MESA chair: Plant floor talent at 'center stage’

Could 2009 be a transformative year for manufacturing? At MESA International, we say, “Yes!” We suggest that it’s time for the shop floor – and its ability to make enterprise work processes more responsive and reliable – to get the attention it’s been lacking for so long.


Could 2009 be a transformative year for manufacturing? At MESA International, we say, “Yes!” We suggest that it’s time for the shop floor %%MDASSML%% and its ability to make enterprise work processes more responsive and reliable %%MDASSML%% to get the attention it’s been lacking for so long. After all, that’s where most of the value creation actually happens.

Sound like a pipe dream? Let’s look a little deeper...

Large-scale enterprise IT rollouts became possible largely because of IT’s long-term view of standards and their focus on implementation process rigor. Along the way, they learned how to create, justify, procure, implement and sustain large scale projects. The shop floor, on the other hand has been characterized by a tendency to “build it” and “fix it” at the lowest possible cost and with speed as the imperative, making standardization an elusive goal and process rigor a luxury few could afford.

These dynamics have influenced the evolution of two unique systems integration ecosystems %%MDASSML%% one that serves operations (plant-centric) and one that serves IT (business-centric). They operate in different realms, at very different price points.

There’s another small group of SIs focused on the operations management space between the shop floor and the enterprise, but few have been able to scale due to the differing dynamics of the two worlds they bring together, leaving us with too small of a community of these valuable partners.

We at MESA contend that for manufacturing to take a significant step forward in terms of productivity and cost competitiveness %%MDASSML%% in spite of, or perhaps because of, difficult economic times %%MDASSML%% all of the constituents in this landscape need to work together to better understand the complexities of the workflows on the shop floor and how technology must be applied to identify constraints, provide meaningful and standardized metrics, and dramatically cut costs.

The best practices of the enterprise players need to marry with the wealth of value uncovered and harnessed by the plant players for so many years, and we’re proposing that 2009 be the year when the plant floor finally arrives at center stage. The brightest minds of industry (yes, from operations and IT) and academia must join to focus their attention and budgets on this great challenge.

Perhaps the economic challenges we’re facing will prompt us to think differently, and to shine the spotlight on some of the less glamorous but high-value solutions that can consistently and dramatically cut costs, reduce waste and reshape our work processes to be more effective. MESA is the largest body of production and operations management thinkers and doers in the world, and there’s no organization better suited to facilitate this crucial dialogue.

Our board of directors has challenged our leadership teams to meet the challenges of 2009 with programs, materials and tools to show our membership ways to dramatically cut costs while improving productivity in manufacturing.

For more information on MESA International or to participate in our challenge visit and click on 'Get Involved’ or email .

John Dyck, Chairman of the Board
MESA International

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
Welding ergonomics, 2017 Salary Survey, and surge protection
2017 Top Plant winner, Best practices, Plant Engineering at 70, Top 10 stories of 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Setting internal automation standards
Knowing how and when to use parallel generators
PID controllers, Solar-powered SCADA, Using 80 GHz radar sensors

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me