The process functional ecosystem

A process functional ecosystem employs a multi-step, multi-ingredient batch that uses a combination of complex procedures, business and operational systems and communications.

By Randy Otto November 8, 2022
Randy Otto is the CEO of ECS Solutions and brings more than 25 years of experience in diverse industries, including glass fibers manufacturing and custom assembly machine manufacturing. Courtesy: ECS Solutions

Companies that operate in multi-step, multi-ingredient batch processing operations employ a combination of complex procedures, business and operational systems, and communications. The range of tools and machinery used to process a potentially vast array of ingredients and process steps are what it takes to make processors successful.  Entire working cultures emerge from these operations that foster a focus and achieve positive outcomes.

The more specialized the market and operation, the lower number of people who operate within that domain. This doesn’t always allow for regular interaction with a broad spectrum of manufacturing peers, which can leave individuals and organizations feeling they are so unique that they are relatively isolated. They frequently feel little confidence that people outside their close-knit internal group can effectively understand, let alone support them. The possibility exists that they are rare, but they are not entirely unique and there are outside firms that are also closely aligned and, in fact, true peers as well.

ECS Solutions (ECS) operates upon this landscape. They have established a collective corporate consciousness that is aligned with the DNA of their core clients: batch processors. ECS is immersed in the behaviors and characteristics of these clients, and it is reflected in nearly every aspect of their operation.

The relationship between ECS and their batch processing clients is easily analogized to the relationship between a patient in need of specialized medical care. A patient can communicate with a broad spectrum of physicians and common threads would be revealed in conversations with nearly all of them. However, when a specific need arises, the most effective means to a successful end is engaging quickly and deeply with someone who functions daily in the required specialty field.  ECS is the trusted expert provider to their clients and their involvement provides assurance that the best possible experience is involved with the planning and execution of projects. Moreover, they approach each project as a partner with a client’s long-term needs in mind.

At the heart of ECS’s ability to work successfully in tandem with batch processors is the culture they’ve established with their process functional ecosystem. The process functional ecosystem addresses the equipment, processing steps, and layered data flow aspects of manufacturing. The experience of their leaders and training that all staff receive is driven explicitly so that every member of the ECS team understands considerably more than just physical automation. Physical processing is modeled and converted into operational steps which may include both automated equipment and manual operations.  The equipment capabilities and manual operations are arranged into steps that define procedural models.  All of this is examined within and aligned to the data flow requirements for business planning, manufacturing operations management, and manufacturing control. The entire ECS team approaches each project and modules within them with this in consideration.

Experienced batch processors may recognize alignment within this description to International Society of Automation’s (ISA) ISA-88 and ISA-95 standards. This is not a coincidence; ECS has specifically woven these standards into its internal systems. This allows them to purposefully approach the evolution of each of their teammates in a manner that constantly drives towards homogeneity with their clients and further establishes their expertise with each passing collaboration, large or small. Every client interaction is streamlined by this aligned approach to both communications and operations within the firms. Every opportunity and situation is approached, and problems are solved without having to first establish baseline understandings between ECS and the client, or within the ECS team itself, and results happen efficiently. Client personnel from each layer within the model will enjoy and benefit from the connection to the ECS team to operators, engineers, production management, and IT.

Some ECS clients initially have no exposure at all to business modeling in this manner and some are deeply rooted in the methodology. No matter which case, ECS’s aligned understanding allows them to effectively establish or expand this for their clients. Their experience and methodologies help them to navigate today’s challenges and pragmatically plan for future expansions. No matter where your organization lives on this spectrum you should engage a discussion with the ECS team and see for yourself what exactly their professionals bring to you.

Author Bio: Randy Otto is the CEO of ECS Solutions and brings more than 30 years of experience in diverse industries, including glass fibers manufacturing and custom assembly machine manufacturing. Before joining ECS, Randy spent 10 years managing the delivery of assembly equipment for Integrated Systems Manufacturing and process control systems for Premier System Integrators. For most of the last 18 years, he has managed business development and sales for ECS and more recently as a part of his duties as CEO. Randy graduated from Purdue University with a degree in electrical engineering technology. He has an MBA from the University of Southern Indiana.