Automation Reliability Software

Enterprise MES Connects Your Plants

EP Editorial Staff | April 12, 2024

Enterprise MES technology can help break down siloes and provide seamless management of multiple plant sites.

Adopting digital technologies across distributed manufacturing systems drives powerful efficiency and flexibility gains.

By Keith Chambers, AVEVA

Global manufacturers are battling supply chain headwinds and rampant competition, all the while striving to slash expenses and adopt more sustainable operating practices. Amid this pressurized backdrop, organizations are addressing the challenge by running multiple plant facilities in various locations,  enabling them to respond to local demand and supply-chain fluctuations. This type of distributed manufacturing, or multi-site production, also promotes economies of scale and enables easier access to new markets.

Digital solutions, such as Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) have proven a powerful enabler for manufacturers. From raw materials to finished products, MES software can monitor the entire manufacturing process and oversee manual and automated workflows in real-time. By leveraging these value-chain insights, organizations are able to elevate plant efficiency, quality control, waste reduction, cost-efficiency, and sustainability.

Factories have long gleaned competitive gains from MES, such as automated production processes, paperless manufacturing, and data-driven continuous improvements. However, these benefits traditionally tended to be derived from individual, separately deployed MES systems that can be hindered by information silos.

The good news is technologies such as cloud and edge computing now make it possible to centrally host a single MES that serves multiple plants. Known as “enterprise MES,” this approach promotes consistent manufacturing practices by standardizing technologies and processes. Enterprise MES enables seamless production reporting, continuous improvement, efficiency measurement, and regulatory compliance enforcement across multiple locations.

The latest MES systems support running application services and data storage in the cloud, as well as remote connections for plant workers and automation systems, delivering powerful value, efficiency, and sustainability gains throughout the plant network.

The concept of Industrial Intelligence as a Service (IIaaS) leverages the cloud to eliminate data silos between information technology, operational technology, and engineering technology, fostering a powerful network effect. This interconnected approach forms the basis of a connected industrial economy, enabling enterprises to share data and analytics insights, internally and externally; collaborate on new opportunities; and address critical industry and environmental challenges.

In the post-pandemic era, a manufacturer’s success hinges on its agility and resilience in the face of change. In this context, having a global overview of manufacturing operations offers competitive advantages, unequivocally leading to improved profitability and sustainability outcomes. Multi-site MES systems provide the necessary standardization for consistent visibility and data-driven decision-making in distributed manufacturing operations.

Put simply, making rich and contextualized operational data available from edge to enterprise can critically enhance business agility and resilience.

In addition, operational best practices can be captured and scaled across all plants, optimizing operational efficiency and reducing waste, energy consumption, and carbon emissions, while mitigating quality and consumer safety compliance risks through consistent product genealogy record-keeping and end-to-end material traceability across the plant network.

Consumer goods company Henkel Corp., Culver City, CA ( realized just this sort of gain when it built a digital backbone for its laundry and home-care production business. The company deployed MES to meet its sustainability and efficiency goals. As a result, it was able to improve supply-chain resource efficiency on the production side by 5% to 6% annually.

With such a demonstrable impact on the manufacturing value chain at all levels, harmonizing operational technology and data across multi-site manufacturing businesses is essential for gaining competitive advantage and delivering on sustainability goals.

Keith Chambers is the Global Vice President and Business Unit Leader for Operations Management Software, part of AVEVA’s Operations Business Unit, Houston ( He is responsible for strategic direction, commercialization, offer development and services for AVEVA MES, Production Management and Work Tasks offerings, and is an industry subject matter expert and thought leader for the food, beverage, consumer products, and life sciences industries.


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