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Benefits of Configurability in Modern MES Solutions


Traditional manufacturing execution systems (MES) are typically rigid systems because they were built for a specific set of requirements. Many legacy systems were originally designed for one-time configuration, so manufacturers struggle to adapt the system as operational requirements evolve. While an off-the-shelf MES can be customized, almost everything is hard-coded, and making changes is time-intensive and involves costly process re-engineering

Ultimately, these rigid, hard-coded process configurations can make legacy MES difficult to adapt and scale.

The no-code configuration provided by modern MES solutions such as MasterControl Manufacturing Excellence allows manufacturing organizations to configure quickly and allows for the flexibility to adjust processes, material, and equipment changes for varying products.

In a recent webinar, MasterControl Product Management Director Katie Farley discussed how configurable, purpose-built manufacturing execution solutions let manufacturers easily automate and adapt processes, provide flexibility in managing production records, and are simpler to scale.

Modern MES: Configurable and Flexible to Scale

The ability to implement a traditional MES across all of an organization’s products and production lines is often limited by project complexity and overall cost. A traditional manufacturing execution system is typically justified only on high-volume, low-variability lines, Farley explained. It doesn't meet the need of higher variability product lines and the need to adapt to changes quickly.

The configurability provided by a modern MES like MasterControl’s lets manufacturers quickly scale up to increase production capacity or scale down to produce smaller batches across multiple production lines and sites. The Manufacturing Excellence solution is ideal for high-mix, high-variability, low-volume, or batch-of-one lines – lines that a traditional manufacturing execution system has difficulty serving.

Flexibility and simplicity in building master templates and the ability to adjust for different product recipes or variations further makes the modern MES beneficial for contract manufacturers and manufacturers of highly customized products or personalized therapies or any other process that encounters variability.

The manufacturing software solution’s configurable no-code master template builder lets you:

  • Quickly create a batch record or device history record with minimal training.
  • Simplify building subsequent master templates.
  • Enforce limits, controls, and thresholds with data-driven prompts.
  • Leverage global elements, tables, repeatable operations, conditional paths, and more.

The solution’s integrated product family tool lets you:

  • Easily apply product variations after the creation of a single master template.
  • Simplify changes to related production records in a product family.
  • Access and manage product recipes and variations from a single interface.

Global elements let you quickly manage shared processes amongst different products and sites, ensure consistency, and streamline change control.

Rapid Adoption of a Configurable, Modern MES Solution

The factory floor should reflect a digitally connected workforce, with easy-to-use digital technology, mobile interfaces, and modern dashboards that allow for rapid adoption. Yet traditional manufacturing software solutions tend to have a machine-centric design that creates a poor user interface (UI)/user experience (UX). Often, manufacturing execution systems are difficult to use by the end user and even require highly educated and highly skilled employees.

However, the configurable Manufacturing Excellence is designed for any manufacturing environment and is easy to learn by employees, regardless of education or skillset. The modern MES solution’s pick-up-and-use simplicity is focused on the operator and their ability to adopt the software quickly. It is configured to resemble the manufacturer’s current paper production record, but with a UI and UX designed specifically for mobile technology like tablets on the shop floor, so it is familiar to the worker and easier to adopt.

According to Farley, a configurable MES solution like MasterControl’s can give end users greater job satisfaction and allow them to focus their attention on meaningful, value-added activities, such as analyzing data, streamlining processes, and reducing rework and waste.

Watch the Webinar on Configurability in Modern MES

To delve deeper into the advantages of a configurable MES solution over a traditional manufacturing execution system, you can watch a recording of the complete webinar “The Configurability Imperative: Untapped Potential in MES.”


David Butcher has covered business and technology trends in life sciences and industrial manufacturing for more than 15 years. Currently a content marketing specialist at MasterControl, he previously served as editor of Thomas Publishing’s Industry Market Trends and as assistant editor for Technology Marketing Corp.’s Customer Interaction Solutions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the State University of New York, Purchase.

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