Most industrial companies with regional or global operations have worked hard to standardize their enterprise resource planning (ERP) landscapes. Standardization has helped them reduce information technology costs and enabled further improvement initiatives, such as the implementation of shared-services groups. A key to this standardization has been the use of shared, harmonized ERP templates in rolling systems out across different sites.
On the shop floor however, most companies still support their production operations with disparate solutions. In industries such as mining, chemicals and metals, this pattern is often repeated from one facility to the next. Thus, manufacturing IT landscapes can be quite complex, and have a wide variety of solutions supporting the same types of processes in different plants.
As a result, a number of multinational companies are working to bring greater standardization to the management of shop-floor systems across their networks of plants. Having seen the value of implementing standard, centralized ERP systems, they now see the potential of taking a similar approach to manufacturing execution systems (MES).
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