Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How to Deliver an Executable Manufacturing Strategy for Continuous Process Industry

By Jaco van der Merwe, IME Solutions 

Operations Management is one leg of Production Economics and relates to the deployment and use of resources to transform inputs to useful output. In this, Manufacturing Strategy offers a structured approach to decision-making facilitating economic performance within the operating environment. 

Operations management is defined as the planning, scheduling and control of processes, systems and people to produce final product(s) that comply with quality, environmental, cost, and production output requirements. From this it is clear that operations management is concerned with the tactical action plan whereas manufacturing strategy is concerned with providing longer term guidelines.

This blog describes the use of Time-in-State in deriving an executable manufacturing strategy and subsequently facilitating effective operations management. This blog addresses one of the most challenging environments -- the continuous process industry.


The strategy planning process includes identifying business objectives and developing resources and capabilities by which the selected objectives can be realized. From a practical standpoint, it is central for managers to obtain an accurate representation of the production plant’s capability in order to deliver execution of business and manufacturing objectives.

In this context of strategy, Time-in-State is used to provide an accurate assessment of operational performance and identifying the relationship between different operational performance dimensions. Performance dimensions are described in Table 1.

In turn, performance is a function of the available infrastructure. Infrastructure is described in Table 2.

Time-in-State delivers an accurate assessment of the current capability of the production plant. In doing so, management has the ability to evaluate how the current plant performance dimensions and infrastructure matches the manufacturing strategy. 


Subsequent to formulating the strategy, Time-in-State delivers a means to monitor and manage the respective performance dimensions at process and equipment level.  Data generated by the various controls serves as input to the Time-in-State solution. Operational personnel’s emotional and intellectual engagement is secured by the fact that their collective knowledge and experience where incorporated during the strategy phase.


Time-in-State contributes toward the formulation of an executable Manufacturing Strategy.  

The Time-in-State solution evaluates performance at functional unit level – this facilitates pro-active management of the respective performance dimensions.

  1. MESA White Paper #47 - Time-in-State Management in the Process Industries 
  2. MESA White Paper #48 - Time-in-State Metric Implementation Methodology 
  3. MESA White Paper #50 - Real-time Implementation of Time-in-State Metric 
  4. MESA Presentation- Time-in-State in Mining Beneficiation
  5. MESA Presentation- Time-in-State Metric
About the Author

Jaco van der Merwe is a professional registered engineer assisting process plants for more than 18 years.  Jaco focus on both Production and maintenance optimization to realise bottom line profit.  He assists companies with the implementing of an executable strategy ensuring that multi-million dollar gains are realised by focussing and assisting the plant operators with real-time decision information.

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