Best Practice for MES-SAP interface Factory Acceptance Testing

Emerson's Jonathan Lustri


Author: Jonathan Lustri

Almost all Life Sciences manufacturing execution system (MES) projects include an interface to SAP, the enterprise resource management system. This interface is strategic in that this is how the business and production are tied together. It allows the manufacturing floor to be integrated with the business for cost accounting, material planning, and production planning.

The integration transactions that are typically needed are very well known and include Process Order Download, Goods Recipe, Goods Issues, Order Status, and Inventory Movements.

Life Sciences Manufacturing and manufacturing execution systemsOn a recipe project, we were planning to do a factory acceptance test (FAT) for this interface. Given that we have no connection to the client’s SAP system, what is the best way to conduct a factory acceptance test?

Our team came up with a novel approach to test the interface with the clients SAP system without having a connection. In preparation for the FAT, the client provided XML messages that came from their SAP system. These messages would serve as inputs to the Syncade interface and used as the basis for FAT.

This assured the messages used in SAP were identical to what would actually be used at site. Further, the FAT process included generating messages from Syncade and SAP with messages being emailed between the client and Emerson, with each party sending the message to the designation system for processing.

In this way, messages were actually processed between the system without having a connection. I don’t think we have done this before and I was impressed by the Emerson and client project team as they found a way to have the highest level of testing for the interface without actually being connected.

It seems to me that this approach added a lot of value to the FAT to assure the interface will work when installed at the site.

From Jim: You can connect with manufacturing execution system and pharmaceutical & biotech industry experts at next week’s Emerson Exchange conference in San Antonio, Texas or in the Life Sciences and MES, SCADA & Other Systems discussion groups in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

Some of the MES and Life Sciences sessions you’ll find at the conference include: