Integration to Manufacturing Execution Systems

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Among the most highly sought-after benefits of implementing a new ERP system is to gather critical data needed for making business decisions while minimizing the burden of inputting that data. To that end, we are all used to seeing integrations between different software systems that reduce duplication of data entry. Very common examples include uploading payroll entries to ERP from payroll systems, importing sales orders to ERP from e-commerce sites, and sharing sales data from ERP to CRM or industry standard sales analytics applications. In manufacturing environments, another key opportunity for feeding the ERP system is via integration to a manufacturing integration system (MES).


More and more ERP solution providers are talking about the Internet of Things (IoT), and the ability to build connections between different devices and systems. As we move in that direction, it seems that a logical starting point is to think about opportunities for increasing communication between decision makers and the machines and equipment that are often performing the bulk of the work in production facilities.


Some types of data that MES systems can pull directly from production equipment and share with ERP systems with no need for human intervention are listed below, along with some examples from the brewing industry.

  • Quantities of materials consumed in the production process
    • Example: as grains flow from a silo into a brew system, the weight of the grain is electronically measured and passed to the MES system, which can then pass it to the ERP system to record the materials consumed in a production order.
  • Quantities of items produced in the production process
    • Example: Beer flows through the eye of a filter outlet from a fermentation tank to a bright tank, where it is stored until bottling. The MES system can capture the volume of beer and pass it to the ERP to record the production quantity.
    • Example: As a robotic arm shrink wraps a pallet of packaged beer, it can send a signal to the MES system, which will then transmit to the ERP system the completion of the packaging of a new quantity of finished, packaged beer.
  • Qualitative data about items produced (batch attributes); quantities that pass / fail quality tests; yield losses.
    • Example: Alcohol % of the beer produced.
    • Example: yield loss from fermentation through filtration.


Each of these integration points not only reduces the time spent recording production data into ERP, but ensures the accuracy of the data entered, and  also allows the information to reach managers working in the ERP system in a much more timely manner. These initial benefits may ultimately even end up leading managers working in the ERP system to find ways to interact with the production operators and production equipment in a bi-directional manner based on the feedback that they get from the MES system.


This article was written by Matt Boese, a consultant at Tridea Partners. Tridea Partners is a leading Microsoft Dynamics partner.

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