Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Where 1 + 1 can equal 3!

The Transformation of MESA and WBF.

The fundamentals of MESA's strategy are: Relevance to the Enterprise; Defining the Real Time Operations Space through Education, Certification, World Class Content, and Networking; and Growing MESA membership and revenue. The recent merger between MESA and WBF is explained in a recent communication to the MESA community from Chairman John Southcott.
There were several drivers for the merger, all of them positive and leading to an even better merged organisation.

First, MESA and WBF have the same target audience, the real-time operations space, but each had a different focus. MESA's focus was broad content, education, and certification. WBF's focus was on promoting the best practices for various ISA standards, ISA 88 Batch, ISA 95 MES, ISA 99 Security, and others. MESA and WBF had similar end users and sponsors, with MESA having more discrete manufacturing companies and WBF having more process industry companies. The combined organization now covers the full range of industrial companies; and can even be used in other industries because the best practices and world-class content can help any company that is trying to improve its operations and increase its productivity.

A second driver was the fact that both organisations were at an inflection point and were defining their strategy for moving forward. MESA has embarked on an education initiative, focused on developing world-class MES/MOM professionals across a range of industries globally. WBF had, as some had said "solved the batch problem" and was expanding into the MOM/MES, Security, and Procedural Automation areas. Both organisations had met their original goals, but realised that there was much more that could, and should, be done to bring best practices and knowledge to its members. The future directions of both organisations aligned in a perfect match for a merged organisation.

There was also a practical reason for the merger, both MESA and WBF have been using the same support organisation, and using the organisation in the same way. MESA and WBF needed to run their businesses better, and a merger just made good business sense.

MESA and WBF were both in the process of embracing the "voice of the customer." Our customers were demanding to know the technologies and best practices that they need to compete, and they were demanding to know the business values and benefits that they could expect to achieve. The new MESA is the one place they can go to get this vendor-independent, high value, reviewed and verified information.

He sees several significant benefits our members will receive as a result of the merger:

Education: The addition of WBF experts in ISA 88 Batch and ISA 99 Security will allow the new MESA to develop certification programs. If you want to help share your experience with others, please consider volunteering to help develop and review new educational material and certification programs.
Standards Development: WBF's B2MML, Business to Manufacturing Markup Language, is the industry standard for ERP to MES integration. The WBF XML technical committee has been merged into the MESA technical committee and will be releasing a new version shortly that incorporates the latest additions to the ISA 95 standard.

Content: WBF brings hundreds of papers, from 15 years of conferences, and 4 books into MESA. This content represents some of the industry's best practices and provides a valuable source of intellectual property with great value to our members.

Networking: The new MESA will also provide conferences and professional networking opportunities that you cannot get anywhere else. You can talk to other users with similar problems and with other solutions. You can talk to users about their different vendor experiences, and vendors can demonstrate their solutions to a wide range of end users. The connections you make at the conferences, and mini-conferences (such as the Day 0 event at the recent OSISoft user conference and the planned one-day session at the Yokogawa user group meeting), will help you learn from the successes, and mistakes, of other MESA members.

"We are confident that the pooling of our collective energy and resources is a win-win for all members and for the future of the organization," concluded John Southcott.  "Simply put, our vision and our strategy can be better achieved together than apart. The new MESA organisation is the place for learning from others and sharing what we know.

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