Is Digitalization Different From MES?

The idea that new digital technologies replace the manufacturing execution system is confusing and risky. A serious digitalization initiative should start with a good MES/MOM system.

In the past six months, we have been talking about digitalization almost every day. Going digital has become the main initiative of many manufacturing companies, and task forces and funds have been allocated to achieve the goal.

Digital transformation seems set to disrupt the way companies operate, creating totally different organizations. Frequently, the digitalization initiative is related to the adoption of some new and promising technologies like cloud computing, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or machine learning. All of them promise to solve in an easy and cheap way problems that have affected companies for years—creating new opportunities along the way. Smart sensors and improved data availability will enable new technical solutions and business models, and any company that does not leverage these new opportunities will have a difficult time competing with those that adopt them faster.

Implementing an MES is basically implementing an IT system for opeThis is why a serious digitalization initiative in manufacturing starts from considering the implementation of a good MES/MOM system. The technology to be used is just a collateral decision—important, but collateral.ations. It supports with a computerized approach the most important functions and processes that characterize the life of a specific plant. It essentially digitizes the production process, collecting, transferring and manipulating data in a digital way in order to provide information to the right people, at the right time in the right place. It is going digital! And you can do it using the best, most functional and cost-effective technology you have available: smart sensors to collect data from sources that would not be available otherwise, cloud to store data and make it easily available without self-growing a complex and risky IT infrastructure, machine learning or artificial intelligence to enhance data and understand its complex correlations to create usable information, and analytics and visualization to present the information in a format that is more intuitive and effective for humans to consume. In the end, you are creating an MES solution.

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