Being confronted with IT strategic questions of how to constantly
reduce IT operating costs and at the same time live up to ever
increasing manufacturing demands, automobile manufacturers are
encountering problems to find appropriate IT support for
production planning and execution. Moreover, they are facing the
challenge to clearly define and demarcate Enterprise Resource
Planning (ERP) and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)
functionality. Despite the existence of a number of standardization
efforts addressing MES functionality, automobile manufacturers
are still struggling to reach a common understanding for the term
MES and a clear functional design. The paper addresses this need
by developing a functional reference model for MES in the
automotive industry based on a multiple case study approach. The
case studies examine the design and implementation of
manufacturing-related functionality in four leading automotive
manufacturing companies.