"Supply Chain Management (SCM) tools connect the purchasing of raw materials with final product sales," says Donald Cruse, a principal consultant with COPESUL in Porto Alegre, Brazil. "The trend is to bridge each company’s internal SCM tools with its suppliers’ SCM tools. For example, when an olefins processor plans its naphtha purchases from a refinery, it would like to know in advance the raw material quality and quantity," adds Cruse.
The olefins processor is the end user for the naphtha purchased by the refinery. The ultimate measure of naphtha quality is not some intermediate temperature or pressure measurement, but the satisfaction of the olefins processor with that particular batch of naphtha.
This type of product use analysis is complex, but the ultimately its value is great. "Suppliers and purchasers will have to work closer to increase the value chain in the SCM process. SCM systems required detailed knowledge of physical and commercial processes. Detailed issues need to be resolved for these systems to add true and accurate value" continues Cruse.
"The industry needs to identify and bridge supply chain gaps in order to benefit both the supplier and purchaser. This SCM issue is fairly new in the process industry and companies such as Optience (www.optience.com
), i2 (www.i2.com
), Aspentech (www.aspentech.com
), Invensys (www.invensys.com
), and Honeywell (www.honeywell.com
) are trying to address this challenge with exisiting and newer solutions," concludes Cruse.Real-Time Performance Management
If you’re not using RPM (real-time performance management) as part of a collaborative production management system, you could be losing the edge in today’s competitive markets. According to the ARC Advisory Group (www.arcweb.com
), RPM systems allow companies to optimize their entire enterprise by improving asset and resource utilization.
Databases are the engines that power RPM, and the information gleaned from these databases can be taken a step beyond formulating business strategy. "In the past," says Matt Bothe, an automation/validation consultant in Douglassville, Pa., "these databases were used to provide trends in parameter behavior for troubleshooting or maintenance purposes. Many companies are now applying these databases as real-time decision-making tools to adjust production rates, as well as for process improvement.
"Model-predictive and model-free adaptive control methods, for example, make use of historical data to identify models for both continuous and highly non-linear and batch control applications. In the biopharm industry, a relatively new concept, Process Analytical Technology, has begun to see increasing application for improvement of process operations and quality control," adds Bothe.
RPM systems change the way people work by providing information to make decisions at the best point in the process. According to Rashesh Mody, Wonderware’s (www.wonderware.com
) chief technology officer, RPM fosters collaboration and notification among multiple facilities and partners, including engineering and production teams. It means notifying people proactively and getting the right information to the right person with the right security, at the right time, in the right context, and for the right actions.
Smart Phones Conquer Mobile Computing
1. The process control engineer's changing role
2. All-in-one architecture
3. Software licensing fees increase for large systems and decrease for small
4. Information centralization (data centers accessed via ASPs)
5. PC-based control & HMIs
6. Ethernet invasion
1. Web servers everywhere
2. Remote access via browsers
3. Path-to-profitability (P2P) replaces B2B
4. Ethernet everywhere
6. PC-based control and HMIs
7. Rent software via ASPs
8. Smart instruments
9. Open systems
10. Plant floor/ERP integration
If it moves and if it computes, smart cell phones can do it now or will do it soon. The cell phone market’s economies of scale are so dominating that smartphones will simply bulldoze all competitors in their path to become the portable computing device of choice for billions of users worldwide.
Mobile phone sales to consumers topped 510 million units in 2003 and will exceed 560 million units in 2004, according to the big three research groups that track mobile phones, the world's biggest consumer electronics market: Gartner Dataquest (www.gartner.com
), IDC (www.idc.com
), and Strategy Analytics (www.strategyanalytics.com
Smartphones, which feature calendars, email, pictures, music and other services in one device, were one of the fastest growing new categories. Worldwide shipments for 2003 rose 182% to 9.6 million devices.
A great example of a technology likely to soon be displaced by smartphones are MP3 players like Apple’s iPod. Users download songs to the device and listen to the stored MP3 music files via headphones. Although just introduced, the writing is already on the wall for the technology.