Monday, December 14, 2020

The Dimensions of the New MESA Smart Manufacturing Model

Authored by John Clemons, MESA Marketing Committee Chair, based on an interview with Darren Riley, MESA ROI Justification Working Group Chair 

The work on the new MESA Smart Manufacturing Model is well underway with a team of people from a very wide variety of backgrounds all pitching in to create the new model. The team is working tirelessly to compile the knowledge and wisdom of MESA into a new model specifically for Smart Manufacturing which is both comprehensive and practical, providing a vision for Smart Manufacturing that everyone can use.

I got a chance to catch up with Darren Riley, one of the Subject Matter Experts on the MESA team developing the new model, to ask him what the model is looking like so far.

Darren had this to say. “The new MESA model will have many dimensions. We haven’t finalized all the names for all the dimensions yet, but for this discussion we can talk about them in terms of technologies, capabilities and lifecycles. The idea of the new model is for it to ready to use right out of the box, highly readable and not at all academic.”

There’s lots of technologies out there that are part of Smart Manufacturing. That’s what’s making Smart Manufacturing so significant and so powerful, all the diverse technologies coming together producing solutions that are so much greater than the sum of their parts.

While the new MESA model is really not about all these technologies, they will be included in the model as low-level components so people can understand where they fit, can understand that the technologies are just tools and they can understand that ultimately it’s not about the technologies, it’s about what you can do with the technologies.

Darren continued with these thoughts on the new MESA model. “There’s lot of standards and models out there and the new MESA model is not really meant to replace any of them. The new MESA model will help people interpret the standards, provide best practices for Smart Manufacturing, and provide the best approaches to Smart Manufacturing. Moreover, the new MESA model is intended to be a natural evolution from the previous MESA models. MESA has been very successful in building very down-to-earth, practical and usable models over the years and this new model is intended to be a natural extension of that work.”

One more problem many people at MESA have seen is that while there are lots of models and standards out there, there’s not a lot of practical advice, with emphasis here on the word ‘practical’.

Along these lines, Darren continues with his explanation of the new MESA model. “One of the things we are wanting to put into the new MESA model is specific real-world scenarios. The idea is to provide specific guidance on what to do and what not to do in the realm of Smart Manufacturing. These scenarios would provide examples, expertise, and guidance to practical real-world problems. These scenarios will help people fill in the gaps when they don’t know how to proceed, when the problems seem too complex and when the whole world of Smart Manufacturing just seems too big to tackle.”

Ultimately the new model will continue the MESA legacy and be a natural evolution to the models MESA has produced over the years. Yes, the new model will have new dimensions such as capabilities, lifecycles and technologies. But it will still above all else provide guidance to practitioners and provide a practical down-to-earth vision of what Smart Manufacturing can and should be.

Darren says, “The academics aren’t going to be happy at all. But the practitioners, the people in the trenches that actually have to do this stuff, will be immensely pleased. Finally, they will have a model that makes sense, that’s readable and that they can actually use to get some work done. That’s a win for everyone.”

Stay tuned for more on the new MESA Smart Manufacturing Model.


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