Authored by John Clemons, MESA Marketing Committee Chair, based on an interview with Khris Kammer, MESA Knowledge Committee Chair.
The world of manufacturing is undergoing a significant step change. Terms like Smart Manufacturing, Digital Transformation, and Industrie 4.0 are top of mind for many executives. There are many new technologies coming together to create AI solutions, digital twins, digital threads, the industrial internet of things, AR/VR solutions, and a whole lot more. This smart technology, along with a lot of smart people, are creating the fourth industrial revolution and driving economic growth through manufacturing.
With all this technology coming together, everyone seems
to be looking at it from their own points of view. This means there’s a good
bit of confusion out there with practitioners not sure about how all this
technology fits together or how all this technology really achieves the
benefits everyone claims.
MESA, the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association,
is developing a new Smart Manufacturing Model that will cut through the hype
and the fluff, and provide simple, easy-to-use model for Smart Manufacturing.
MESA formed a new team of industry experts who are now meeting
on a regular basis to create the new MESA Smart Manufacturing model. The team
is extremely experienced and includes people who’ve developed previous versions
of MESA models as well as industry standards.
The team comes from a wide range of backgrounds, representing
manufacturing companies, solution providers, and industry analysts. It’s a very
strong mix of experienced individuals from a wide range of roles. Engineering,
automation, information technology, operations technology, operations management,
executive management, and research and development are just a few of the roles
The team also comes from a wide variety of industries
with the intent for the model to be completely industry agnostic, with the
ability to tailor it to specific industries and business models. Individuals
from process industries, batch industries, discrete industries, and hybrid
industries are all included.
Khris Kammer, the chairman of the MESA Knowledge
Committee, who is helping lead the team, says, “The group is very excited to
work on the new MESA Smart Manufacturing model. New technologies are converging
in the form of Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0. But, more than just the
technologies, tough market conditions are driving companies to think differently
about their manufacturing operations. Maybe for the first time ever, C-suite
executives are collectively understanding the importance of their manufacturing
operations and developing new and exciting visions for the future, all built on
the role Smart Manufacturing should play in their companies.”
There’s no doubt we’re in the midst of the fourth
industrial revolution, but the size and the impact are still up to us. That’s
why MESA is building this new model, to add even more power to the revolution and
ensure that its impact is global, substantial, and long-lasting.
A model, which is typically defined as an abstract
definition of something that exists in the real world, needs structures to make
it work. The MESA team has decided that the highest-level structure in the new
model will be the “lifecycle”.
This makes a lot of sense because everything has a
lifecycle. The team is working on finalizing the breadth and the depth of the
lifecycles that will be in the model, with leading candidates including the
product lifecycle, the asset lifecycle, the personnel lifecycle, and the supply
chain lifecycle, just to name a few. Each lifecycle will have multiple
functions defined within it, which combined, provide manufacturers with the
complete solutions they need for their businesses.
To make the new model applicable to real world situations,
and thus more valuable, the team is modeling the interactions between the
various lifecycles and detailing the technology threads which span across the
lifecycles. Example technology threads include cybersecurity, quality & regulatory
compliance, cloud computing, and AI / Machine Learning, with several more
threads being considered.
The team intends for the model to be used by virtually
everyone in the industrial space. Khris explains this idea: “The new Smart
Manufacturing model will break the landscape into manageable pieces so that
everyone can understand the components. It will serve both as a reference model
and as a prescriptive model. By detailing the individual pieces and their
interactions, it will provide everyone that uses the model with common points
of view necessary to understand and communicate about the entire Smart
Manufacturing landscape. This will help them evaluate solutions, technologies,
and offerings, to ultimately determine how well they fit their own businesses.”
Everyone that uses the model will speak a common
language. Whether it’s solution providers, manufacturing companies, end users,
analysts, engineering companies, or whomever, by using the model, they will
have a common language and a common understanding of the Smart Manufacturing
Khris goes on to explain why the team is so excited about
the new MESA Smart Manufacturing model. “The team is excited and inspired.
There are a lot of drivers in the industry, ranging from new technologies to new challenges,
and these drivers are resulting in new business models. We’re seeing the
opportunity for a step change in industry, and we have to take advantage of it.
We cannot drop back to business as usual. We must embrace these changes and
build on them, giving this revolution more momentum.”
This really is a great time to be in manufacturing.
There are new technologies. There are new business models. There’s
excitement about manufacturing from the C-suite on down like we’ve never seen
before, and there are more people talking about manufacturing than we’ve ever
The new MESA Smart Manufacturing model is looking to
build on that excitement. It will help point the way to the future and give
everyone a framework for truly understanding the value of Smart Manufacturing.
It’s a good day to be in manufacturing and the new MESA model will point the
way to an even brighter future.
Stay tuned for more on the new MESA Smart Manufacturing