From Shop Floor to Top Foor: A Brief History of Manufacturing Execution Systems

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) track and document the transformation of raw materials to finished products. An MES arms manufacturing decision makers with info to optimize operations and improve output.

Mainframe Computers

Computerized systems for production began with mainframe computers in the 1940s, mostly for finance and accounting applications before extending into production, cost, and inventory analysis.

MRP Systems

Material Requirements Planning (MRP) systems emerge in the 1960s. The technology converts production plans into lists of required materials for manufacturing.


Manufacturing Resources Planning (MRP II) emerges, expanding the scope of MRP to include HR, finance, equipment, and energy.

MES Named

The term MES is coined by ARM Research in 1990.


In 1992, the Manufacturing Execution Systems Association, now known as Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA), assembles to define a set of MES application functionalities.

MESA-11 Model

MESA issues the MESA-11 model in 1997, which outlines 11 core functions of MES, including operations, production unit dispatching, product tracking, and quality management.

ANSI-ISA-95 Standard

The International Society of Automation releases the ANSI-ISA-95 standard to establish a framework for MES platforms.

c-MES Model

MESA publishes the Collaborative MES (c-MES) model, which expands from MESA-11 to inlcude other business processes.

2008 Model

MESA issues 2008 MES model, which emphasizes the interconnection between production and strategy in manufacturing.

Smarter Manufacturing Model

MESA’s 2022 model, MESA Model: A Framework for Smarter Manufacturing, ties three main concepts together: lifecycles, cross-lifecycle threads, and enabling technologies.

Today and Beyond

Analysts estimate the MES market’s value at $12.5B-18.2B. Growth predictions range from to $20B by 2027 to $36.9B in coming years. Advancements in advanced tech like AI, machine learning, IoT and more continue to expand MES’s robustness.