MES/MOM Certification Benefits Everyone

Rockwell Automation's Global Technical Lead for MES recently got his MOM certification from MESA. Find out why he says this program is worthwhile for system integrators, MES vendors, and end users.

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As global technical lead at Rockwell Automation focused on MES/MOM, I have been working in the MES space for most of my career, including 16+ years at Rockwell. I mention this because despite my years of experience, I chose to get my MOM certification from MESA in February.

The certification program, officially titled “MESA MES/MOM Certificate of Competency” was spread over five days, each session lasting five hours. It covered nine courses from MESA on a range of topics including standards, governance, business case justification, project management, and more. Each course includes an “in test” to be completed in session and an “out test” to be completed after the sessions were over. My cohort included other MES vendors, systems integrators, and end users.

I gained the most benefit from the courses on standards. I was aware of the ISA-95 standard, but mostly tangentially. I have only ever considered the standard for creating a standards-based integration between the MES and ERP system. What I had not previously considered is using the standard as a framework for requirements. In the course “405: MES/MOM Governance, SRS, GAMP, and SDLC,” all the standards are used in the URS and FRS development activities to effectively organize those requirements.

With just a couple years of experience, Kevin Korsten at Atos took the opportunity to grow his MES knowledge. He found value in exposure to some of the more theoretical concepts he had not yet encountered in his MES practice. Conversely, Allan Møller Schmidt at Eltronic took the course as a refresher, having first taken it 10 years ago. Allan, Kevin, and I all agree, the course has good content, though attending virtually is not ideal. However, we still would recommend it.

I have my personal reasons for recommending it to my colleagues, systems integrators, and other MES vendors. Having everyone use the same language and possess common understanding of the standards, use cases, and the metrics can only benefit the greater good. I would especially recommend this to end user teams interested in starting an MES journey. 

The person or team that stands to gain the most from this training are those that are starting a digital MES journey. Every MES vendor’s product will have similar capabilities. Some will work better for discrete manufacturing, others for process-focused industries. Some will be tightly coupled to automated systems, while others are good for manual operations. By internalizing and capitalizing on the concepts in the program, MES project teams will be better prepared to work with and evaluate their short list of vendors. 

As a vendor, it is very frustrating to get a customer’s set of requirements that is simply a list of equipment or a network diagram but does not address the goals or problems the customer is facing. Without a common understanding, it will be very difficult for an evaluation team to compare vendor solutions. Take for example the scope of a project. I have often read through user requirements and identified items that are squarely in the scope of the ERP solution. Yes, it is possible to extend the MES to do such things, but it is not the right answer. A better understanding of the ISA-95 standard would help the project team to recognize that financial concerns should be left to the ERP—such as calculating the cost of scrap. The MES can provide the ERP with the amount of scrap, when it happened, who did it, what order was running, etc.; scrap cost concerns should be left to the ERP. 

If you are new to MES, if are you starting an MES journey, or if you just want to brush up on your terms and concepts, I encourage you to take the MES/MOM certification course. I am certainly glad I did. You can find this course and others at awgo.to/1174.

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