Delivering an executable manufacturing strategy for process industries

A manufacturing strategy offers a structured approach to decision-making facilitating economic performance within the operating environment.


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, a 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 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.


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, 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 below.

Table 1: Performance dimensions are described. Courtesy: MESA

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

Table 2: Performance is a function of the available infrastructure. Courtesy: MESA

Time-in-state is designed to deliver 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.

Operations management

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.

Jaco van der Merwe is a professional registered engineer assisting process plants for more than 18 years. This article originally appeared on MESA International's blog. MESA International is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media,

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