How the use of an SAP MES pays off Advantages from an operational and economic perspective

Have you also considered whether the use of an MES system in production is worthwhile for you? In fact, this question has been on the minds of many companies for years. And in the age of Industry 4.0, the questions have increased even more. We experience this not only in daily practice, but it was also shown by the great response to our new digital series format IGZ INSIGHTS, the first issue of which we dedicated to this topic in 2022.

In an entertaining manner, manufacturing experts from IGZ demonstrated why a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) based on SAP standard software is an often underestimated success factor and gave suggestions on how you can use SAP MES software to make your everyday production more effective and easier. Answers were also provided to the all-dominant question of the extent to which an MES pays off for you and when the ROI is reached. In case you missed this MES webinar or would like to deepen impressions again, you can read the essential insights, messages and calculations here.

The most important questions at a glance:

An MES is an executive, stand-alone system for effective and efficient control of the entire production. It provides complete online transparency of all inventories, increases product quality and reduces costs across the entire value stream.

Faster, better, cheaper and more sustainable - these are the demands that the market places on the modern industrial society and which can be solved by using an MES. In this way, companies can align themselves for the future - even and especially in a volatile environment.

Savings potential through the use of an MES can be tapped in particular through a reduction in the volume of paper, improved machine efficiency, and increased added value in production output. The higher the costs saved, the faster the investment pays for itself.

What is an MES system anyway?

A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is an executive, stand-alone system for production control. It enables end-to-end vertical integration between the ERP and the store floor and creates effective business processes. Production orders are transferred from the ERP to the MES. The detailed planning of the orders at the daily or shift level then takes place in the MES. Furthermore, all relevant and available resources are taken into account, such as personnel or machines. The MES seamlessly maps all relevant processes and continuously collects data. The result is online transparency across the entire operational manufacturing process, usually broken down to a time unit such as a work shift. Due to its scalability and customizability, the MES system can be optimally adapted to different production scenarios - costs are reduced and effectiveness is permanently increased.

Functional focal points of an MES are:

  • Production data acquisition
  • Machine integration
  • Resource control
  • Control station

  • Fine control
  • Process integration
  • Detection/evaluation of faults
  • Visualization

How can an MES help to meet market requirements?

The current market situation is characterized by ongoing price pressure and numerous uncertainties. This results in challenges that vary slightly from industry to industry, but are very similar. What can an MES system do in this context? From experience, we can provide you with the following benchmarks:



FASTER - Your customers demand maximum flexibility, reliability and short delivery times.

FASTER - By using an MES, you optimize throughput and setup times and generate the same production volume with up to 50% less time.

BETTER - Your customers demand quality at the highest level - and consistently.

BETTER - An MES replaces error-prone, paper-heavy processes, ensures process reliability thanks to process interlocking and worker guidance, and reduces scrap through online quality checks. The result is up to 20% better product quality.

LOWER COST - You need to face the global market and accordingly make the best use of your personnel and machinery to produce more effectively.

COST-EFFECTIVE - The increased degree of utilization of machines and resources enables you to produce up to 10% more cost-effectively. The MES supports this with online machine integration, evaluations and KIPs as well as worker assistance systems in assembly.

SUSTAINABLE - The careful use of resources such as electricity, water and raw materials is becoming increasingly important and is now a key asset for many companies.

SUSTAINABLE - With an MES, you can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30%. This is achieved, for example, by identifying and reducing energy peaks, analyzing water consumption, and conserving resources through predictive maintenance.

These figures are exemplary benchmarks and represent the demands in many manufacturing companies across all industries.

From the actual to the SAP MES-based target state

Just as the challenges are similar, it also looks the same when looking at the initial situation. The preparation of a project in the context of an IGZ strategy consulting often reveals an inhomogeneous IT landscape with numerous subsystems, which in turn are connected with a high number of interfaces. And there are still many "island solutions" such as Excel planning and evaluations. The amount of paper documents in circulation is also considerable. These can be confirmations, orders, accompanying documents and/or drawings. There is often no transparency about the order status or the state of production - and if there is, then only with a time lag or only in the heads of employees. The aforementioned challenges can often not be overcome in this way.

IGZ customers generally prefer a uniform SAP IT strategy. Replacing the aforementioned heterogeneous structures with a uniform SAP MES system(SAP ME or SAP DM) leads to a strong reduction in paper usage and interfaces. The gained online transparency on the entire production and process data allows our customers a high gain in flexibility. The result is a corresponding ability to react to the growing challenges and customer requirements. Issues such as traceability and clean inventory management are thus easily mastered. The decision of customers to continue the adopted SAP strategy in both production and logistics offers many advantages, as everything comes from a single source from the market leader SAP. Integration into the ERP is therefore simple and standardized. There are also many standardized integration scenarios for the integration of the store floor.