What is Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM)?

what is manufacturing operations management XDI

What is MOM – Manufacturing Operations Management?

Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) is the backbone of a highly efficient, agile, and competitive manufacturing environment. By integrating and optimizing all aspects of production, from the shop floor to the executive office, MOM systems provide a holistic view of manufacturing operations. This enables businesses to achieve unparalleled operational excellence, ensuring product quality, compliance, and speed to market.

With real-time data and analytics at its core, MOM empowers manufacturers to make informed decisions, adapt to changing market demands, and drive continuous improvement. Whether it’s managing resources, scheduling production, or analyzing performance metrics, Manufacturing Operations Management is the key to unlocking a world of efficiency, productivity, and innovation in the manufacturing sector.


ISA95 forms the basis of much of MES/MOM terminologies. It’s a standard from The International Society of Automation Standards that has put definitions related to Manufacturing Execution Systems and Manufacturing Operations Management.

This means most of our existing facilities contain machines that are part of these ISA95 Standards at what we describe as Level 0. The standards cover physical processes from simple assembly operations, machine CNC operations or bottling lines whether you’re a batch manufacturer or whether you’re a discrete manufacturer, a continuous processor or a mix of all.

Level 1

Level 1 is where we bring in your sensors/plc’s. It defines all the activities involved in sensing and manipulating the physical process of Level 0. Therefore, if I need to tell my machine stop or start, the sensors are what actually manipulate this information.

Level 2

Level 2 is defining the activities of monitoring and controlling the physical process which is more often known as SCADA and this is where you can visibly control, monitor and see what’s happening to your machines and systems. It’s a place where you can take action and initiate a shutdown, and recognize any alerts.

Level 3

Level 3 is where MES/MOM happens. It’s defined as the activities of workflow to produce the desired end products.

Manufacturing Operations Management is the layer that makes it happen, where the “rubber hits the road”. It’s where the business moves from the theory of design, engineering and virtual manufacturing (PLM) and long-term planning, managing the results and numbers (ERP)/ Level 4, to actually making something that your customer wants to buy or already has purchased.

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What is MES/MOM?

Manufacturing Execution System, also known as MES, is a word that has been around for more than 30-years and it’s been frequently used for any legacy systems that were built on top of these Level 0 through 2 automation systems to either undertake a form of production management, perhaps run some manufacturing intelligence, but mainly it was and still often is a “mish mash” of, and I use the word loosely, “systems”.

It was some 15+ yrs ago, when the ISA95 standards named Level 3 as Manufacturing Operations Management that we began merging the MES and MOM as one MES/MOM term.

However, let’s typically understand the components of MOM as it’s far more holistic where it is becoming responsible for the entire execution and intelligence of the manufacturing ecosystem, with a particular focus on the production floor.

Whether we talk about production quality and scheduling, or production management in terms of tracking, traceability or compliance or even just manufacturing intelligence such as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), which are areas in their own right, they are all holistically put together, defining MOM.

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The Digital Factory

Some of the terminologies, generally used that you may already be familiar with:


Most Manufacturers have some form of ERP, be that home grown or using some of the industry standard software. It’s where I came, many years ago – the ERP wave of the late 90s, scrambling to get ourselves over the expected global melt-down associated with the “Millennium Bug”… ah the good old days!

ERP was born in the finance world and all the other modules that were/are built around it are made to support the primary function that is accounting and finance.


This acronym is more orientated toward the system than the wholistic process of Product Lifecycle Management. The Product Lifecycle is clearly an all encompassing description of such, from ideation, through design/engineering, manufacturing, assembly, shipping, maintaining, disposing/recycling, versus PLM that is better used to describe the PLM Application that is generally more specific and defined typically to make our product design better, ensure that our engineering/manufacturing bill of materials/recipes etc are managed basically in one system.


This meanwhile has everything to do with production, quality, inventory, and the synchronization of all of these functions.

Shop Floor

This is where we’re producing and finishing the goods.


The advanced planning and scheduling which is also part of a good MOM system, is however often looked at differently, mainly because of the nature of production scheduling, integrated around the world, with different product lifecycle and ecosystem flows.

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The Flow

  1. Your customer gives their requirements – if it’s a standard product you don’t need to do any further design. However, it’s becoming more and more often today, if there are custom requirements in terms of make to order (MTO) or engineer to order (ETO) you may have to custom design and this is where you use your PLM Application that product lifecycle management system
  2. This produces your component list, which is your bill of materials (BOM) that then
  3. Goes into a buy cycle for all the components, maintained as a material master in the bi-directional PLM/ERP
  4. The bill of process (PBOM) that is the process definition – pack, paint, routings, sequencing etc The bill of processes are sent to a MES. Furthermore, and in parallel, ERP and procurement are taking care of all the purchases that need to be done from external vendors. This entire purchase and the production orders is a list that’s sent from your ERP to your MES
  5. Once your MES has the bill of process and the production order lists it maintains detailed activities of tasks or detailed recipes, along with detailed steps for a high level bill of process which is used for shop floor execution. Also, in parallel ERP is checking for component availability and ensuring when a production order list is given to the MES it’s also giving when the components are available for starting production
  6. As your MES gets this information a production snapshot is sent to a production scheduling system where you can consider factory constraints to then go ahead and make sure that you have the best sequence to run the factory floor or the plant. This is then efficiently allows for the scheduling of operations with a specific start date and end date.
  7. The MES in turn releases part programs and instructions the production orders that have to be executed on the shop floor.
  8. The shop floor in turn takes either data from sensors, or from manual entries or from barcodes and it gives the production feedback that then goes back into your MES. The MES then gives back production performance to understand and plan from the actuals
  9. Finally your ERP does its accounting and bookkeeping of inventory stocks, in order to do finance costing, pricing etc.

Lastly, MES/MOM is also giving engineering feedback to your PLM in terms of whether engineering drawings need to be improvised or whether we found anything in terms of quality that could be improved.

This is a flow that keeps repeating itself.

Simply, from a manufacturing operations management point of view, is a high level digital factory flow.

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Searching for your MES/MOM Solution

When you go to the market for your MES/MOM, you’ll encounter a number of initial options:

1. The SCADA layer

These have been readily available for many years and more recently come with something known as Open Platform Communication (OPC) that allows any machine following OPC protocols to connect to a modern day software system. The traditional SCADA software had limited capabilities in order to connect and you would typically have to go forward with the the systems that were given by the machine manufacturer in order to see what kind of data you could collect. As a result, when machine manufacturers provide limited measuring and monitoring it allows connection through OPC servers  to modern day software interfaces.

2. Manufacturing Intelligence solutions

IIOT (industrial internet of things) has been a very big buzzword in multiple industries. IIOT is capable of L1 & L2 duties together with the requirements of manufacturing intelligence. From a simple OEE report or it could just be to control and see what are the planned versus actuals on the shop floor. Occasionally, these include MES add-ons but, like the SCADA layer solutions above, they would be limited in terms of the L3 capabilities.

3. Enterprise grade MES/MOM

What is so different about these MES/MOM systems versus SCADA & the IIOT approaches?

These first two are coming from L1 & L2 levels and grew-up in the manufacturing plants, versus the MES/MOM that came from a more top-down, originating in ERP because ERP systems were meant to serve finance functions and limited manufacturing visibility.

Of course, an organization’s primary business model is to serve those core components of finance sales or the business functions. There’s always a debate among consultants among professionals among industry practitioners whether they would they do justice to manufacturing execution so what you see today in the market are independent software companies providing a suite of enterprise grade manufacturing execution systems that  have modules related to production, warehousing tracking, quality, scheduling, maintenance and intelligence and at the same time address  security.

Do You Need MES/MOM?

The specific answer really depends on a number of variable, from number of plants to whether you’re a batch/discrete manufacturer, whether you have a lot of manual operations, whether you are an engineer to order or a make to order, whether you’re just a make to stock company.

However, not matter which way you look at it, with the compelling business reasoning, it’s less a case of “do I need a MES/MOM, and more a case of “which one do I need?”

An MES system simply put increases visibility and transparency into every aspect of your production. The system is designed specifically to manage the shop floor and you’ll struggle today to find another type of system that’s ready to get as hands-on with these processes.

It helps you

  • Reduce production errors
  • Reduce material wastage
  • Decrease part lead time
  • Increase productivity
  • Improve quality compliance
  • Reduce quality losses
  • Increase production throughput

So you need to ask yourself, is there an alternative?

  1. ERP? No, it’s too removed from daily activities and far more long-term strategic resource planning orientated.
  2. An IIoT Platform? Now this is a big one and is best handled as an entirely separate blog, but here’s a brief answer; It is important to remember that Industry 4.0 Technologies are a bunch of technologies that demand cross-functional/departmental collaboration to reach their potential. MES and IIoT platforms provide the services needed to define the future of industrial automation and while MES does an excellent job today, IIoT platforms could be the true enablers for execution to deliver the smart factories of tomorrow.
  3. And lastly, SCADA: SCADA is best at realtime visualization of process and short term historical data. They are designed to work closely with PLCs.

The Future of MES/MOM

MES provides valuable services to the manufacturing industry by replacing legacy monitoring and management processes and introducing digitization to your shop floor.

The manufacturing industry is going to continue to get more complex and complicated. As you continue to need greater control, compliance, time-to-market, and visibility for managing product lifecycle execution with accurate instructions, real-time data, and manufacturing intelligence, you are most likely going to need and want an MES.

What MES/MOM Can Already Accomplish For You

The focus of an MES solution is the ability to follow the progress of production and related activities against a plan and to be able to modify that plan to reflect such things as changing customer orders and demand, material availability and process capability.

MES provides functionality to support:

  • Establishing a plan and staying on schedule. Input your production plan (shifts, times, goals); operators see real-time progress on dashboard graphics; it’s all fully accessible.
  • Enforcing a repeatable process. The key to long-term success is repeatability; assure your process (exactly as it’s defined) is followed time after time; that’s peace of mind.
  • Creating a rich data set for continuous improvement. Acting on captured data is vital to driving improvement; it’s easier to identify and solve hidden inefficiencies