Monday, October 21, 2019

A Plant Is a Symphony of Challenges and Choices

By John Meulemeester, MESA Commercial Leader

I have visited literally hundreds of production plants, from producing radios, cars and bricks to soup and chemical ingredients. I can tell you, there is hardly such a thing as a “standard production line in a factory”. If you know one company that has an ‘identical’ production line in two plants, please let me know.

I compare this to music. Universally limited to only 12 notes… it creates an infinite number of “songs and symphonies”.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

MESA Member Q&A: Chris Hamilton, Co-Chair of MESA’s Cybersecurity Working Group

By Shaunna Balady, Member, MESA International Marketing Committee

As part of our ‘MESA Proud’ campaign, we’re shining some light on various members who help this nonprofit continue to be an important network for IT education and collaboration in the Smart Manufacturing and MES/MOM space.

First up, we have Chris Hamilton, Co-Chair of MESA’s Cybersecurity Working Group. Chris shares an overview on what it’s like to be in the working group, why he is a MESA member and his personal hobbies.

Q: As Co-Chair of MESA’s Cybersecurity Working Group, what type of issues does the group seem to be focused on?
A: The group is focused on taking industry security standards like ISA-62443, SP 800-82, CIS CSC, ISO/IEC 27001, NIST Ver. 1.1, etc and making those accessible and understandable to all MESA members as related to cybersecurity issues in manufacturing and/or industrial systems. 
Additionally, the group has created a number of blog articles which address the topic of security in an effort to bring awareness, education, and knowledge sharing.
Further, the group is active in trying to provide guidance on dealing with end of extended support issues around Windows XP and Server 2003 and upcoming for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2. View upcoming meeting dates to participate.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

4 Essential Steps for Success with the Artificial Intelligence of Things

By Jane Howell, MESA Americas Board Member

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View.

Some technologies are inevitably bound together. Artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are a perfect example of two technologies that complement each other and should be tightly connected.

The combination is AIoT (the artificial intelligence of things), and it already exists in our daily lives but we seldom recognize it. Think Google Maps, Netflix, Siri and Alexa, for example.

AIoT is creating new value for organizations across a broad spectrum of industries – from manufacturers and retailers, to energy, smart cities, health care, and beyond.

And more organizations are taking notice. Gartner predicts that by 2022, more than 80 percent of enterprise IoT projects will include an AI component, up from only 10 percent today.

So, how can you realize success with AIoT?

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

IIoT Platforms, Not All created Equal

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View

By Gerhard Greeff, MESA EMEA Board Member

In the past few years, solution providers have often been asked to assist in creating an Internet of Things (IoT) or Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) strategy. Our answer has always been, and will continue to be…

What is the business problem to be solved or the outcome to be achieved?

Monday, August 12, 2019

Continuous Asset Optimization 4.0

By Dr. Ananth Seshan, Chairman of the MESA Continuous Asset Optimization Working Group

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View.

What does sub-optimal performance of your asset cost your business? Can you really afford to ignore the hidden, but ever-growing cost? 

Unplanned downtime is still one of the predominant costs in a manufacturing operation notwithstanding the advancements in predictive and condition-based maintenance. Even though the focus of proactive maintenance has been to: (a) catch the symptoms of failure early, (b) using past experience and some domain knowledge, infer the probable causes from the symptoms and, (c) taking proactive actions to prevent the failure, only limited success has been achieved from the previous generation predictive maintenance approaches. Why?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Be an IoT Data Super Hero: Ingest, Understand, and Act to Accelerate Business Outcomes using the Cloud

By Jane Howell, MESA Americas Board Member

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View.

If you’re a data scientist, you know the pressure to help your business understand the signals hidden in the vast and diverse stream of IoT data.  Businesses need to decipher these signals so they can deliver critical outcomes to enhance the customer experience, improve equipment effectiveness, and drive operational excellence.

But if you’re using batch scoring and various techniques to analyze data at rest, you’re hamstrung by the need to stream, store, and then score the data.  Not only is it very time consuming, but it also delays your ability to make decisions in real time which hampers the business’ ability to accelerate performance.

What steps can you take to rapidly convert IoT data into valuable insights for your business?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

12 Benefits of Using Standards in the Design and Implementation of iMOM Projects

This blog is peer-reviewed by the MESA's Process Industries Working Group

By Stan DeVries, MESA member of the Process Industries Working Group

Download the supplemental guidebook: MESA Process Industries Guidebook: Adopting Integrated Manufacturing Operations Management (iMOM) in Oil & Gas and Petrochemical Industries, Leveraging Digital Technologies and Industry 4.0 Framework and join the public LinkedIn Group MESA iMOM for the Process Industries

In integrated Manufacturing Operations Management (iMOM), the ultimate goal of using software systems is to increase and sustain business benefits. In theory, this goal could be achieved by working with a single software vendor throughout the project lifecycle. In practice, though, single vendor approaches are not the best approach for the following reasons:

Monday, May 20, 2019

Behind The Scenes: MESA's Outstanding Contribution Winners

A big congratulations to MESA's 2019 Outstanding Contribution Award winners! We captured the awards at recent events on our World Tour.

These thought leaders help drive MESA programs like education, training, research and overall help important discussions happen between committees and professionals. Help celebrate these winners by sharing this blog post or the press release.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Hidden Treasures in Plain Sight – At the Manufacturer’s Shelf

By Conrad Leiva, Chair of MESA's Smart Manufacturing Working Group

Download ‘MESA/Gartner Business Value of MES Survey 17’ results.  |  This blog is a MESA Member Point of View

There are hidden treasures at the manufacturer’s shelf and we are not talking about the inventory shelf. We are talking in this article about the IT shelf of already owned software that is not being used. More specifically about the Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) or Manufacturing Execution System (MES) software the company purchased a few years back that hasn’t been deployed to its full capabilities.

Gartner has recently published some interesting results from a joint survey with MESA International — results that validate this premise. [1] Figure 1 below (Figure 4 in the report) shows that even though most companies have achieved the expected return on investment (ROI), they still believe that there is more value to capture with their MES.
Value from MES

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Slow Yet Steady Progress Towards Smart Manufacturing -- Will you be prepared?

By Conrad Leiva, Chair of MESA's Smart Manufacturing Working Group

This blog is MESA Peer Reviewed

The manufacturing industry continues to make progress towards the vision of a fourth industrial revolution—a  vision of revolutionary productivity increase. How? Through the the higher levels of automation, orchestration and optimization enabled by Smart Manufacturing’s higher levels of connectivity and data transparency from each resource, plant and partner in the new manufacturing ecosystem.

In the Figure 1 below, we compare results from 2017 survey data compiled by IndustryWeek and MESA International [1] to results from a 2018 poll running at MESA International’s website [2]. At first glance,  it might seem that the number of Smart Manufacturing projects implemented are going down, but that  decrease in percentage is explained by an increase in the percentage of companies planning and researching the topic and a decrease in the percentage of companies not doing anything.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Leveraging Cloud Services for Smart Manufacturing

This blog is MESA Peer Reviewed

By Conrad Leiva, MESA International Board Member and chair of MESA's Smart Manufacturing Working Group

Download the supplemental White Paper: Smart Manufacturing and Cloud Computing

Smart Manufacturing is not solely about optimizing production of goods, it is about creating positive value streams for everyone involved in the production process and creating valuable experiences and services for the end customer. Smart Manufacturing includes visibility and interoperability among systems, departments and partner companies, as well as a decentralized decision-making framework for the value chain. The endeavor encompasses suppliers and suppliers’ suppliers, as well as customers and customers’ customers.

Cloud Computing is one of the information technology (IT) stacks that are helping achieve the Smart Manufacturing goals. Organizations have access today to many combinations of technologies and software as-a-service whether they want to embrace a full or hybrid cloud infrastructure model. The availability of quality cloud component services that are easy to assemble into a custom application is even changing the shape of the IT department as it becomes easier for non-IT experts to assemble cloud services into custom apps. In many organizations, the IT department’s focus has shifted from developing, installing, and supporting software applications, to providing guidelines and a framework for assembling integrated enterprise applications. 

The question should not be whether a manufacturing system will be on the cloud, but instead figuring out how much of the manufacturing system will be on the cloud to maximize the benefits to each organization and its customers. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Why Companies of All Sizes Should Consider Cloud Computing for Smart Manufacturing

This blog is MESA Peer Reviewed

By Srivats Ramaswami, Member of MESA’s Smart Manufacturing Working Group and a Member of MESA’s International Board

Download the supplemental White Paper: Smart Manufacturing and Cloud Computing

Does the size of the company matter when using Cloud Computing for Smart Manufacturing? The short answer is no. A cloud-based Smart Manufacturing strategy is very much going to be driven by business needs and technology adoption appetite. With that said, Cloud Computing offers some significant benefits for Smart Manufacturing. The following are elements of Cloud Computing to be considered whether you are a small, medium or large company.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Road Less Traveled: The Journey Toward Industrie 4.0

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View

By John Clemons, International Board Member at Large, Americas Board Member, and Marketing Committee Chair of MESA International

Join MESA at Industry of Things World Berlin this September and get 35% off using code: MESAIoTDS.

By the end of last century, we thought we had lost manufacturing. It was old, smelly, and looked like a dinosaur just waiting to die. But Industrie 4.0 holds the potential to transform manufacturing back into an economic powerhouse. 

Unlike earlier technology, Industrie 4.0 is fundamentally transforming how manufacturing companies compete. These new connected technologies increase speed, agility, and flexibility throughout a company’s value chain.

With Industrie 4.0 strategies, companies gain powerful capabilities to drive competitive advantage. Factories cut costs, reduce time-to-delivery, and increase order accuracy. With the right leadership, businesses will capture market share, enter new markets, and boost margins.

The Industrie 4.0 Roadmap from MESA International provides manufacturing companies with a guide for their Industrie 4.0 journey and a framework for building detailed plans to achieve their Industrie 4.0 goals:

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Discovering the “Analytics that Matter”

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View

By Patricia Panchak

Download the ‘Analytics that Matter’ eBook
Download the slides from the presentation at the 2018 North American Conference

Attendees of the MESA North American Conference got a preview of results from the latest “Analytics That Matter” survey. Conducted by MESA International in collaboration with LNS Research, the bi-annual study was originally designed over a decade ago to identify “Metrics that Matter,” but evolved in the past few years to explore the use of new technology advancements around the Internet of Things (IIoT), Cloud, Big Data Analytics, and Mobility.

“Our focus now is beyond just KPIs and metrics, beyond the four walls of the plant,” said Chris Monchinski, Chair of MESA’s Analytics Working Group and VP Manufacturing Intelligence at Automated Control Concepts, Inc., Neptune, New Jersey, introducing the presentation. “Analytics and Big Data is more than just revving up our dashboards. It’s about looking at all sorts of streams of data, different types of data, and trying to glean new insight out of them.”

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Value of MES to Your Smart Manufacturing Transformation

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View

By Patricia Panchak

Click to download the slides from Virgin Orbit’s session at MESA’s 2018 North American Conference.

When Virgin Orbit launched its digital transformation journey, one of its goals was to identify and implement technologies that would help it build a digital thread. The idea was to digitize the business’ processes end-to-end—"from the launch event, which is the company’s key event, and back all the way through test, integration, manufacturing, design, and all the way to the original requirements—either engineering requirements or business customer requirements — that drove decisions such as what the vehicle should perform, how it should perform and so forth,” said Andrzej Goryca, Senior Enterprise Systems Manager of the company.

That wasn’t the end goal, of course. As a relatively young company—it’s built about half a dozen rockets, so far—the ultimate goal was to design, build and launch rockets into low-earth orbit, even as they “design, build and launch our business—to take the business to the next level,” Goryca said.

Monday, July 23, 2018

How Data Analytics Changed Profits and Culture

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View

By Patricia Panchak

Click to download the slides from Vecima’s session at MESA’s 2018 North American Conference.

You don’t have to be a large enterprise with a big IT staff, a team of data scientists and a large budget to implement culture-changing data analytics in your organization, according to Paul Little, Business Intelligence Analyst, Vecima Networks. The company conceptualizes, designs and manufactures cable network equipment and software for cable and networking vendors such as Comcast, Charter and Cox.

At the 2018 MESA North American Conference, Little described how the $71 million (Canadian) company made just such a transition.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Critical First Steps of a Smart Manufacturing Transformation -- Spoiler alert: It’s not About Selecting Technology

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View

By Patricia Panchak

Click to download the slides from Trelleborg’s session at MESA’s 2018 North American Conference. 

When Trelleborg Group set out on its Smart Manufacturing journey, it found technology wasn’t the problem so much as it was people’s understanding of the technology. The operations technologists (OT) in the manufacturing facilities thought they were ready to embark on a digital transformation, but the company’s information technology (IT) leaders disagreed. Bridging this gap became the first order of business, said Tomas Norbut, IT Infrastructure and IoT program manager, at MESA’s North American Conference

Norbut explained the disconnect as follows: “There’s a gap in knowledge between understanding that your processes could be very, very mature, but the abilities to digitize those processes can be very, very immature,” he said. That’s true even when the company has a well-developed, mature manufacturing program, as Trelleborg does.

Monday, July 9, 2018

New Research and Tools Help Smart Manufacturing Initiatives

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View

By Conrad Leiva, MESA International Board Member and chair of MESA's Smart Manufacturing Working Group

Join MESA's Smart Manufacturing Community and its LinkedIn Group for more research. 

I was fortunate to participate at the MESA International workshop on Smart Manufacturing this spring listening and speaking with many leaders and practitioners working on innovation initiatives for their manufacturing companies under the general theme of Smart and Digital Manufacturing transformation. 

The digital transformation trend that started a few years ago continues stronger than ever. The digital business strategy for these companies has two main goals: (i) digital business optimization with goals of improved customer experience and improved productivity, and (ii) digital business transformation with goals of new business models and increased revenue through product and service offerings that leverage new levels of digital product data in this era of IoT.  

MESA International’s survey, performed with Industry Week, shows that among U.S. manufacturers, the preferred term for this digital transformation is Smart Manufacturing (around 50%) followed by Connected Enterprise, Digital Manufacturing, and Industry 4.0 (each around 10-15%). [1]

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Smart Manufacturing is Now: Here’s Why

This blog is a MESA Member Point of View

By: Julie Fraser, MESA Smart Manufacturing Research Program Leader

Join MESA's Smart Manufacturing Community and its LinkedIn Group for more research. 

What is your answer to this quick question? Is Smart Manufacturing a concept to act on
    a) In the future
    b) Now

If your answer is (a) future, you face a risk. I don’t want to sound pedantic, but the best answer is: (b) the time for Smart Manufacturing is now. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s actually the safe answer.

Why? Because most manufacturers have at least one Smart Manufacturing project or initiative underway. Those who have not yet started on the journey risk falling behind.


This blog is a MESA Member Point of View.

By Goran Novkovic, MESA Member, CQA, CSQE, ITIL, APM, PMP, PEng

This blog is part of a series called Manufacturing in the Cloud. This series aims to assist manufacturing organizations to evaluate how they can overcome challenges and maximize cloud computing benefits. As cloud computing services mature both commercially and technologically, this is likely to become relatively easier to achieve.