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Last month, I attended Epicor’s Insights user conference. By my count, this was the 4th time I’ve attended Epicor’s user conference (previous blogs can be found here, here, and here). After past conferences I highlighted Epicor University, Epicor Social Enterprise, and Epicor’s cloud ERP strategy. This year, I’d like to focus on a conversation I had with the Mattec Manufacturing Execution System (MES) product marketing / management team. This was the first time I have interacted with them and at this year’s Insights I noticed a much increased emphasis on the importance of this solution in Epicor’s portfolio.

MES enables manufacturers to monitor machines and production data as well as help to manage production scheduling. In my conversation with the Mattec team, we discussed the advances that have been made with the solution in look and feel, usability, and mobile capabilities. Basically, the solution has been upgraded to enable much more data-driven, predictive, analytical decisions on the shop floor. A major part of our conversation focused on how to get manufacturers to actually use these capabilities. My feeling is that there are significant benefits to be had from pairing these solutions with ERP. The key to achieving these benefits is for those on the line of business to embrace technology on the shop floor rather than simply doing things as they always have.

If you’re a manufacturer that has yet to embrace the connection between ERP and MES, here is some data that should convince you. In data collected for “Creating a Modern, Effective Manufacturing Environment with ERP”, I was able to isolate manufacturers that have implemented ERP and MES and compare them to organizations that have not. Those that have combined these technologies are more likely to have a variety of capabilities, chief among them: capabilities that are related to process standardization, collaboration, and decision-making (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Standardization, Collaboration, and Decision-Making

MES

When it comes to enforcing best practices, 69% of manufacturers with ERP and MES have standardized procedures for production planning and execution. Additionally, connecting ERP and MES connects the shop floor with the rest of the organization, including product design, supply chain, and customer service. This is because of the enhanced insight that having these solutions connected provides. Users can have real-time visibility into processes, understand variances in inventory and forecasts, and adjust operations to react accordingly due to automated updates. Ultimately, the organization can do a better job of understanding what they need to produce, when they need to produce it, and how to get it in the hands of customers when they need it.

Combining ERP and MES leads to improvements in a variety of metrics. In fact, manufacturers with ERP and MES perform better in internal schedule compliance, inventory accuracy, complete and on-time delivery, and margins (Table 1). This data provides a compelling case for integrating these technologies.

Table 1: The Results

Average Performance ERP and MES No ERP and MES
Complete and on-time delivery 89% 88%
Improvement in profitability over the past 2 years 12% 7%
Internal schedule compliance 91% 86%
Inventory accuracy 96% 90%

As a provider of both MES and ERP, Epicor is in a unique position to provide manufacturing organizations with a complete solution for providing the shop floor with an improved ability to make intelligent decisions along with connect manufacturing with the rest of the organization. If your organization can commit to making the most out of integrated ERP and MES, it can significantly improve efficiency and impact margins.

 

Nick Castellina
Research Director
Business Planning and Execution

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