You look and do not see

Do you sometimes get a feeling that you're looking at your process but cannot really see what's going on? Internet technologies have enabled software tools that allow greater insight into how the process, manufacturing line, or batch interacts with other areas of enterprise; how it aligns with business goals; and how it fits, at any moment with other elements in the interconnected supply chain.

By Mark T. Hoske October 1, 2002

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Do you sometimes get a feeling that you’re looking at your process but cannot really see what’s going on?

Internet technologies have enabled software tools that allow greater insight into how the process, manufacturing line, or batch interacts with other areas of enterprise; how it aligns with business goals; and how it fits, at any moment with other elements in the interconnected supply chain.

Today’s manufacturing challenges are many-global competition; price, cost, and time-to-market pressures; customer needs; customization pressure; outsourcing; quality and efficiency; and need to improve and connect business processes.

Many software tools aim to improve manufacturing productivity. Raw data can easily overwhelm users without providing the insight needed to make decisions to improve the plant or enterprise. Rather than simply collecting and viewing historical information, there’s a need to gather real-time data from many sources in the plant; combine and analyze it; and turn it into useful information, personalized for individual users.

A relatively new class of software shows key performance indicators for manufacturing, design, sales, logistics, or whatever needs monitoring. These tools, like a human-machine interface on steroids, can be rapidly customized to fit users’ needs and changing business goals.

Control Engineering presents webcasts on productivity

Control Engineering is working with four participants to do two webcasts focused on automation productivity. The webcasts are part of the Oct. 16 and 17 SupplyChainLinkExpo, an online tradeshow and conference. A Q&A session will follow each presentation; I’ll be moderating. Please join us. Find out more about the sessions and speakers; link to the wider effort; and access free event registration via

Oct. 16, 11 a.m. EST: ”Everything you need to know on one screen;” panelists advise on how to get the most from this software: Jamie Bohan, business manager for the Honeywell Industry Solutions Uniformance product line; Kevin Roach, vp, Global Solutions Business, GE Fanuc, part of GE Industrial Systems; and Chris Colyer, group industry marketing manager for manufacturing, Microsoft Corp.

Oct. 17, 2 p.m. EST:

Other presentations will include speakers from IBM, Segway, Unilever, Microsoft, 3M, JC Penney, and Amana.

Learn more and register at

Missed the Expo? The entire event will be archived and available for viewing online for three months. Go to or for more information.

Learn more from Oct. 16 and 17 webcasts accessible through

Mark T. Hoske, Editor-in-Chief
MHoske@cfemedia.com