LNS Principal Analsyt, Andrew Hughes details the opportunity created for MOM apps by the IIoT.
Here at LNS Research we have been covering the Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) market for the last six years and have witnessed a considerable change in the manufacturing software industry. MOM has been a crucial part of the industrial software stack that is defined by the ISA-95 standard and depicted in the diagram below. MOM is the bridging point between operations and business systems, the place where Operational Technology (OT) and IT converge.
The MOM industry has matured significantly over the last decade, and there has been considerable consolidation with some of the bigger vendors acquiring more than one smaller MOM vendor. Despite this, there is still a dynamic market for the smaller MOM suppliers that were the backbone of the industry for the majority of its 30 plus years.
There are many reasons why many small independent MOM vendors have survived:
- They are cost effective
- They provide a personalized service
- They serve a specific vertical market
This last point leads to two important considerations – with specialized software for your industry, you also get domain expertise from the vendor, and generic solutions do not necessarily fit every market need. Large vendors who sell control systems into many different markets want to be able to deliver MOM solutions that meet all their clients’ needs. They claim compliance with ISA-95 will allow them to provide all the MOM functionality across a wide range of subjects. However, there are unquestionably some industries where specialist capabilities are required, for instance, aerospace, defense and metals processing. In the past world of MOM, the only way to address these requirements are to have the right people and to deliver specialist apps. This scenario has undoubtedly benefitted many smaller MOM suppliers over long periods
The IIOT is changing MOM
When LNS Research started out on its MOM research, it was treated almost separately to the nascent Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platforms. Now it is practically inconceivable to discuss MOM without considering the broader environment in which it is designed and implemented. Some key changes affecting MOM and its architecture:
- IIOT apps are using plant data
- Enterprise-wide use of control data
- MOM apps running at different levels in the operational structure
- New standards are emerging for MOM in an IIoT world (More on this in my next blog.)
Those that already have MOM systems in one or more plants may see it as a great starting point for an IIoT and digital transformation journey. They can create a platform for IIOT apps that can use MOM data, can connect to new data sources via internet and perhaps can augment MOM functionality with IIoT apps.
Those that do not have MOM systems and are considering a digital transformation journey should think how they will implement MOM functionality in their new digital world. The key is to define a corporate operational architecture based on the needs and the long-term goals, and then to implement some small projects to demonstrate feasibility and profitability.
Industrial enterprises that are defining new strategic goals and operational architecture at a corporate level will have very different investment focus than those just considering a MOM solution. Operations leaders need to get involved to ensure that sufficient importance is paid to manufacturing data and control in the overall architecture and early transformation projects. The arrival of smart devices on the shop floor, apps at the IIoT platform level and broader networking across the enterprise and beyond are all big goals that can overwhelm those trying to push for MOM functionality to deliver small gains on the shop floor.
LNS Research has defined the seven lives of MOM which show different levels of technical complexity and transition towards the IIoT. Level 1 assumes no MOM or paper-based manufacturing execution while level seven believes that we have reached full integration between MOM and the digital enterprise with, to all intents, no discernible difference between MOM apps and other IIoT apps.
This future state is still some way off, but it is essential to consider how you are going to get there. The ebook The Impact of IIOT on MOM solutions was one of our first forays into this journey. As we move towards level 7 of MOM, we will look at standards, integration and where the MOM market is going to satisfy the needs of the digital enterprise. Although we may be predicting the demise of MOM as a stand-alone solution, the opportunities for MOM vendors and the manufacturers that implement the solutions are exciting and varied.