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60 Seconds With... Charles Horth, STICorp.


Modern : Companies like RedPrairie, Manhattan Associates and HighJump are household names in the warehouse management system space. Who are the big players in the MES space?

Horth: It's a different market that flies under the radar. SAP and Oracle are looking at the space between automation controls and an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. But right now, the key players are the big automation providers like Rockwell Automation, Siemens and GE through GE Intelligent Platforms.

Modern : When you think of GE, you don't think of MES.

Horth: Yes, but as a GE partner, our MES is running in more than 900 plants around the world.

Modern : How do you define an MES today?

Horth: We're connected to all of the shop floor controls and to the ERP. In that context, we are primarily focused on efficiency. We take a production schedule from the ERP and then do machinery tracking, production tracking, raw materials and parts tracking and quality control. We can direct the shop floor and then report back what happened and what raw materials you consumed to produce your finished goods. We also monitor machinery for preventative maintenance.

Modern : How is MES changing?

Horth: The big change is that we're moving away from custom projects. The ability to configure an MES has really improved. Now, we can create templates that allow us to capture the workflow for a piece of equipment or a product. Once you've modeled and captured the workflow--the best practices that your people want to do with the equipment--you then deploy that in a repeatable way. You don't have to reprogram that process every time. That was the breakthrough, and that's very exciting.

TITLE : Founder and CEO

LOCATION : Toronto, Ontario, Canada

EXPERIENCE : Nearly 15 years in the manufacturing execution system (MES) business

PRIMARY FOCUS : Software solutions for production management as a GE Software partner

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Publication:Modern Materials Handling
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Jan 1, 2010
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