Face-to-Face Energizing Info Flows

MESA 2014 ROI unConference

MESA’s unConference sessions sparked new questions and fostered broader learning.

Business travel can be a grind. Yet I am always energized by being face-to-face with others who care about information flows in manufacturing.

There is something beyond the pure facts that we convey in being present with each other. Human beings need and feed off of each others’ energy. I often remember things I learned face-to-face better than those I learned in on-line or phone discussions.

At the MESA International North American Conference and IndustryWeek Best Plants event, people shared their experience. The speakers I heard were excellent, inspirational, and truly brought some best practices.

The MESA unConference sessions were led by working group team leaders, and exposed some of the new questions that are arising as we learn together. These sessions focused on

  • recipe management across the supply chain led by Erik Nistad of Mondelez (formerly Kraft’s snack business) who heads up MESA’s Enterprise Recipe Transformation Working Group and Mike Williams, formerly of Dow Chemicals; this group recently published the first of several white papers
  • information technology priorities led by Rob Gellings of Maverick Technologies and MESA’s President Mike Yost; this discussion will feed into MESA’s decisions about initiatives for the year
  • performance metrics led by Matt Littlefield of LNS Research and John Jackiw of Alta Via Consulting who heads up MESA’s Metrics Working Groups; these groups with LNS Research just published the latest study
  • ROI and building a business case led by my long-time buddy Darren Riley of DELMIA Apriso, who heads up the MESA ROI Working Group which released the ROI and Business Case Guidebook during the conference

Much of my time there I was in one-on-one meetings with attendees about their companies and their needs, introducing them to MESA International. MESA’s foundation is the group of members who share experience and best practices with each other. Sharing the opportunity to build a global network of peers was appealing to many of the people I met with. The challenges that manufacturers face today are daunting, and people want all the tools they can muster – including other people to share knowledge with and document best practices.

A highlight for me was when David Gaylord of Johnson Controls Power Solutions delivered his case study. He and his team are building on success by using MESA’s best practices and what he and the team learned in the MESA Global Education Program. It’s gratifying to know smart people really do use best practices to good effect!

Two weeks after these events, I can look back and realize even more value. That infusion of energy from being at the event and talking to such a variety of people has propelled new ideas, and kept me focused on what matters. People.

We implement information systems in business so that people’s lives are better. The lives of the employees using the systems, the customers of the products, those working for suppliers… When the manufacturing community comes together, progress ensues! Thanks to each and every person I met there! Let us all be energized knowing all of the good work going on out there!

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