Peer-to-Peer or Hierarchical?

The Purdue 5-layer model has been serving manufacturing IT for decades. Is it obsolete?

The Purdue 5-layer model has been serving manufacturing IT for decades. Is it and the hierarchical data flow it suggests obsolete? Will peer-tol-peer data flows based on IIoT rule?

Should information flows be hierarchical up and down from “top floor to shop floor”? Or in today’s connected world are they more peer-to-peer?

My answer: A bit of both.

In an LNS Research blog post, “IIoT will Change Our View of CIM”, Dan Miklovic argues that the Purdue model is dated.

I agree. It also makes me smile to recall the other times that Dan has challenged a model, such as when MESA first introduced its very first 11-block model. He predicted that the model would not stick. You could argue that result either way – it did stick, and long beyond the organization and some of the solution provider members wanted it to as MESA changed it a few times since then.

It also makes me giggle that both of us have recently pulled out the term CIM or Computer-Integrated Manufacturing – which pegs us as old-timers in this industry. I included the CIM Wheel in my webcast presentation Delivering Innovation: Bringing A Vision to Reality).

But I digress.

Are hierarchical information flow models outmoded?

I see how today’s technology means you can now access what you need in a peer-to-peer fashion. Beyond the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), there are also ways to feed data into an analytics platform or search other applications from a broader collaboration platform where applications connect to feed their data.

And I can also see that there is still a need for aggregation and context-creation for each level of the Purdue model. Those who have tried to use plant floor, and particularly level 1-2 data in an ERP or supply chain system can typically attest – it does not necessarily work well. Just because you can access the information does not mean you can interpret it correctly for broader decision-making and insight development.

So as with the previous prediction, I’d say Dan has a point. But he’s perhaps taken too broad a swipe at knocking down something that’s served manufacturing industries well for decades.

Time to update and refresh? You bet!

Will peer-to-peer or IIoT make hierarchical data flows and aggregation obsolete? No. I’d say they will provide an additional opportunity for workflows and rich timely information sets.

In some instances, the direct access will work perfectly well. In many others, the system at each level will need to collate and make sense of its own data for other levels to use it effectively.

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