Tales from the front: MESA conference attendees share business transformation stories

This year's MESA International conference was highlighted by real-world stories of manufacturers using plant-level information to transform their businesses.

09/20/2007


This year's MESA International conference was highlighted by real-world stories of manufacturers using plant-level information to transform their businesses.

Stories like this are why MESA officials came to the event with a new set of guidelines for connecting plant-level systems with higher-level business applications, according to Matt Bauer, the organization's executive director.

Bauer said new collaborative MES model reflects an industry wide movement toward broader system connectivity. 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.

The MESA Plant-to-Enterprise conference was held this week in Fla.

Speakers included Evan L Hand, Jr., senior project engineer of controls and data communication for Sara Lee Food and Beverage, who noted that that control integration and infrastructure improvements represent more than 50 percent of typical MES project implementation costs.

From PLC and operator interface modifications to addressing data accuracy and system security, it's clear that when it comes to creating a successful MES implementation, you've got to get the data right at its source, Hand said.

One company that did that is UPCO, Inc ., a Claremore, OK-based manufacturer of oilfield products. Over a six-year period, this company transformed itself from a “troubled, cash-starved” company into the winner of a Manufacturing Leadership Award from the Governor of Oklahoma. By taking a data-centric approach to process improvement, and by creating a positive and rewarding environment for its employees, UPCO has dramatically increased both sales and revenue.





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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

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