In our recently published eBook on Digital Transformation with MES, LNS Research introduced the concept of MOM 4.0. This will come as no surprise to regular readers of LNS Research as we already have APM 4.0, Quality 4.0, and EHS 4.0. In this blog, and in subsequent posts and research papers, we will look at what MOM 4.0 is, the journey to achieve it, and the benefits of doing so.
Industry 4.0 denotes the fourth industrial revolution, one that has been developing over the last few years as many new technologies are maturing bringing with them the opportunity to improve the world of manufacturing across the enterprise and the life cycle of its products. Much of this technology is brought together in Industry 4.0 and other large initiatives such as Smart Manufacturing and Digital Transformation via Internet of Things Platforms that will be the key to the interoperability that will deliver value.
However, LNS Research feels that the success of journey to Digital Transformation will be down to the people more than technology or process.
What is MOM 4.0?
The current world of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) or Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) (We will not attempt to differentiate between the two here) is mostly controlled and executed by plant engineering. In the future, we see that MES systems will become critical parts of any IIOT platform. The gradual integration of the operational technology (OT) of the plant and the Information technology (IT) used by enterprise systems will take us from legacy monolithic MES systems to a new paradigm where most MES functionality will be delivered as IIOT apps. This is the seventh and last life of MOM – MOM 4.0, where there is no real MOM, just the functions you need to run a plant and integrate it into the enterprise and beyond.
Making MOM 4.0 a Success
One of the main risks along the Digital Transformation journey is the potential for technology overload– there are so many new technologies that everyone wants to take advantage. Some of the favorites are analytics, Artificial Intelligence(AI), and of course cloud storage. However, those new technologies could cause friction as the OT engineers are already aware of some of the strengths of plant software and automation such as comprehensive connectivity. This has been around for decades; connectivity is not just OPC UA but also all the individual protocols supported by data historians and MES systems that make a control system that has grown organically over decades.
To make the journey to MOM 4.0, you need to have a plan, the right people, and the necessary resources. The recent eBook looks at MOM as a starting point for Digital Transformation but does not expect anyone to go straight to a MOM 4.0 system (The small issue that none exist today might explain that). Success will come from small steps that deliver benefit to the leaders that are sponsoring the program and provide a route to the next steps. For example, an MES system that collects detailed production and performance data from a production line can, when managed in a an IIOT platform, be used for many tasks that require data from beyond a single plant: comparing plant performance, delivering real plan versus actual information, giving trustable input to an enterprise quality system.
In later research on the journey to MOM 4.0, we will look in more detail at what is required to achieve Digital Transformation and incorporate MOM 4.0 concepts. For now, take the path we outline in the eBook to jump start your Digital Transformation:
Create a digital leadership team. We are seeing that many companies are creating a "digital leadership" role such as Chief Digital Officer or Head of Digital Transformation. These leaders, with top management support, are bringing together IT, OT, and business people to make coordinated decisions about solutions such as MES. In the past, these would have been taken independently but are now becoming part of the bigger digital journey.
Plan MES over some plants. Involve plant leaders, supervisors, and operators, preferably across more than one plant to define the initial MES steps that will drive immediate value.
Ensure that leadership evangelizes continuously.
Note that our recommendations are all about people. The technology and the technical tools will continue to improve over the coming years – success will remain with the people.