"Smart Manufacturing is the intelligent, real-time orchestration and optimization of business, physical and digital processes within factories and across the entire value chain."


 What is Smart Manufacturing?

 Article: The Smart Manufacturing Elevator Pitch, Literally!

 Breaking down the elements of this definition in 3 minutes.

 "Smart Manufacturing is the intelligent, real-time orchestration and optimization of business, physical and digital  processes within factories and across the entire value chain."


White Paper 52: "Smart Manufacturing - The Landscape Explained" 

This paper discusses the drivers, goals, opportunities and challenges related to the Smart Manufacturing roadmap for manufacturers. The paper also discusses initiatives by multiple organizations that bring together manufacturers, technologies and information systems, organizations like MESA (Manufacturing Enterprise Systems Association), the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), Industrie 4.0, and the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC), are working on initiatives to coordinate the convergence of technologies and realize the process improvement potential sooner rather than later.

Member Only White Paper:

Public Excerpt from White Paper:


Presentation: MESA 2016 unConference on Smart Manufacturing looklikesm.jpg

Take a peak of some of the ideas discussed on aspirations for the future of the connected manufacturing value chain. The consensus in this session was that lack of investment capital is not a major barrier. So... what are the real barriers?


 journeysm.jpgRecorded Presentation: "Smart Manufacturing - The Journey Ahead" 

 Here's a roadmap for manufacturers on how to get started on the journey to Smart Manufacturing.

  1. Review Business Structure for Future Market Strategy
  2. Establish Evolution Milestones for the Journey
  3. Nurture New Culture around New Vision 
  4. Build Partnerships to Support the New Vision
  5. Address Skills Gap for Knowledge Workers
  6. Evolve the Information Technology Infrastructure

Presentation link:

Article: How to Achieve Smart Manufacturing

The goals for a Smart Manufacturing infrastructure are set and the enabling building blocks are discussed including the need for adoption of standards for M2M, A2A, and B2B communications that allow secure Internet and cloud services connectivity, and new skills for the workforce that is going to establish and maintain these new infrastructures and business strategies.

Get involved in the MESA Smart Manufacturing Working Group 

Smart Manufacturing won't happen without people exchanging ideas and collaborating across the operations, automation and information technology ranks.  They're not simple discussions, but we're the right people to drive them, and we encourage you to join us.

More Articles on the Journey to Smart Manufacturing 

Article: Five Hurdles to Smart Manufacturing hurdlessm.jpg

The implementation of Smart Manufacturing information technology frameworks and applications will be essential to achieving the goals but obstacles to delivering the vision include: 

1. Data contextualization

2. Underfunded and overwhelmed IT: 

3. Change Management practices

4. Legacy IT and OT separation

5. Disparate silo systems

Article: "Smart Manufacturing Isn't So Smart Without Standards"

Communications and messaging standards spur the adoption of new technologies, products and manufacturing methods. Standards allow a more dynamic and competitive marketplace, without hampering the opportunity to differentiate. Development of standards reduces the risks for enterprises developing and implementing solutions to accelerate adoption of new manufactured products and manufacturing methods. Several contributors from NIST (National Institute of Standards) give us a summary of the state of standards needed to support Smart Manufacturing initiatives.

Article: "Smart Manufacturing and the Continuing Need for MES"

The phrase "smart manufacturing" has been heard everywhere this past year, and has become part of every discussion related to manufacturers' need for a manufacturing execution system (MES) or manufacturing operations management (MOM). Some might be under the impression that smart manufacturing has done away with the need for MES to support the coordination of operations processes, but this article discusses why that is not necessarily the case.


Article: "How 'Smart' are We in Manufacturing Today?"

A prior article discussed that Smart Manufacturing is not very "smart" if not using communication standards to connect equipment, people and processes in the manufacturing enterprise. This article discusses the reality of adoption of integration standards in manufacturing based on a MESA and IDC Manufacturing Insights survey. The survey was sent to both manufacturers and vendors that provide equipment and software to manufacturing, and the results are shared below.


Article: "A Checklist for Cybersecurity in Industrial Internet of Things"

To realize the vision of Smart Manufacturing and Industrial IoT (IIoT) organizations recognize that information created by connecting industrial control systems to the enterprise business systems is achieving greater visibility into their operations, all helping to make significant operational improvements.  These initiatives require seamless and secure flow of information from the machines and equipment, to the lines, to the people, to the plants, and to the enterprise levels.  This article discusses the challenges and approaches being worked by several industry consortia groups to tackle this convergence and connected enterprise.


Article: "Why and How to Use Production Process Management in Smart Manufacturing"

Business processes in today's typical manufacturing environment is, at best, full of information gaps.  Within the major enterprise level systems such as ERP or PLM most processes are based or focused on departmental issues which means the processes are not cross-functional. Business Process Management (BPM) and workflow solutions are a missing link to support Smart Manufacturing across the enterprise.


Case Studies: Check out any of these Smart Story Awards entries! Enter your story anytime in 2016.