In October 2015, Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA) International released their annual MES Product Survey. This is the 16th year MESA has published this report tracking trends in manufacturing execution systems (MES). This year, the report included feedback from MES suppliers from around the world who submitted data on 71 MES products, their services, technologies, quality, and industry focus. Of the 67 participating vendors, CAT Squared was the only solutions provider whose sole focus was serving the food industry.

“Our customers have told us that they selected our product because of our focus on the food industry,” said CAT Squared CEO Vernon Smith. “We have replaced several systems from other vendors who market their solution to the food industry; however, their product was originally developed for the aerospace or mining industries. Oftentimes, we see companies spend a great deal of time and money trying to reengineer a product developed for another industry to fit the food production process. It’s been a costly lesson to some of our customers.”

The MES Product Survey explained that many vendors began expanding their focus to new industries as a result of the economic crisis. The Survey states that after 2008, “Vendors seemed to position (marketing) their products more as “one size fits all” addressing as many sectors as possible.” With the economic recovery, this trend is beginning to subside; however, (of the 24 industries covered) the Survey identified the food & beverage industry as the most competitive sector with nearly 70 percent of survey respondents self-identifying that their solution is a fit for that industry.

Because manufacturing processes and regulatory requirements for the food industry are unique, it’s necessary that vendors serving the industry are intimately familiar with the landscape.

“During the economic downturn, we never shifted our focus away from the food production industry,” said Smith. “We know what we’re good at. All of our top management came out of the food industry, and all of our training staff are required to maintain HACCP certification. The results of the MES Survey confirm the uniqueness of our offering to the industry.”

The complete MES Product Survey is available through the MESA International website at

About MESA International: Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA) International is a worldwide not-for-profit community of manufacturing companies, information technology hardware and software suppliers, system integrators, consulting service providers, analysts, editors, academics and students. The combined purpose is to improve business results and production operations through optimized application and implementation of information technology and best management practices.

ABOUT CAT Squared: CAT Squared was founded in 1995 and is headquartered in Conway, Arkansas with offices in Celaya, Mexico and Istanbul, Turkey. Our customers span 6 continents and include 60% of the top 50 meat and poultry companies in North America. CAT Squared specializes in innovative software solutions designed specifically for the food industry including beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, produce, primary processing, and further processing plants.

Kathy Barbeire

Written by Kathy Barbeire

Throughout my career, I’ve helped organizations think of creative ways to (1) harness new technology to maximize effectiveness, (2) collect relevant data to measure and improve performance, and (3) use data to tell compelling stories to customers and stakeholders. In 2015, I became CAT Squared’s marketing manager. In this role, I monitor industry trends to (1) ensure our products are flexible enough to adapt to new industry standards and (2) prepare our customers for new technologies with the potential to disrupt the industry. I’ve represented CAT Squared as a participant in a blockchain learning group that has grown out of Blockchain for Arkansas (BC4AR), an initiative launched by Governor Asa Hutchinson to promote capacity building around blockchain technology. As my own knowledge and capacity grow, I develop new content to educate our supply chain partners and help them prepare for the transition ahead. Prior to launching my career, I graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional and technical writing and a double minor in sociology and information technology. I later returned to UALR and completed the MBA program. Before joining CAT Squared, I applied my passion for data-driven storytelling to help nonprofits define their goals, track program metrics, and engage donors and community stakeholders in their missions to fight hunger, poverty, and homelessness, first as a program manager for the Our House Homeless Shelter in Little Rock, and then at The Salvation Army Central Arkansas Area Command.