Monday, March 14, 2011

The Difference Between Accountants and Production Managers

This is an excerpt from a white paper that I authored a while back. I was helping a company with selecting an MES where ERP (SAP in this case, before SAP ME) was included in the mix as if it would be able to provide MES functionality with no constraints. It prompted me to write about the differences between MES and ERP.

ERP systems are designed to be very effective accounting systems. MES systems are designed to aid in shop floor management. It is naive and risky to assume that one of these systems can be extended to effectively do the other’s job. Similarly, one would not assign an accountant to be a production manager, or vice versa. Each might be an expert in his own field, yet it takes a completely different set of skills, expertise and knowledge to effectively tackle each task.  
Industry experience and best practices, as well as academic literature, strongly suggest integration of ERP and MES rather than the extension of either. The best approach is to implement a best-of-breed MES that is easily integrated into ERP. The benefits that can be gained are immense. They are in fact what will truly and finally allow organizations to realize some return on the large ERP investment.
I wrote this back in 2004 and the reason I came back to it now, since a customer that I am currently helping is doing it again. Well it seem that history repeats itself, and I can only say here we go again....

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