The application, which integrates Oracle's process manufacturing suite with standard operating procedures and shop floor execution, extends Oracle's reach into enterprise systems, and positions it to compete with IBM (Quote), HP (Quote), BMC (Quote) and CA (Quote) in the configuration management database market.
Oracle had discussed its intention to enter this lucrative but highly competitive field earlier this month.
The advantage of an integrated management database from a manufacturer's perspective is that it ties together data from disparate accounting, inventory, manufacturing and design data repositories to give customers an better view of their manufacturing process.
This kind of control is key to helping manufacturers compete more effectively in an increasingly globalized economy by helping them reduce costs and react more quickly to requests by their customers.
Manish Modi, vice president of manufacturing and PLM development at Oracle, said that the focus of this new application is to provide customers with complete visibility of the shop floor, help them automate processes and reduce their total cost of ownership.
Product lifecycle management applications help manufacturers align design, production and marketing teams and also create a feedback loop with customers so that improvements to existing products can be made on the fly.
These applications "convert engineering information into relevant sales, manufacturing and marketing information," said Modi.
The MES software also provides shop-floor operators with a touch-screen user interface that guides them through the process and allows them to indicate what parts of the process have been accomplished. This improves workflows and also enables "uptake of data from the shop floor to reporting systems," Modi noted.
Accurate reporting is not only critical to operational efficiency, but is an important aspect of complying with various regulatory requirements.
The MES application is part of release 12 of the Oracle E-Business Suite, which also includes new enhancements to Oracle warehouse management, allowing manufacturers more easily match customer requirements to inventory, and track, pick and ship lots using this software.
Richard Ptak, principal analyst with Ptak, Noel & Associates, noted that change management databases provide customers with a single source of enterprise data and are "a critical enabling technology... People are getting a real benefit from it," he told internetnews.com.