EIF 2017 - MESA Workshop - Digital Thread and Supply Chain Collaboration

By Valentijn de Leeuw

Company and Product News

In May, ARC Advisory Group has hosted its European Industry Forum (EIF) in the Meliã Hotel Sitges in Spain. The European Industry Forum is part of ARC’s successful series of worldwide conferences in the USA, India, China, and Japan.

In the course of the forum, ARC Advisory Group and MESA organized a co-moderated workshop. Two main topics were covered: Digital Thread and Supply Chain Collaboration.

Digital Thread

The digital thread is the seamless and consistent use of digital models and operations throughout the asset lifecycle and the order production cycles. The digital thread in the process was discussed in detail: starting with process simulation for conceptual design, the information is transferred to front end and detail engineering and ideally, after commissioning and qualification, send to operations and maintenance to contribute to an up-to-date accurate digital model of the asset, providing a basis for decision making. Ideally the automation configuration is transferred via an open standard (NAMUR NE 150) to the control system. Up to now MES applications are not (or only partially) derived from the available asset and design information, but this should be a goal for the future.

In the discussion, process simulation was mentioned as a tool for maintenance, operations and supply chain decisions, provided the model is suited for the task and updated to the current asset state. Asset information can form a good basis for decision making in operations and maintenance, providing an opportunity for optimization and risk management. There was no consensus about the use of standards. Some participants preferred flexibility and fewer standards, others preferred standards to guarantee a common language and make exchanges more efficient.

Supply Chain Collaboration

In supply chain collaboration, the workshop participants first discussed the potential impact of new business models and new entrants to the industry and the impact of performance-based contracts. New business models such as performance-based contracts are gradually becoming a more accepted practice. The definition of a metric can have dramatic effects on the cost for the owner and the behavior of the provider. The discussion then focused on the willingness, the risks, and benefits of cross-enterprise data exchanges. In some cases, data exchange is mandatory, for example for traceability reasons, in other cases, data quality can be negotiated between vendor and user, and the possibility exists to share data among industrial users, in aggregated form.

Many subjects remained undiscussed, and ARC takes this as a signal to propose another MESA workshop in 2018!


In May 2018, ARC will host its European Industry Forum (EIF) again. For further details, please contact your Client Manager or email ablech@arcweb.com.

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