Workflows are structured activities primarily involving human-to-human or human-to-machine interactions, all directed toward the realization of profitable operations without compromising safety, reliability and consistency. Yet workflow technology is starting to move from a purely IT domain practice into the manufacturing operations management (MOM) domain as defined by ISA-95.

So asserts MESA International, Chandler, Ariz., a global community of manufacturers, producers and solution providers focused on improving operations management. To help its members understand this changing working environment, MESA released Whitepaper #32 to educate members on approaches available to leverage workflow-enabled technologies.

Charlie Gifford, Chair of the MESA/ISA-95 Best Practices Working Group and one of the paper's authors noted, "Bill Gates was quoted as saying 'The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.' His point is especially true in production operations, and that’s why MESA is at the forefront of documenting the challenges, approaches, methodologies and best practices to drive value in this area."

The paper explores the globalization and organizational challenges associated with the introduction of workflow technology into MOM.

Offered through the organization's online resources library (membership or purchase required), the paper also will be published in a best practices collection by ISA, "Book 2.0, When Worlds Collide in Manufacturing Operations."