advanced software applications

Blog post written by Senior MES Engineer Mayuri Dahibhate 

Does your plant utilize a Manufacturing Execution System (MES)? Are you looking to implement a new system or upgrade your current MES? I’ve written this post for all of you.

As an MES engineer, I help clients with complex manufacturing operations utilize  automation and control solutions  to maximize plant performance and solve unique challenges. For over ten years, I’ve been using GE Proficy Plant Applications, a suite of MES products that encompasses all elements of MES within one powerful platform. As more clients are looking to upgrade their MES and ask about Proficy, I wanted to break down the key features of Proficy that make the products so appealing.

What is an MES?

Manufacturing execution systems (MES) are computerized systems used in manufacturing to track and document the transformation of raw materials to finished goods. MES is a middle connecting layer between the control system and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). MES provides information that helps manufacturing decision makers understand how current conditions on the plant floor can be optimized to improve production output. MES works in real time to enable the control of multiple elements of the production process (e.g. inputs, personnel, machines and support services).

Need help with choosing the right Manufacturing Execution System for your plant?

What is GE Proficy Plant Applications?

According to the GE website:

Proficy Plant Applications from GE Digital is a powerful operations management MES solution for process, discrete, and mixed manufacturers – spanning food and beverage and consumer packaged goods to aviation and electronics. This MES solution collects and analyzes data, and helps manage highly automated, fast-moving processes as well as slower moving, labor-intensive jobs.

Proven and developed for 25+ years with thousands of implementations around the world, Proficy Plant Applications automates and integrates information-related activities for managing production execution and performance optimization. It helps balance competing priorities of production operations for maximized operational effectiveness and profitability. As a single, seamless MES solution across manufacturing environments, Proficy Plant Applications reduces costs and saves time.

Proficy Plant Applications is a suite of products designed to deliver the entire MES foundation

  • Data Collection from the control system (via OPC i.e. Open Platform Communications and Proficy Historian)
  • Storage of the control system data (in the form of Proficy Historian tags)
  • Storage of operational events, manual data entered, User interface for data entry (in the Plant Applications SQL server database)
  • Reporting Interface (within Proficy Plant Applications)
  • Integration to SAP (with the help of Proficy Workflow which we will cover in detail in later posts)

Key Features of Proficy MES:

GE Proficy Features

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Efficiency Management

The Efficiency Management module tracks and monitors overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and other critical key performance indicators, downtime, waste, and production counts, MTBF, MTTR, and more.

Quality Management

Quality data entry and tracking is made possible by introducing user friendly displays. Quality limits can also be defined to make sure that the data entered is tracked based on each product’s specifications.

Production Management & Tracking

The entire data flow of Process Orders from ERP to Proficy is handled within Plant Applications and the tracking information is sent back to ERP for the purpose of further analysis. Process Orders can be activated and closed based on real time production. Real time production management and production count is also maintained within this module.

Batch Analysis

The Batch Analysis module has a unique layered applications approach and interfaces with standards-based commercially available batch execution systems. It supports ISA-88 recipe analysis for products as formulation (BOM), procedures, and equipment.

Batch Analysis also provides analysis of scheduled and completed recipes and generates electronic batch records (EBR) to help increase the overall quality and consistency of products.

Basic Data Flow Diagram between Control System, MES and ERP

Proficy Data Flow Diagram

Core Modules

Based on the key features mentioned above, following are the core modules defined for Proficy (especially within CPG area):

Production Execution

Right from forming a production schedule, making a process order available for the operators to giving them the capability of activating production on the line whenever the line is ready for execution, this module deals with real time transmission of information between the MES layer and control system layer. The production counting also happens in real time which gives the operators an idea of how much production has been completed and how much is still pending.


The most critical module of the MES layer is quality because this is where the operators enter quality analysis results in Proficy which further determines quality factors like yield, bad samples, good samples, overall quality of the product. This information is extremely crucial for the release of the product.


This module consists of analysis of the post-production data in terms of downtime, uptime, coding the downtime based on faults and reasons of the failures. Process Reliability and OEE (overall equipment efficiency) is also calculated based on reliability data and calculations.

Maintenance [RTT (Run to Target) and CIL (Cleaning Inspection Lubrication)]

This module consists of data recorded at the time of maintenance of the line machinery. This data is useful to schedule regular maintenance checks and to make sure they are performed at designated times and frequencies.

What Makes Proficy a Good Pick for Your MES?

All in all, Proficy MES is highly effective in improving the overall profitability and effectiveness of an organization. Proficy Plant Applications can help you focus on several critical, inter-related areas of your production, enabling you to:

  • Better utilize plant assets (such as people, equipment and materials) through a comprehensive view of overall equipment efficiency (OEE)
  • Increase product quality to lower waste, scrap and product recall costs
  • Improve production operations by gaining insight into how products actually flow through the plant
  • Fully comply with regulations such as the FDA’s 21 CFR Part 11 rule and other strict requirements.
  • Plant-wide Web Reporting allows you to make real-time decisions by providing an up-to-the-minute status on production operations and enables you to perform a root cause analysis on problem areas. And with the suite of pre-built and customizable report options, you can save time and resources by harnessing the power of each Proficy module.
  • Make real-time decisions with web-based reports
  • Generate and deliver reports to users where and when they need them
  • Combine text and charts to meet virtually any reporting requirement
  • Create access to user-developed, site specific reports
  • Get notified on any deviations from specified production events
  • Quickly perform root cause analyses on problem areas to maximize plant profitability and efficiency
  • Identify problem areas through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Drill down into production data to analyze performance and understand problem areas
  • Change operations and specifications to minimize future problems