What Have I Learned?

I have learned a lot today...the future of control is in understanding and controlling manufacturing theory. I said a while ago that people are breaking up "continuous processing" into batch-like segments and running them according to S88 principles. This is a complete reversal of what Lynn Craig found when he was first trying to figure out how to standardize batch production for Rohm and Haas, remember. Now, what does all this mean for the process automation professional? Plenty. First, the days of layoffs and no raises are over. Engineers, especially with some experience, are becoming again a sought after commodity. So don't leave, and now's the time to suggest your young relatives look into engineering as a profession. But process automation professionals can't live, any longer, in what Lynn Craig called "a world to suit ourselves, separated from business and operations concerns." Automation professionals who understand the processes on the plant floor and who understand how the business view works will be in serious demand. The DMZ between IT and plant floor will go away when the Process Automation Pro is named to head both departments. This is already going on, as I reported earlier this year. And it is easier to take a Plant IT guy and teach him enterprise IT than the reverse. Our Salary Survey, coming out in the June issue of CONTROL will show the beginnings of this trend.

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