Article | December 21, 2020

Key Considerations When Selecting A Manufacturing Execution System

Source: CAI
Drug Product Contract Manufacturing

For the last two decades, Manufacturing Execution System (MES) has been a hot topic at nearly every automation conference and for good reason. MES is a powerful tool that can deliver process efficiencies, yield improvements, cost avoidances, right first time, and much more. For a number of organizations, the process for choosing an MES begins with contacting their current automation supplier. Alternately, the process may begin with attendance at a trade show or conference that presents case studies promoting a particular product or solution. When supplier or product familiarity become the driving force behind product selection, very little analysis goes into the requirements or the business case prior to making the procurement decision. Generally speaking, the organization has “hot buttons” and makes these the focus of their search. Such an approach can be a costly mistake. The supplier vehemently asserts that their product directly addresses the client’s concerns. Let’s be honest, in most cases, the supplier doesn’t identify which features are fully supported, those which will require extensive configuration, or those that will require customization. And when customization is necessary, the supplier’s estimate is sure to be optimistic. Furthermore, if the system will be used in a regulated industry, the effort required to validate the customizations is sure to be underestimated as well. There is likely little discussion of how the customization may complicate lifecycle support and product upgrade. Above and beyond the failure to identify the system’s requirements prior to MES selection, a genuine cost/benefit analysis is rarely conducted.

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