Citect and the future

I've written a lot about Iconics and their modular, "Extreme Distributed Control" model. Iconics isn't alone. There is also Citect. Citect is another example of "The World is Flat" being right on the money. Tom Friedman's book, which you should all immediately run out and buy if you want to survive the coming decade, points out that it is no longer necessary to be in North America or Europe to create a world class company. Citect is another example of this. Born in Australia, in the SCADA industry, Citect has transformed itself into a world-class automation control software company. Like the other worldclass automation supplier from Australia, Elpro Technologies, unless you know that Citect's headquarters are in New South Wales, you'd never figure it out from their software, their support, or their worldwide staff. And that's the point. Citect is headed by Richard Webb, a recent acquisition from the dotcom world. Webb developed the widest, best used web statistics software package, and then sold it to AC Nielsen and joined Citect. It is another example of the new, flat world that Webb (an American expat in Australia) created the biggest web statistics company in Australia, and if you ask most dotcommers even today, they'd probably not know that. It doesn't matter. In the United States, Citect retrenched for a few years, but under the leadership of Darren Trumeter, they've been having something of a renaissance. And last week at ARC, they announced an extremely interesting and important breakthrough. An MES project that worked, on time, and under budget. Let me say that again, with bells and whistles: AN MES PROJECT THAT WORKED, ON TIME AND UNDER BUDGET! In January, Energizer selected Citect to implement a Real-Time Performance Management (RTPM) solution. The CitectIIM solution is being implemented in one of its alkaline battery plants with plans to be rolled out at additional plants within the year. Citect was chosen from six leading manufacturing execution system (MES) providers after an intense evaluation process. Energizer deemed the Citect solution to have the best architecture and flexibility to meet its needs. The initial project includes CitectIIM Performance - including Downtime, Production and Metrics modules. The modules are designed to provide a continuous improvement platform for optimizing manufacturing efficiency within Energizer's Alkaline Battery Division. The original project was to be a pilot. It was to run for a number of months in one plant, and then Energizer was supposed to do an evaluation. Well, less than half way through the trial, Energizer decided they'd seen enough and now plan to roll the Citect solution out in all their battery plants. I couldn't talk about this project for a while, having signed a nondisclosure agreement, but we'll cover this story from Energizer's point of view (the end users' thought processes count more with us than the vendors' statements) in our August issue. Wayne Labs, our Contributing Editor is working on this story. What is important here, however (sorry, Darren, but it's true) isn't that Citect got a big order, but that Citect's work is proof of what we've all been saying for years...that there would come a time when we would really learn how to integrate the enterprise from the manufacturing floor to the ERP system, and that it would pay huge dividends. I expect to see a whole raft of successful projects now, not just from Citect, but from lots of others. In fact, several were talked about at ARC, including a combined SAP/Wonderware (where is the ghost of Allen Yurko...BAAN anyone???) project for Arla Foods in Denmark. This is cool stuff, folks, because it is showing that the integrated enterprise works, and we've developed the language to talk about it...and it was the process control and automation folks that did it, not the ERP and IT folks. Walt