I’m on the road in Minneapolis this week. Three meetings yesterday, three today and two tomorrow. I’m already gathering lots of information about what technologies and strategies are at the top of engineers’ and managers’ lists right now. More later on that–and it will be reflected on how I structure coverage of the industry in the 2011 Automation World.

News around the manufacturing and automation industry

The Fieldbus Foundation has announced that an updated version of its Foundation Fieldbus technical specification is now available. The latest specification includes guidance supporting the development of fieldbus devices and host systems that employ advanced field diagnostics per the NAMUR NE107 recommendation, as well as support for the upcoming H1 Interoperability Test Kit (ITK) 6.0. Note the importance of diagnostics–that’s one of the trends discussed a couple of times yesterday.

Extreme Makeover–Metrics Style

Here’s one of those offers that you cannot refuse. MESA International is conducting a contest. Metrics drive business results. The Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA) International will help two production companies achieve those results with the launch today of its first “Metrics Makeover” contest. The winning companies—one each from North America and Europe—will be awarded with a complimentary consulting project focused on one of their most pressing metrics challenges.

Contest winners will receive a complimentary consulting engagement to demonstrate:

  • A better framework for bridging the gap between executive and operational decision making.
  • An improved business model that links financial and operational metrics
  • Recognition by MESA as a business and thought leader to the MESA community.

“Companies live and die with metrics,” says Julie Fraser, Principal Analyst at Cambashi and MESA Metrics Working Group Leader. “We understand how difficult it is to tie operational performance to business performance. So we’ve developed a one-of-a-kind strategy—the MESA Metrics Framework—to meet that challenge.”

The MESA Metrics Framework was developed over several years of industry study to address a challenging point in the enterprise where decision-making systems start to falter.

“Typically executives are not interested in individual transaction details or operational issues, but need business performance information to report to board members, creditors and stakeholders,” says Fraser. “The reality is, however, that such information needs to do double-duty, serving as the foundation to drive the operational metrics as well. The critical issue is how to prepare for tying those two frameworks together—and the Metrics Makeover is an opportunity to do just that.”

MESA International has assembled two teams of talented individuals to implement the Makeover. Each team has decades of Operations and Operations Management experience.  Additionally, they have participated in developing the Metrics Framework and contributed to the Metrics That Matter Guidebook, which will be used to assist the winner with their makeover.

The official entry form can be found here. Contest entry deadline is Monday, October 11, 2010 and winners will be announced at the MESA European Conference in Düsseldorf Germany, November 9-10 2010. Applicants must be premium members of MESA International.

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