Aren’t standards a great thing?

People, companies and industry are always looking to standard organisations to define a common language to facilitate communication. Since the turn of the century, the ANSI/ISA-95/IEC62264 standard has dominated the world of MES/MOM. ISA 95 is made up of a set of MOM activities, underpinned with data structures and interface definitions (B2MML). Despite some shortcomings, adoption of the ISA 95 standard has been widespread, which can’t be said of other standards and/or technologies.

Over the last 2 years, we have been involved in several additive manufacturing innovation projects. These projects rely on design to manufacture, and manufacture to maintain end-to-end processes. To meet the requirements of these projects, we had to convert the traditional horizontal architectures to vertical processes (as suggested by Industry 4.0). This made me question the future of the ISA 95 standard and how standards inhibit innovation. What has the beloved ISA 95 standard done wrong? Standards provide a level of comfort by drawing clear lines and boundaries, they do not ask “What if..?”

What if the Product Production Rule (PPR) is too fixed, too complex, too specific, isn’t linked to ‘product’ and lacks the intelligence afforded by the term ‘Rule’? I know this is too detailed and most people have never heard of a PPR, but it shows how standards sometimes go unchallenged until a new technology, such as Additive Manufacturing, questions the status quo.

Is there a better way? We think so, and it’s worth trying.

At the start of most MOM/MES projects we map the business process using BPMN to document the processes. This gives us the structure and hooks to hang the business and system requirements upon. Combining the challenges of the additive manufacturing processes with our knowledge of mapping requirements, prompted us to ask, What if… those diagrams where executable? What if… we can make dynamic decisions based on manually entered data as well as data from other systems and equipment? What if… we ignored the ISA 95, the ERP static routing, the PLM processes?

What if we Mapped the Business -> Shaped the Task -> Played the Process? What if those end-to-end processes were made available anywhere in the world on any device?

This is exactly what we have done with SODA Play. SODA Play is a SaaS offering from SODA Labs. It uses the latest internet technologies to deliver a simple, effective way to run your business.

By shifting our thinking, we have now produced a service that not only runs manufacturing processes such as additive and conventional manufacturing, but can run the HR, finance and marketing departments in any industry.

There is no limit to the processes SODA Play can handle. We recommend you start simple, establish control, then look to improve your processes. Not only will you see your business improve, you will make your auditors very happy.

Best Regards,

Martin Kelman

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