How to Integrate Enterprise Systems and an MES Using SAP MII

  • by Dipankar Saha, IT Architect, IBM India
  • April 29, 2015
Learn how to develop a composite application in SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP MII) by mashing up data from ERP and a manufacturing execution system (MES). See how to leverage message services and business logic services for ERP and MES integration.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article, you will learn how to:

  • Integrate SAP ERP to receive and update data through IDoc and Remote Function Call (RFC) interfaces
  • Integrate with the manufacturing execution system (MES) and other legacy systems to integrate ERP data and get order confirmations through a web service, HTTP, and other interfaces
  • Develop an end-to-end monitoring application on SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP MII) for tracking messages flowing between ERP and an MES
Key Concept
The information required for manufacturing execution may come from different systems such as ERP, a manufacturing execution system (MES), Plant Historian, and the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). For users in a manufacturing plant, it is difficult to use such different systems to view and record different information. SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP MII) is an integration platform for manufacturing execution scenarios. It provides features to integrate enterprise and plant systems to receive data by synchronous and asynchronous options, mashing them together to provide simplified dashboards. Plant users can view and record all information required during the manufacturing execution, which can again be updated in different systems.

Manufacturing execution processes require information from various sources. For example, the planning information and manufacturing orders are generated from the ERP system, whereas the actual order execution is controlled by the manufacturing execution system (MES) on the manufacturing shop floor. The actual process parameters and execution information are captured in various legacy real-time systems such as Plant Historian or legacy databases.

This end-to-end scenario shows how to receive production order data from SAP ERP, send it to a manufacturing execution system (MES), and update the actuals and confirmations in ERP upon receiving confirmations from the MES or through user interfaces. It includes the use of Message Services in SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP MII) with its Quality of Service (QoS) and processing rule features and Business Logic Services (BLS).

MES Background

One of the key requirements for manufacturing execution data management is transferring the manufacturing orders and other relevant data from ERP to the MES, as well as getting the confirmations and actual data from the MES and other legacy applications used in the manufacturing shop floor, to update in ERP. Most of the MES applications being delivered by different IT vendors are based on different data models and technology platforms. That means the information is not always seamlessly integrated out of the box with any ERP application.

A typical MES application may need information from the ERP system, such as material master data, material classification, bill of material (BOM), routings, resource and equipment master, as well as transactional data, such as production orders and inventory, to manage the production process at the shop floor. Each of these details may come from the ERP application via different interfaces and at different intervals.

For some of the interfaces, a strict sequence also may need to be maintained while sending the data to the MES. For example, before sending the production orders from ERP to the MES, you need to ensure that all the materials and work centers used in the production order are already sent to the MES application. Without the materials and work center information, the order may not be processed and the information is not displayed to the user for execution.

The interface format for ERP and the MES may often be different, which requires a transformation of the data fields while exchanging the information. To standardize the MES interfaces, often industry standards such as ISA95-B2MML-based interfaces are used so that the same interface format can be reused. Because an ERP application may not natively support B2MML interfaces or an MES-specific interface format, the mapping between the ERP interface formats to the MES interface format and vice versa should be done before transferring to the target system.


Dipankar Saha

Dipankar is an IT architect working in IBM India. He has more than 12 years of experience in the IT industry and experience in implementing several SAP MII-based solutions globally. Dipankar is the coauthor of a book on SAP MII published in 2009. He is also an IBM-accredited IT architect and an SAP-certified associate enterprise architect.



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