Lifetime of Achievement: Matt Barber, Infor

Matt Barber is the Vice President and General Manager Manufacturing Execution System (MES) at Infor, and He’s on a Mission to Educate the World on MES

Matt Barber is the Vice President and General Manager for MES (Manufacturing Execution System) at Infor. After studying computer science, he decided to do a year in industry to seek more practical experience. Barber interned for a year at Lighthouse, who developed the MES application Shopfloor-Online. After starting in a technical role, Barber quickly discovered he loved talking to customers and visiting factories. 

“I’m a very curious person, so I enjoyed asking questions and understanding their challenges and pain points,” he begins “I also find manufacturing processes fascinating, it’s always enjoyable to see a new process.” 

So, it wasn’t exactly planned, but Barber fell into MES and manufacturing, which is something he’s become incredibly passionate about.

On a mission to educate the world on MES

In today's industrial manufacturing landscape, industry leaders are fixated on smart manufacturing, automation, Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Curiously, MES often goes unmentioned, despite being a foundational platform supporting and enhancing these concepts and technologies.

In his role, he has the global responsibility for Infor’s MES business, overseeing everything related to its product Infor MES, formerly known as 'Shopfloor-Online'. He’s on a mission to educate the world on MES and actively posts educational content on LinkedIn and his blog MES Matters.

“While Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is the business management tool used across the organisation, MES software is designed to be used operationally in a factory environment to coordinate, track, record and oversee the complete manufacturing process, from raw materials to semi-finished and finished goods,” says Barber. “Connecting to ERP and other enterprise applications, as well as IIoT devices on the shop floor, MES empowers decision-makers with crucial data and insights. MES enables enhanced efficiency, systematisation of the business process and optimised operations.” 

The future of MES in ESG

MES plays a crucial role in enhancing supply chain responsiveness through real-time monitoring and control across all sites. This capability is essential to meet customer demand and deliver high-quality products. 

“Without MES, businesses are left guessing about shop floor activities or relying on retrospective reporting,” Barber continues. “MES provides the transparency needed for informed decision-making in real time, allowing for better demand forecasting, inventory management, and coordination with suppliers.” 

MES also facilitates detailed traceability throughout the supply chain. This is essential for meeting regulatory requirements, ensuring product quality, and addressing issues such as recalls.

He continues: “In terms of ESG, MES helps environmentally with waste elimination goals, reducing defects and scrap through real-time quality control and predicting machine degradation. One of our customers uses MES to identify quality issues before they occur using SPC to analyse the capability of the process. Infor MES also has an energy module where real-time consumption of energy and other resources on the shopfloor can be tracked and analysed.”

To Barber, MES contributes to social impact by contributing to a safer working environment, enforcing compliance with safety regulations. It can monitor equipment conditions and ensure that employees are following proper procedures, reducing the risk of accidents. 

“Infor MES has a maintenance module to keep track of asset care, procedures and performance,” Barber says “Infor MES empowers operational users, helping them make informed decisions, and improving job satisfaction leading to improved culture. Once operators start to see the benefits of using our MES, they can often become some of the biggest advocates.”

MES helps with governance through transparency and accountability across operations, keeping a detailed digital record of everything happening in the factory, whilst supporting compliance, audit, and reporting.

Barber believes that the next 12 months will be incredibly exciting at Infor, especially considering the technological advancements converging around MES. 

“We're witnessing increased investment in physical automation, generating vast amounts of data and MES is emerging as the ideal repository for this valuable information,” he says. “This data-driven environment is enabling companies to unlock new value and insights through the application of AI and ML.”


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