Engineers and Sarbanes-Oxley

Control engineers need to be more aware of and involved in automation system integration with higher-level business systems. The long-promised intersection of these two areas of technology will actually begin taking place at companies of all sizes over the next five to 10 years and it will have a lasting effect on engineers, not just because it will impact systems they use and the level of info...

01/01/2005


Related reading
For further reading about plant-floor connectivity to SAP enterprise solutions, click on the following links:

Control engineers need to be more aware of and involved in automation system integration with higher-level business systems. The long-promised intersection of these two areas of technology will actually begin taking place at companies of all sizes over the next five to 10 years and it will have a lasting effect on engineers, not just because it will impact systems they use and the level of information they have access to, but because the everyday function of engineers will be thrust into the corporate spotlight (see the 'Engineer-centered Supply Chain,' May 2004).

With this new level of integration, corporate officers will see how plant-floor decisions directly affect company profitability. Engineers may groan about this development, based on a belief that this much insight will distract from the real job of keeping things running. I argue that it will focus the engineering effort like never before and should, in turn, increase the visibility of the engineer as a key component in effective business management.

The biggest driver today behind this integration push is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The law mandates a comprehensive accounting framework for public companies doing business in the U.S. Companies are required to disclose all pertinent financial performance information publicly in a uniform, transparent manner. This financial information must also have substantiating data readily identified and easily available for follow-up audits. For a manufacturing company, this means complete access to plant-floor information.

If you work at a private manufacturing company, don't think that the coming integration of shop floor and top floor won't affect you. Once public companies achieve integration for the sake of compliance, newfound efficiencies will force the hand of private manufacturers to reach a similar level of technological capability to compete.

Responding to this greater focus on integration, a number of companies are now releasing products designed specifically to achieve it. In the past six months, Siemens, Wonderware, Lighthammer, and OSIsoft have all released engineering-level products certified to integrate with SAP enterprise systems (see this column online for links to articles with details). These announcements came soon after SAP's call in spring 2004 for greater connectivity of its systems to plant-floor software solutions through use of the ISA S95 standard.

Don't be out of compliance with the future of manufacturing engineering. Begin absorbing as much information as possible about automation-to-enterprise integration based on systems in use in your facility today.

David Greenfield, Editorial Director

dgreenfield@reedbusiness.com


To read David Greenfield’s other columns addressing automation-to-enterprise integration and related ways of thinking, click the following links:





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Motor specification guidelines; Understanding multivariable control; Improving a safety instrumented system; 2017 Engineers' Choice Award Winners
Selecting the best controller from several viewpoints; System integrator advice for the IIoT; TSN and real-time Ethernet; Questions to ask when selecting a VFD; Action items for an aging PLC/DCS
Robot advances in connectivity, collaboration, and programming; Advanced process control; Industrial wireless developments; Multiplatform system integration
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
click me