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BellHawk MES vs BellHawk MOM vs ERP Systems


One on the frequently asked questions is "What is the role of a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) versus the role of a Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) system versus that of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system?"

In order to answer this we first need to define what we mean by an ERP system, as the phrase has been used over time to mean many things. ERP systems started as accounting systems, to which were quickly added capabilities such as handling purchase orders and accounts payable as well as sales orders and accounts receivable functions.

These accounting systems became ERP systems with the addition of Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) capabilities in which a long range sales and operations (S&OP) forecast is used to predict what materials need to be made and purchased. These MRP systems work very well for planning long-run manufacturing spread over multiple plants as well as for planning long-range materials purchases. These MRP systems do not work very well in short-run, quick-turn, make-to-order and engineer-to-order situations where it is not possible to have an accurate S&OP forecast when a plant is making a wide-variety of semi-custom products with short delivery times.

As a result of the addition of their MRP capabilities, ERP systems can track quantities of inventory and can create work-orders for those situations where an S&OP plan is feasible. They can also act as historical repositories of job cost data. In addition, many ERP have come to integrate Human Resources functions such as labor hours tracking and payroll and some have tried to integrate CRM (customer relations management) capabilities.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), by contrast, are responsible for capturing and interpreting production and inventory data from the shop floor in real-time. Some, such as BellHawk have fully integrated Warehouse Management (WMS) capabilities. These MES systems typically capture data using barcode scanners and wireless mobile computers and are also responsible for activities such as barcode label generation as well as exchanging data with process control and test systems.

MES systems not only capture operational data in real-time but they also provide point-of-action warnings in real-time when users are about to make an operational mistake. They also capture materials traceability and operational cost data as well as historical performance data.

Many ERP systems claim to have integrated MES capabilities but these depend on using paper forms for capturing production and inventory tracking data and then someone in the office types this information into the ERP system, typically the next day. The reason for this use of paper forms is that the ERP systems are too complicated and too cumbersome for workers on the factory floor and material handlers to use directly. BellHawk, by contrast, uses embedded artificial intelligence to make data capture by production workers simple enough that this data capture can be performed in real-time with all the attendant benefits of real-time mistake prevention and labor savings.

Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) systems perform functions such as real-time scheduling and demand-driven materials planning. They also provide real-time alerts to managers, supervisors and customer support people whenever they need to take action. Real-time AI driven advisory MOM systems, such as BellHawk, are the counterpoint to the long-range planning done by MRP systems. They assist managers with handling all the production issues and problems that arise on a day to day basis in a manufacturing plant.

An integrated MES/MOM system, such as BellHawk, needs to exchange information with other systems so as to avoid "Cross-Silo Information Blindness" and avoid the need for duplicate data entry. A system such as Bell-Connector enables automated exchange of relevant information between the systems used by the production team and those used by sales, engineering, finance, human resources, and quality control.

Note that this model is in contrast with some ERP systems that claim to provide one integrated system that will meet the needs of all the departments within a manufacturing plant.  This approach has been largely discredited because it has failed to meet the specialized needs of the different departments within a manufacturing plant. Trying to develop and maintain one integrated system is an incredibly expensive endeavor that requires the developer to spread the cost over thousands of manufacturing plants.  As a result the end system becomes very expensive, very difficult to use, and even then is only able to provide "lowest common denominator" features.

BellHawk Systems, in contrast, uses an integrated open-architecture best-of-breed approach where BellHawk provides an integrated MES+MOM+WMS system plus a Bell-Connector to provide a means to rapidly implement automated data exchange interfaces between best of breed systems used by different departments.

Please click on the following links to learn more about:

BellHawk Manufacturing Execution (MES) Systems BellHawk Operations Management (MOM) Systems
BellHawk Warehouse Management (WMS) Systems Bell-Connector Intelligent Enterprise Integration


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