Glossary Definition: Manufacturing Execution System (MES)

What is a manufacturing execution system?

A manufacturing execution system (MES) digitally tracks and documents the manufacturing process from raw materials to finished products. Its primary functions include improving productivity, efficiency, reliability, and data visibility to reduce batch release times.

MES solutions enable users to: 

  • Manage resources such as equipment, labor, and inventory
  • Collect and maintain digital records
  • Manage exceptions/deviations in real time
  • Integrate with various systems 
  • Ensure compliance

With all the necessary data available in a single solution, MES systems enable companies to safely speed up manufacturing and bring products to market sooner.

What does MES stand for?

MES stands for Manufacturing Execution System — a solution used to improve manufacturing processes by digitizing the data and making it easier to track and document the production lifecycle.

What are other names for manufacturing execution system?

MES solutions are widely used in various industries such as pharma, medical devices, semiconductors, energy, food and beverage, automotive, components, and consumer goods. 

In some industries like pharma, the largest functional benefit area is Batch Records, so often the MES and EBR terms are used interchangeably. Therefore, manufacturing execution systems (MES) are also referred to by various other names. 

Other names for manufacturing execution systems include:

  • MES software
  • MES solutions
  • MES medical solutions
  • Shop floor execution systems 
  • Data Collection Solutions
  • Electronic batch record system (EBRS)
  • Device history record system (DHRS)
  • Device history record (DHR)
  • Manufacturing operations management (MOM)
  • Manufacturing execution system software
  • Manufacturing execution system solutions

Although all MES systems are designed to optimize manufacturing processes, some of the features may vary from industry to industry. For example, MES pharma solutions tend to be cloud-based as opposed to on-prem, to facilitate tandem collaboration and streamline workflows.

What are manufacturing execution systems for pharma?

For pharma, manufacturing execution systems (MES) enhance production performance throughout the entire drug development lifecycle. With automated workflows, seamless collaboration, quality management, and step-by-step data capture, pharma MES solutions enable pharma companies to scale batches and expedite the transition between stages. 

If you’re evaluating MES solutions for your pharma company, make sure you ask these 8 questions before making your selection.

Why are manufacturing execution systems important for pharma?

MES systems in pharma are important because they allow companies to accurately speed up production without sacrificing quality. This is crucial because pharma manufacturers are under increasing pressure to deliver necessary medications to people in a fraction of the time (think the COVID vaccine) while maintaining strict regulatory compliance. 

MES solutions provide pharma companies with:

  • Real-time data accessibility
  • Improved operating efficiency
  • Faster lead times for materials
  • Equipment and material suitability checks
  • Training verification
  • Improved compliance
  • Right first time (RFT) manufacturing

What’s more, MES systems act as a single source of truth for batch record keeping, processes, operations, equipment usage, inventory control, and regulatory compliance.

This allows pharma companies to monitor and drive the drug manufacturing lifecycle in real time, while identifying any deviations and addressing issues immediately. As a result, downtime is reduced (or avoided altogether), therapies are made accurately from the start, and time to market is reduced. 

MES systems are reshaping the manufacturing process from start to finish. By providing companies with accurate instructions and data collection every step of the way, manufacturing execution systems optimize production and allow for faster commercialization of products.

Equipped with the right MES solution, pharma companies can easily maintain auditable records and get medications to patients faster.