Critical Manufacturing was recognized as a Leader for three years in a row in the Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ report.

By applying a graphical treatment and a uniform set of evaluation criteria, the Gartner Magic Quadrant helps you quickly ascertain how well technology providers are executing their stated visions and how well they are performing against Gartner’s market view. Vendors are evaluated based on their completeness of vision and ability to execute. Figure 1 below showcases the most recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Manufacturing Execution Systems.

Leaders execute well against their current vision and are well positioned for tomorrow.

According to Gartner there is a fundamental technological shift taking place in the MES market, driven by evolving new technologies that challenge the MES status quo and driven by vendors with the agility and talent to accelerate the adoption of those technologies.

Leaders combine the uppermost characteristics of vision and thought leadership with a strong Ability to Execute. Leaders in the MES market are present in a high percentage of new MES deals, and they win a significant number of them. They have robust core MES and may offer some capabilities in extended MES areas.

To be a Leader, a vendor doesn’t necessarily need to have the absolute broadest or deepest MES application. Its offerings must meet most core MES requirements without significant modifications, and a substantial number of high-quality implementations must be available to validate this. Leaders must anticipate where customer demands, markets and technology are moving, and must have strategies to support these emerging requirements ahead of actual customer demand. Leading vendors should have coherent strategies to support supply chain convergence, and must invest in and have processes to exploit innovation (e.g., composable enterprise).

Leaders also have market momentum and strong client satisfaction — in the vendor’s local markets, as well as internationally. Client satisfaction starts with the initial sales engagement and continues through deployment and beyond. Leaders understand the importance of customer satisfaction and approach customer issues as trusted partners. Because Leaders are often well-established in leading-edge and complex user environments, they benefit from a user community that helps them remain in the forefront of emerging needs.

The 2023 Leaders quadrant includes a mix of enterprise and pure-play vendors (see Market Overview). Key characteristics:

• Broad and deep MES offerings.

• Proven success in moderate- to high-complexity manufacturing environments.

• Support for enterprise MES implementations, including global availability of site-generated data.

• Participation in a high percentage of new deals.

• A strong and consistent track record.

• Consistent performance and vigorous client growth and retention.

• Enduring visibility in the marketplace from both sales and marketing perspectives.

• A proven ecosystem of partners.

• Global resources, capabilities and scale.

Let us briefly understand what the  future entails and what we believe it takes to stay as a leading provider in the market.

The Future of MES Applications:

As per Gartner, the future of MES applications is in a flux as the existing vendor community pivots to newer technologies to keep pace with startups.

In order to be future-ready, the applications need to move towards a more end-to-end coverage scenario, coupled with a more composable architecture. End-to-end functional coverage would mean going beyond the initial perception of what an MES application must do and integrate only with automation level applications and the ERP. Broader functional coverage implies the ability to integrate with multiple applications both at an enterprise level and at the shop-floor level, point solutions and legacy systems not excluded.

An application which provides this kind of coverage will have to be more adapted to individual industry requirements and with an in-depth functional know-how of industry best practices so that extended supply chain deliverables are met. A classic example for this would be the level of compliance and form of documentation needed in highly regulated industries like Medtech. Now an application which would be considered suitable for these kinds of operations would need to extend beyond the average QMS systems and provide everything from data collection in the right formats to effective CAPA modules, further, the application would need to automate validations required at multiple levels and ensure qualifications for material, machines and manpower alike.

When the same logic of intricate functional coverage is spread across an industry and its supply chain, what evolves is something far beyond what a traditional MES was called on to do.

Further, a composable design applies the core principles of modularity, autonomy, orchestration and discovery in the very foundation of application infrastructure. For MES applications this means two things, one, the ability to incorporate new technologies from containers to AI within their existing architecture, such that the new offering is better, faster and more dependable. And two, making the application more intuitive, more autonomous, where the operation is driven by facts and can adapt to changes in the marketplace and supply chain instantly to contain possible losses and predict future action items.

A leading provider in the market would be expected to have a modular application, which is cloud-native, IIoT driven, AI enabled both at the edge and an operational analytics level, automation friendly with the ability to provide instructions to and from various types of CPSs and enable AR, VR and other relevant Industry 4.0 technologies to usher in the digital future of the company adopting it.

Critical Manufacturing – What We Believe it Takes to Stay as a Leading Provider in the Market: 

In the words of Critical Manufacturing’s CEO, Francisco Almada-Lobo, “We believe our focus on innovation and customer satisfaction has helped us in being positioned as a Leader for three consecutive years in the report. We are constantly enhancing our platform to support our customers’ evolving needs, and we are committed to providing them with the right/ innovative solutions and support possible.”

The company’s MES platform is designed to help manufacturers increase efficiency, productivity, and agility in their operations.

Critical Manufacturing in the 10th version of its MES platform has been able to showcase what a truly modern MES should look like. The application provides industry specific, fully stacked functionality range, with most modern MES related technologies incorporated and manifested in the core functioning of the application. The entire platform in composable and ready for deployment to enable the fastest roll-out and implementation in the given industry segment. The ability to deploy AI based insight across the supply chain, without having to worry about additional investment in hardware and application hosting means core operations and IT teams may focus on the company’s core value delivery system, while leaving deployment and updates to the CM team.

The solution also brings with it the ability of leveraging AR to enable better operational decisions, reduced maintenance costs and downtime, while training and qualification becomes real-time and leads to faster resource deployment on the shop-floor. Further come the industry specific modules and functions which truly make the application composable and intuitive, for experiencing those first hand, please get in touch with the business leaders of the organization. But remember, to be at the very top in the most niche and complex application space, the CM MES needs to be the absolute best and before choosing any other application over it, it is recommended to thoroughly review its capabilities for your particular case!

Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Manufacturing Execution Systems, Rick Franzosa, Christian Hestermann, 26 April 2023

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