Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Manufacturing and IT: An Alliance for Better Business Outcomes

With the manufacturing and IT silos that exist in some companies, it’s difficult for people to consider the bigger picture. MESA can help the two sides collaborate toward shared business objectives.

By Ann Krauss, MESA International Marketing Committee member

As we celebrate the month of romance and togetherness, it’s an ideal time to consider the many facets of relationships inherent in a manufacturing company. In particular, manufacturing and IT professionals haven’t always been on the same page when it comes to the best technologies to implement to reach business goals. In some companies, there are manufacturing and IT silos, and everyone is simply too busy or too narrowly focused to even take a moment to come up for air and consider the bigger picture.

As with the best romantic relationships, manufacturing and IT professionals could benefit from some heart-to-heart, meaningful conversations. They could also benefit from collaboration for the purpose of accelerating the achievement of business and production goals. Fortunately, there’s a matchmaker and relationship counselor that can help manufacturing and IT professionals move from “it’s all about me” to “it’s all about us.”

The Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA) is a global community of manufacturers, producers, industry leaders and software providers who are focused on driving business results from manufacturing information. MESA helps members formulate strategies to turn plant-floor data into valuable knowledge to be used throughout the enterprise. The goal of MESA and MESA's Global Education Program (GEP) is to establish a global baseline of knowledge that will help everyone—manufacturers, producers and software providers alike.

MESA members have realized significant business gains through successful manufacturing execution system (MES) and manufacturing operations management (MOM) initiatives. For 22 years, companies have sent their manufacturing and IT employees to MESA to get them involved in the important discussions taking place in industry and to leverage what they learn to drive performance and profitability throughout their organizations.

This year, MESA’s 2015 North American Conference is being held May 4-6 at the Charlotte Convention Center in North Carolina. The theme of this year’s conference is “Advancing Manufacturing IT.” The conference is an excellent opportunity for gaining better understanding of the business value of addressing plant- and enterprise-level manufacturing challenges with IT-based solutions.

The MESA International LinkedIn Group offers thought-provoking discussions, articles and resource information for expanding and sharing knowledge, networking opportunities, and the latest industry developments. The LinkedIn Group is open for members or non-members to join and participate.

MESA GEP promotes manufacturing systems and operations best practices through continuing education opportunities and training activities. MESA GEP’s industry events, symposiums and publications help manufacturers, system integrators and vendors achieve leadership capabilities and plant floor execution excellence.

Some recent, popular downloads being offered to MESA members via the MESA Resource Library currently include a comprehensive MES product survey. This survey is conducted on an annual basis with detailed information on MES solutions from more than 70 global suppliers. There’s also a recent webinar titled “Has MES Come of Age?” that showcases data from the third annual Gartner/MESA Business Value of MES Study.

So, take that first step toward furthering the manufacturing and IT relationships in your organization. Consider letting MESA help you move to the next level of mutual understanding and shared commitment.

Ann Krauss,, is director of marketing for Paper-Less LLC, which provides MES software and services, and real-time insight for better management of complex manufacturing environments. She is also a member of the MESA Marketing Committee.

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