFR Part 11 (2003), etc.
  • 10. Maintenance management: In order to maintain a good manufacturing flow, the operator has to proceed frequently with maintenance operations in order to warranty the resource ability, availability and capability to ensure the scheduled tasks. The M.E.S. can manage the maintenance tasks’ or prevent the operator for the scheduled or required maintenance task.

Further works were proposed for better standardization, such is the ISA effort in order to formalize the exchange interface with ERP (B2 MML[1]).

Many references define the M.E.S. as an intermediate layer between the office planning systems (mainly the ERP) and the shop floor (Owen and Parker, 1999; Koch, 2001).

In other words, The M.E.S. aims to collect, organize, analyze, integrate, record, and present the data (mainly measurements) issued for the industrial production, so that employees have better insights into processes and can react quickly, leading to predictable manufacturing processes.


The term “Internet of Things” was used the first time by the end of the 1990 by Kevin Ashton. He used this term concerning the use of RFID tags in Supply chain. Nowadays, it is introduced as a promising field.

Although there is a universal definition about the IoT, the existing definitions define it as a network of physical objects, devices, building, and all things that can be embedded with software’s and sensors supporting network connectivity in order to interchange data collected by these objects without human intervention. The IoT concept is strongly related to the internet and its proliferation is related to the internet proliferation.

  • [1] Business to Manufacturing Markup Language: is an XML implementation of theANSI/ISA-95 standards (ISA-95). It consists on an XML schema (XSD) to define acommon data definition to formalize the exchanged data between ERP and manufacturing systems (MESA, 2016).
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