Monday, June 17, 2013

Press Release: MESA announces the publishing of MESA White Paper #44

Defining an Operations Systems Architecture

CHANDLER, ARIZ., June 17, 2013 - Information systems provided by industrial software vendors are evolving constantly with new features and implementation strategies. The complexity and variety of available options make it difficult for many manufacturers to adequately discuss and compare software alternatives that may or may not meet their requirements.

Vendors typically promote architectures that are supported by the products or solutions in their suite or toolbox. If a manufacturer does not have a clear vision for the architecture of its operations systems, it often adopts the vendor's approach. This approach may be the best fit for the system being developed; however, in many cases it is not or the vendor's solution is not configured correctly.

In the absence of a target "To-Be" architecture, the vendor approach is inevitable. With the increasing reliance on system agility and associated operations management capability, the need to raise the bar is evi-dent. Best-in-class manufacturers must be able to understand their production processes and structures as a foundation for actual process improvement. Once understood, the As-Is and target To-Be architectures serve as a common basis for the discussion and mapping of alternatives.

This paper presents techniques for describing operations systems and engaging stakeholders in projects based on product-independent architectures with examples.

Taking this approach changes the game in vendor negotiations from product-centric evaluation to one in which operations system capability is the focus of discussion. The product selection process includes requirements and alignment to key design principles. Vendor responses are compared against a common operations model and strategy to build pragmatic MOM architecture.

A series of state-of-the-art enterprise and solution architecture concepts are presented, which can be used as a starting point for developing an operations systems architecture (OSA). This architecture can then be used to guide any project, from the smallest upgrade to the largest enterprise solution.

This paper was produced as part of the MESA/ISA-95 Best Practices Working Group through an international peer review process involving 5 or more subject matter reviewers.  This MESA White Paper is also be published in the methodology best practices collection, The MOM Chronicles: ISA-95 Best Practices Book 3.0 (Published by ISA, February 2013)This white paper is available at:

All of MESA's white papers are available at for MESA premium members who have complimentary access to over 800 white papers, presentations, MOM/MES guidebooks, industry studies and web casts.

Gavan Hood, Simul-Tech Pty Ltd

Contributing Editor:
Charlie Gifford, 21st Century Manufacturing Solutions LLC


About MESA International
MESA International (Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association) is a global not-for-profit industry association dedicated to improving outcomes for businesses and their people through the use of manufacturing information. MESA is comprised of manufacturers, producers, solution providers, and industry thought leaders collaborating to formulate practical strategies to turn plant-floor data into valuable knowledge for enterprise success. We do this by:
  • Collecting, sharing, and publishing best practices to help drive greater productivity and the overall profitability of the manufacturing enterprise. Over 800 webcasts, guidebooks, whitepapers, studies, and surveys are available for download in our Resource Library
  • Educating professionals through our IACET-accredited MESA Global Education Program (GEP).
  • Facilitating collaboration among members in over 40 countries who connect, contribute, cultivate understanding, and exchange strategies to drive business results through real-time enterprise and Plant to Enterprise (P2E) integration.
Creating partnerships with other industry associations and experts like the World Batch Forum (WBF). Our 2012 merger broadens our knowledge of ISA-95 related standards like B2MML, and ISA-88 related standards like BatchML.

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