Manufacturing execution systems (MES) are software programs that are used to control and track production processes in manufacturing environments. The MES software sits above the SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), PLCs (programmable logic controller) and sensors on the production equipment, and is thus specifically designed to receive information from these machines. These systems often house data that is very valuable to pass on to an ERP system.
At Tridea, we have encountered numerous MES systems, including Inductive Automation’s Ignition, Wonderware, and Rockwell Automation. Our clients frequently capture in their MES systems such things as quality data related to production batches, quantities of raw materials issued to production orders, and quantities of finished product reported as finished on production orders. In many cases, this data flows electronically from the production equipment to the MES system, with no human intervention. An obvious next step is to pass that information on to Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Whereas with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 we typically used middleware such as SQL programs and tables to pass this information between the MES system and Dynamics AX, we are now using web services for the communication with D365. Some examples of integrations that we have built to MES systems include updates to production order statuses, recording consumption of raw materials (picklist journals) on production orders, recording report as finished journals on production orders, and updating of batch attributes. In addition to saving the time of having to manually record this data, there is a significant improvement in the accuracy of the data when it flows directly from the machinery that is performing the work or from sensors that read the data pertaining to quantity updates and / or batch attributes. One of the nice aspects of these types of integrations is that they are very repeatable, and thus become a very cost-effective solution for clients.