You don't have to tell Bruno Kisala that automation and IT teams are increasingly being required to collaborate and, in some cases, struggling to do so. The managing director of the Automation Federation, has for the past several weeks, been hearing from members of his organization seeking to work with other manufacturers to develop best practices for enabling automation/IT collaboration.
"I have spoken with several individuals from member organizations about issues related to IT and automation collaboration," Kisala says. "Many people seem troubled about how to align these organizations. They see it as a problem."
The federation, an umbrella organization for manufacturing- and automation-related trade groups, is considering putting together a formal program to help manufacturers better manage automation/IT collaboration. Though the specifics of the program have yet to be worked out, Kisala says, the federation may co-sponsor a conference on the issue and/or launch a more formal effort to work with manufacturers to define the relative roles, responsibilities, and skill sets associated with IT and automation groups within the manufacturing enterprise.
"We're looking at defining the line between when you would expect to bring an IT professional into a situation and what skill sets those individuals would need to possess in order to work effectively in a plant floor environment," Kisala says. "Right now, there's no consistent understanding of what the scope of responsibility of IT and automation should be when it comes to projects like wireless or integrating a new sensor into a network. We hope to provide some guidelines around that."
Source: Editorial from the November 2007 issue of Managing Automation, Automation/IT Best Practices: Help May Be on the Way,by Jeff Moad, MA Editorial Staff