Save the WBF

May 11, 2009
If You Care About 21st-Century Manufacturing, Go to the Website and Join WBF. We Need the “How” as Much or More Than We Need the “Why”
This article was printed in CONTROL's May 2009 edition.
By Walt Boyes, Editor in chief

This is an unabashed commercial for WBF, once known as World Batch Forum, one of the first members of the Automation Federation, because it really needs our help.  WBF pioneered two technologies that are now ubiquitous in the manufacturing industries. Note, I said the manufacturing industries, not “the process  industries,” because WBF’s reach has grown substantially beyond its origins.

WBF began to teach the implementation of the S88 batch standard. Along the way, it became central to the development of the S95 enterprise control system integration standard and is the home of B2MML and BatchML, the widely used markup languages for batch and manufacturing.

In fact, WBF’s reach has become so broad that its mission, vision and tagline are being revised to reflect the real activities it supports and fosters—21st-century production technology.

WBF is the organization for production technologies. Nobody teaches this subject matter in school—you can’t find training for 21st-century manufacturing processes and procedures anywhere except WBF, OMAC and MESA. Just try getting this training in a university. All three organizations need your support, but WBF is central to all of them.
Why? Because WBF is uniquely about the “how.”

How do you create best-in-class workflow practices? How do you extend those practices across a global enterprise and make sure they are implemented in the same way everywhere? How do you benchmark best-in-class production strategies and implement them in coherent ways? How do you create a methodology for building a lean manufacturing environment, whether you’re in an oil refinery, a biopharma plant, a food plant or a steel mill? How do you create an enterprise wide training model for the 21st-century workforce?

You want to know how? You have to come to WBF for the answers, because that’s where they are.
WBF is the organization devoted to teaching the “how” of 21st-century manufacturing. Other organizations talk about “why” and give you the philosophical underpinnings and the conceptual framework, but WBF is where you find out from end users and vendor subject matter experts what actually works in the field, and how to adapt their experience to your project, your plant. 

The economic crisis has hit many small organizations hard, WBF among them. WBF isn’t holding its conference this year, but will be back next year when things are better. In the meantime, WBF’s website will have great information about the “how,” and it’s planning some web-based events for the rest of the year.  You can access a “members only” section where you can learn the “how.”

But there’s a serious cash flow problem here, as you might expect. This is where you come in.

If you’re involved or interested in the “how” for 21st-century manufacturing technology, go to the website and become a WBF member. The benefit, even without the annual conference, is far more than the cost, and you’re helping to save a valuable industry resource.

If you’re in a position to become a sponsor, please consider doing so. If you used to be a sponsor or member, please renew. And if you are already a sponsor, please consider an additional gift to WBF to assist with this temporary cash flow situation. Please support WBF—we need the “how” as much or more than we need the “why.”

If you want to know more, contact me, or Dr. Maurice Wilkins ([email protected]), WBF’s chairman. WBF needs YOU to step up now.