A new perspective: Revised MESA model gives production execution systems strategic context

MESA's goal in releasing a new collaborative MES model is to help manufacturers deploy plant-to-enterprise solutions that will support strategic business initiatives such as Lean, new product introduction processes, or Total Quality programs.
By Kevin Parker, Editorial Director September 20, 2007

MESA International has introduced new guidelines for connecting plant-floor systems with higher-level business applications. The organization’s ultimate goal in releasing this new collaborative MES model is to help manufacturers deploy plant-to-enterprise solutions that will support strategic business initiatives such as Lean, new product introduction processes, or Total Quality programs.

The model was unveiled at MESA’s annual Plant-to-Enterprise conference, held in Orlando, Fla.

MESA Executive Director Matt Bauer said the theme of this year’s event “innovation to integration” reflects “a larger movement toward connectivity that gives every business a larger footprint.

“The new model illustrates [this movement toward connectivity],” Bauer added. “It puts the production execution space into the larger context of technology-enabled processes for enterprise business operations, including product engineering and the supply chain.”

These new developments are reflective of the scale and scope of change taking place in production environments today. “A global economy poses challenges in terms of quality management and supply chain visibility,” says Bauer. “At the same time, expectations continue to rise in areas such as lead time and price based on pervasive technology use and trends toward measurement of key performance indicators in real time.”

MESA, originally formed by a loose-knit group of small software vendors and systems integrators, has evolved over time to include the participation of major automation and technology infrastructure vendors, including Rockwell, GE Fanuc, and Siemens on the one hand; and Microsoft and IBM on the other.

Despite strong vendor support, the organization admittedly has had trouble bringing large numbers of technology users into its membership ranks. To address that issue, MESA announced at the conference that individual users can now get free basic MESA memberships, which allow them to access any research posted on the organization’s Web site. MESA officials hope these free memberships will entice the companies the users work for to become corporate members of MESA.

Meanwhile,

While not seeking to set IT interoperability and integration standards itself, MESA ISA , which is a standards-making organization. According to Bauer, MESA sees its role as creating “guide books that put key concepts into an agreed context—ROI contingencies, KPIs, and success metrics, for example.”