Time to Wrestle, Not Dance Around the Need for a MOM Implementation Standard

"The art of life is more like the wrestler's art than the dancer's." The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (reigned from 161 AD to 180 AD) was perhaps the only true philosopher-king in the history of the world. He formulated his pantheist Stoic beliefs with a passionate religious conviction. He shared the basic Stoic belief in the divinity of the cosmos as an intelligent being with a soul and stressed (perhaps too fatalistically) the harmony of all things (or lack thereof)and the importance of resigning oneself to whatever happened. I've always thought that he meant that you've got to meet the unexpected head-on, grapple with it (like a wrestler), rather than try to tiptoe around it (for the sake of political advantage or status quo). This is how I view where we are today with ISA-88 and 95. In 2008, we are tiptoeing around the obvious changes and challenges to preserve the 1990 status quo and politics of the first generation of automation after paper and relay electronics. In the 1990s, when the standards were started and conceived, the developers were putting forth the first draft efforts to organize batch manufacturing systems and the business-to-manufacturing interfaces in the process industries and make-to-stock big batch. The committees correctly saw that much of their work was applicable (and still is) to discrete and hybrid batch industries, but failed to recognize, directly seek out and include more than a token representative in the drafting process from the discrete and hybrid batch industries. I am sure I will get some debate on this, but the fact is the primary contributors, authors and reviewers of 95% of the material are from the big batch and process industries. So now that ALL TYPES of manufacturing are having to go global and figure out their version of the pull supply chain, even process and big batch industries are having to create discrete workflows for single-order fullfilment. What that means is that the discrete and hybrid industries are EITHER requiring their vendors to build a custom application implementation or data model based on the 95 B2M data model and/or 88 batch application data model OR building the custom 95/88 implementation model themselves. Why? Because these manufacturers want what the process and big batch already have in their 90's DCSs. -- a single-plant model to take across their plants to make the interfaces, reports and analytics consistant, repeatable, accurate and last but not least, configurable as opposed to custom. Note though, that to accomplish this, process and big batch manufacturers' sold their plants' souls to a DCS vendor and standardized on a vendor implementation model and not an open-standard model. So where are we? ISA95 is still an interface or data exchange model that is predominately controlled by big batch and process vendors and consultants with a few end-user heros. The discrete and hybrid batch industries like the 95 models, but want Part 4 to be an implementation model. This will not happen unless those companies actually participate and draft it. Otherwise the configurable world for these industries is 15 years off, and a new standards committee has to be formed to do this work utilizing a new group of authors/engineers from those industries. So get used to the hight cost of custom, inflexible systems. Adaptive manufacturing is still a buzz word for your industries for a long time.

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