Have global manufacturing made volunteer-based standards groups obsolute?

April 12, 2009

As North America has exported over 5 million manufacturing jobs oversea during the last 15 years and manufacturing went from 30% of US GDP to 10%.  Volunteer based standards organization have lost their corporate support and consequently, funding and knowledgable resources.  The current dedicated resources to keeping the OPEN O&M standards are an aging group with litte new resources or corporate support.  Many end users and vendors say vendors are responsible for industry standards now.  However, vendors are not supporting them either in practical application or process.

As with  most religions, standards have differing implementation approaches, orthodox and best practice.  MOM standards are evolving too slowing to the world economy, new mfg forms and new IT technologies.  I believe that the volunteer approach to standards is now broken and dated.  We need real government and/or industry leadership sn funding to move to a platform or cloud computing SOA architecture or similar forward.  My belief is that most standards organizations at this time are only getting it partially right but none them adequately work out their needs or differences due to lack of resources and political affiliations with vendors.  Many automation and IT vendors defend dated practices and their dated installed bases of legecy technologies which is the power base they are strongly protecting.  Like with failed banks from failed business models, the current lack of leadership is bailing out and supporting failed vendor approaches and architectures for a least a generation or two until the management that approved them and politically supported die and retire.  Then change can occur.  The average age in most western manufacturing plants and management is in the 50s.  So in 15 years, change will be able to occur.  Otherwise, the SOA for mfg business case will not be heard by current end user management.  Of course, there are 10% exceptions.

The group that actually seems to be winning is the anti-standards group who only want to sell better IT development and integration tools and accept that common data models can never be practically applied in real world manufacturing since it is boiling the ocean.  The Ocean needs to be boiled off for the current dogma die and a new intelligent manufacturing-based economy to be born that can actually grow the globally economy.  I belief that the current generation of automation and MES systems are actually barriers to global economic growth since they were designed for the 20 century make-to-stock continental manufacturing form.