A Center of Excellence is the Path to Superior Manufacturing Operations

A Center of Excellence is the Path to Superior Operational Performance

While having its roots in manufacturing, the Center of Excellence (CoE) is more often associated with either academic or IT practice. The Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute (SEI), also known as the originator of the capability maturity model (CMM), formalized the CoE concept based on work done throughout the US Federal government. With today’s continued investment in digital transformation initiatives and the blurring of lines between IT and OT systems, manufacturers are seeing new value in establishing a Center of Excellence to optimize how manufacturing operations are managed and digital programs are executed.

From an IT perspective, the CoE is most deeply rooted in the push to deploy ERP software across the enterprise. It expanded to become the model by which many, if not most, IT applications like CRM, HR, or Supply Chain solutions were supported. In manufacturing, the CoE has also became associated with actual manufacturing processes like a Machining CoE or a Welding CoE where a business concentrated its best-practice development to spread across the entire enterprise.

In these specific use cases, the Center of Excellence was often located at a single site. The focus was then devoted to improving the processes associated with the CoE and then spreading that knowledge. At our recent business conference, Excelerate Innovation 2020, I co-presented with one of our System Integration partners, DXC, on how to take the CoE concept and use it to maximize the benefit you can receive from your Solumina iSeries investment.

Elements of a Center of Excellence

One of the challenges of establishing a Center of Excellence is defining the scope or role of the CoE. Depending on the organization, a CoE is often thought of as a:

  • Governance body that sets standards for the use of a technology
  • Help desks that coach users on how to use or resolve technology issues
  • Project management office that facilitates the deployment of a technology
  • Laboratory or testbed where technology is refined for eventual deployment
  • Quality assurance function that monitors the use of a technology
  • Communications office that disseminates information about how to use a technology
  • Best practices center that establishes the best way to gain value from a technology
  • The team that focuses on process improvement and is technology agnostic

Or some combination of some or all the above, and more.

From iBase-t’s perspective, a Center of Excellence for operations can be focused on much more than just technology. Instead, think of it as capturing a combination of these key attributes.

Your CoE should be centered on change management and enablement. When implementing an MES or supporting other enterprise applications like Quality Management or MRO, the real goal is process and performance improvement. Software is just a means to the end. Consequently, the focus of your CoE should be on this objective. That means your CoE should take elements of all the definitions above and combine them in a manner appropriate for your organization, to ensure that your people use iBase-t’s solutions to gain the process and performance improvements desired for your organization.

Key Attributes of an MES CoE

BASEt and DXC have found that there are a few critical steps to getting the most value from the use of a CoE in support of your MES or MRO software deployment. First, you need to think about who will be interacting with your iBase-t solution. Build your CoE around the personas of these users. Think about what they do and how they do it when it comes to their operational roles.

Next, use design thinking to shape implementation projects. With design thinking you focus on the problem first, then on how to solve the problem, not about how to use the technology to find and solve problems.

Finally, use an agile methodology. The idea is to use your Center of Excellence to drive small, incremental improvements and technology shifts, not a big waterfall project with an all-or-nothing approach. By setting up a cross-functional team of experts as your CoE, you can get the most from your iBase-t investment and get your return on investment more quickly.

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Q&A from “Picking the Right MES” Webinar

iBase-t to Sponsor MOM Institute Webinar: Picking the Right MES

In November, iBase-t hosted another educational webinar presented by Jan Snoeij, as part of a continuing series we have been working together on this year. For this webcast, Picking the Right MES, the topic of conversation was focused on why not all Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are the same. Your needs will vary. So too should your MES. While this topic should come as no surprise, there are still many providers who continue to suggest that their MES is a “jack of all trades” and will work in any environment. This simply isn’t true.

To start, those operating in a high volume, low complexity environment will be more focused on asset utilization and speed of throughput. Alternatively, those operating in a lower volume, highly complex environment, will be more concerned about ensuring that every product is manufactured perfectly at the highest quality level throughout the entire build cycle. In theses instances, it is very important to have quality integrated into each process. 

Those interested in learning more can either listen to this on-demand webcast, Picking the Right MES, or read this whitepaper, Don’t Get Fooled by the Wrong MES, for further information on this topic

After Jan completed his presentation, several questions were raised that are shared below – plus a couple others we didn’t have time to include. We hope this information is helpful with your decision process to pick the right MES that is based your unique business requirements.


We are considering developing our own MES – What are some possible risks & challenges you see with this approach?

If you choose this strategy, then you don’t make use of all the experience a vendor has captured over the many years they have been in business. This shortfall and knowledge gap applies not only to the business rules for your industry, but also to the technology that is available to implement and manage such a solution. Think about it. Vendors get feedback from each of the different customers they work with. Over time, this adds up to a lot of information that goes into each of their solutions, based on the industries they serve best. Choosing a strategy to “re-create the wheel,” will most likely cost much more, potentially will take longer to create and deploy, and will tie up more resources less efficiency over a longer period of time, for a much lower chance of success. 

Should you consider IIoT offerings when preparing an MES RFP?

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is something I like very much in that it adds much additional value to an MES. Adding new data from these systems is good. Especially those operating with older, legacy equipment that can’t connect to in the traditional way. Here, the IIoT can create a lot of additional value, even without interfering with the controls of that equipment, which is great. Sometimes you see an IIoT provider trying to make something out of all the data being collected. But, you know, that’s already existing. That is an MES. So, it isn’t either or, but how to use an IIoT and an MES solution together as a best practice. 

Are ERP offers MES solutions, and if so, what questions should we be asking them?

You should ask an ERP vendor the same questions that you would ask an MES vendor. The issue is whether an ERP operator can address your issues with their solution. As a repeat to the presentation I made back in July, if you try to buy everything from one vendor, then it is quite likely that some parts of their Suite are good, but others will be “less ok.” In these situations, you might not have all the right functionalities you require. Here it is critical that each stakeholder in your business has an opportunity to evaluate each solution’s capabilities rather than just one department choosing an enterprise solution without considering all department requirements. 

If a robust ERP with advanced data collection is in a plant, is an MES still needed?

Yes. As an example, if you look at the real-time nature of ERP, then it is quite less. The timeframe an ERP works is typically weeks, days, or maybe a shift. ERPs were designed to operate at that level. On the shop floor, however, you need real-time visibility to make quick decisions. ERP decision support is much more latent. The data structure in ERP is configured in such a way it can only report on this data in an aggregate form vs. an MES that can provide much better visibility to it, in context, as it is collected.  

And I am not sure if maintenance agreements are available 24/7 to operations on the shop floor with typical ERP solution providers. You should check to see if it is even offered. MES solutions have more of a focus on supporting operations. ERP is basically customer oriented, so has a financial base. Normally, we don’t talk about money that much on the shop floor. Here, it is more about what happens on the shop floor, as it happens, to keep us informed. This way we can correct what is required as it happens. I don’t see that happening with ERP. This is something you need to consider. 

What are the benefits of an OOTB MES vs. a toolkit MES that must be configured?

It is difficult to provide a generic answer to this question. If you have an Out-of-the-Box (OOTB) solution that is a perfect match to your requirements, then it can do the job very well. A 100% match doesn’t exist, but if you can find an 80-90% or more match, then you have a great option. On the other hand, if an MES toolkit only has elemental building blocks, then you will have to do too much, such as coding, which is something I am not very fond of. Something in-between might be ideal, with existing building blocks that exist already that can then be easily configured to your workflow by just clicking on a few buttons, then that might be the best of both worlds. The key is that these building blocks must be sufficiently advanced already. If not, then any kind of toolkit is going to take too much effort to deploy and maintain over time. 

For business continuity purposes, can we ask the MES vendor about if it can work for at least a shift if the ERP is down?

I think it is a great question to ask. Business continuity is very important and if your ERP is down. e.g. for maintenance or for any other reason, then you should be able to continue producing. If you create the split between ERP and MES in the right way, you normally should be able to keep on producing even when ERP is not available (for a while). The production orders for the next day or days (maybe up to a week sometimes) that were initially scheduled in ERP are send to MES. However, there are other aspects you need to look at, e.g. can I get the raw (and other) materials from my warehouse to the machine and workplaces at the shopfloor without ERP? What happens to my finished goods? Can I put them in my finished goods warehouse and update ERP later? Ask the MES vendor about their best practices. The MES vendor has likely supported other customers who have the same challenges.

How do you ensure that a MES software accommodates the optimal process, rather than a COTS solution designed for a range of industries that could require a custom process to accommodate the software (resulting in sub-optimization)?

First, you need to know what ways of working are crucial for your success. Quite a few processes can be performed in multiple ways without a significant influence on the bottom line. But not all! These unique and very important processes or ways of working should be supported exactly in the way you want. During the selection process, you should check if the MES solution can deliver specific support with a scenario (or test case). So, evaluate the software (not the slideware)! If the MES does not support the scenario well enough, then you drop it from your short list. Note: this support should be delivered by standard or relatively simple configured functionality. So, fully customized functionality is normally not acceptable.

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Manufacturing Trends: Five 2021 Predictions

My 2021 Predictions: Acceleration of Digital Investment in Manufacturing

Looking back over the past 12 months, who could have had any idea what was in store for us in the first quarter! Yet despite all the challenges and hardships we faced in 2020, much has been learned about resilience, the value of operational agility, and where weakness exists in each of our value chains. Implicit assumptions of “business as usual” has taken a back seat to a more pragmatic approach of cautiously observing what the future reveals – and responding accordingly. In that light, here are five 2021 predictions – let’s see how they hold up next year!

Over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic, those working in the manufacturing and other industries faced extreme challenges and disruption not seen in quite some time. During the chaos, what emerged was the importance of embracing resilience and innovation to best manage each of these severe disruptions. What we all witnessed was a collective effort to make it through together. As a participant in the complex discrete manufacturing industry, we are all committed to working through each of these challenges and together will ride through this storm with new solutions. 

With the announcement of vaccines now being administered, an end of this pandemic is starting to become more of a reality, like a light at the end of a dark tunnel. I suspect many of the changes that have been implemented will likely last to post-pandemic times. Based on this expectation, in a bold move, here is a list of my 2021 predictions on how the manufacturing industry will look like next year!

  1. Digital is Here to Stay – Some manufacturers learned some hard lessons during the coronavirus in 2020 – this knowledge will leave a lasting impression will not be quickly forgotten. A “Digital First” strategy is here to stay. A push to invest in this strategy including greater reliance upon the Model Based Enterprise will triple digital investment over the next three years.
  2. Remote Access is a Must-Have – Look to see continued investment to monitor, review, and approve production processes on web-enabled devices, tablets, and smartphones. The removal of paper-based processes, disparate legacy applications, and manual data entry process will continue at an accelerated rate of change.  The stigma of working remotely is now gone. 
  3. Renewed Focus on Digital Ecosystems – The value of digital ecosystems will continue to grow in recognition of the need for real-time visibility of operational data for intelligent, data-driven decision support. This need extends up to the C-suite, so will require a myriad of integrations across the digital enterprise. As a by-product, the benefits and desirability of a “single solution provider” strategy will continue to wane.
  4. Manufacturers will double down on the Cloud – While past predictions of Cloud adoption have yet to go mainstream, the acute pressure manufacturers have experienced in 2020 has finally changed this perspective. What is now happening is a renewed dialog on how to start such a migration vs. if it can be justified. Cloud-hosted applications can be more readily part of a digital ecosystem while supporting remote working. 
  5. Greater Focus on Innovation – 2021 will see a new wave of investment from midsize enterprises to “bridge the digital divide” that has been growing over the past few years – accentuated in 2020. Look for new investment by manufacturers seeking better operational agility to outmaneuver the competition. Better alignment and collaboration across the supply chain can build greater resilience to be prepared for the next market disruption.

As these 2021 predictions reveal what our next normal will be, one thing is certain. There will continue to be new surprises and disruption. New opportunities will be revealed. The need for operational resilience and a team with a willingness to do what it takes to make it happen will continue to be the foundation of what tomorrow’s successful organizations look like – and where I hope your future can be too!

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MES, ERP & PLM Integration: A Blueprint for Success

A Blueprint for Better MES Integration

The digital transformation that underlies Industry 4.0 relies on capturing contextual data and aggregating it in such a way to improve decision support and operational excellence. This process can be achieved through the concept of the Digital Thread, or as iBase-t is now advocating, the weaving of Digital Cloth, which can be used to create and maintain Digital Twins and other virtual visualizations of the production process to optimize operations performance. This is the reason why manufacturers are investing in upgrading their Manufacturing Execution System as a blueprint for better MES integration.

There really is only one way to effectively create a Digital Thread that spans the lifecycle of a product from conception through design and manufacturing and into the field and throughout its operational life. You must tie together all of the information that each of your IT and OT systems generate and use. This is best achieved by seamlessly integrating the data associated with operations (MES) with design (PLM) and business systems of record (ERP) applications. What results is better MES integration across your digital enterprise. 

When it comes to the shop floor and manufacturing operations the three systems that must be tightly integrated are:

  • Product Lifecycle Management: The system where the product design and configuration information are maintained.
  • Enterprise Resource Planning: The system where financial data, inventory, and customer data is maintained and where business management tends to look to assess day-to-day business operations, as a system of record.
  • Manufacturing Execution System: The system where operational instructions are defined, maintained, and executed, and where as-built data on product content, quality, and genealogy is maintained.

It is only by weaving the information from each of these systems into a single view can a business create the necessary holistic view of the product and the process by which it was created. Unfortunately, these three systems, PLM, ERP, and MES, by their very focus, have very different orientations so such integration requires forethought and a well-designed integration blueprint.

With Integration, “How” is as Important as “What”

PLM systems are product-centric so have an information model based on product design and parametric data, but not necessarily on how that product should be built. An ERP system, on the other hand, is designed to be transaction- and record-centric to properly track costs, inventory levels, and ultimately provide support for accounting month-end and year-end reporting. An MES system is operationally centric. Consequently, it must deal with real-time or near real-time information that is collected contextually. The moment an out-of-specification or out-of-plan process occurs, time is critical to act upon this information and make quick changes to stop small problems from becoming serious issues. The act of integrating all this data is not trivial. To do so seamlessly is even more difficult. 

Two Strategies for Better MES Integration: APIs and Data Standards

The MES industry is moving towards greater reliance upon using open APIs to capture and disseminate data with far greater efficiency and speed. This was a big driving force behind iBase-t’s move to a microservices architecture with its latest iSeries product launch.

Read more about the Solumina iSeries launch

This industry shift is also explaining why standards have become so important.  

Almost every manufacturer has a different supplier for their PLM, MES and ERP systems, many even having multiple suppliers in each area. Some may use design and engineering software from one supplier while using a product data management and engineering collaboration platform from another. 

Similarly, manufacturers may need to integrate a time and attendance application from one company into the HR components of their ERP platform, supplied by yet another firm. There may even be a need to tie to multiple ERP and PLM applications, even within a single facility! Trying to create bespoke point-to-point integrations with an ever-evolving technology footprint is just not practical. Standards are the only way to overcome this challenge.

Fortunately, the Aerospace, Defense, and many other manufacturing industries have recognized this need and developed a rich set of standards that can help overcome these challenges. Some of the key ones are:

  • OAGIS: An XML interoperability standard governing the exchange of electronic data between business systems (learn more here)
  • JSON: A JavaScript object notation standard for lightweight data exchange (learn more here)
  • Swagger: A method for defining, designing, and documenting Application Program Interfaces or APIs (learn more here

How iBase-t Approaches MES Integration with Solumina iSeries

iBase-t has long recognized the need for our customers to evolve their application portfolios while preserving their investment in our solutions. Therefore, we have and will continue to support these and other industry standards. Our recent expansion of open APIs with Solumina iSeries reinforces this commitment. By doing so, we provide our customers with the greatest flexibility and sustained configurability while maintaining the ability to deploy iBase-t solutions quickly. This is particularly a keen focus of mine, given that my role is all about ensuring that the products we provide can effectively integrate with not only our own solution portfolio but also with other third-party applications. 

If you have any questions I have not addressed in this post, feel free to reach out by posting a comment below, and I’ll be sure to respond.  

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iBase-t and AWS Partnership Goes Beyond the Cloud

iBase-t and AWS Relationship Goes Beyond the Cloud

Cloud delivery of Manufacturing Execution System (MES) software is becoming the deployment model of choice for many reasons. Our AWS partnership was established to help drive this vision to the mainstream. Since iBase-t first introduced Cloud-ready solutions a little over two years ago, our customers have increasingly shown a willingness to move to the Cloud. At the beginning of this year, iBase-t announced the launch of its Solumina Quick Start program on AWS. The ability to get Solumina up and running in 1½ to 2 hours is just one example of why Cloud MES deployments have become so popular.  

At Excelerate Innovation 2020, iBase-t launched Solumina iSeries, a Cloud-native platform furthering our commitment to Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the platforms iBase-t is supporting that is very popular among manufacturers. Michael Putnik, WW Business Development Leader, Manufacturing at AWS presented an update on Amazon Web Services’ Industrial presence. The session highlighted why iBase-t’s choice to partner with AWS is providing our customers with more than just a Cloud platform for our Solution.

iBase-t customers can listen to Michael Putnik’s Excelerate Innovation 2020 presentation on our event login page  

Amazon Uses AWS

Among operating in many markets, Amazon is also a manufacturer, and one that utilizes a significant amount of technology too, such as robotics. Filling a complex order, packaging, and preparing it for shipment at the scale and volume Amazon does provides an environment like many manufacturing operations.  

Because Amazon runs its operations on its own AWS platform, it understands the performance, reliability, and security needs manufacturers face. As a technology innovator, Amazon continues to invest in new technology to keep its operations running. This includes adding functionality to the AWS stack for industrial data analytics, predictive maintenance, and vision systems to support quality programs. As a high-performance computing (HPC) platform, AWS provides the infrastructure to run its massive global operations.

Like many manufacturers, Amazon has a multi-vendor environment for the automation and robotics systems it operates. AWS has been developed to support exactly that scenario. Amazon themselves see MES delivered via microservices as a benefit. This and predictive analytics will further facilitate the trend of “machine-as-a-service” operations in the future. The ability to create a large data lake in the AWS Cloud has proven a powerful tool in improving demand forecasting as well.

iBase-t as Part of the AWS Ecosystem

While iBase-t’s Solumina iSeries can be deployed on Microsoft Azure and the Google Cloud, we are excited to be part of the AWS ecosystem. As noted above, the Quick-Start program allows customers to deploy and evaluate Solumina iSeries on the AWS Cloud in less than two hours in most cases. Additionally, we see the commitment that Amazon is making to manufacturing through enhancements to the AWS stack as allowing us to better serve our customers. Our investment in microservices with the iSeries will allow iBase-t to quickly leverage future AWS capabilities to keep our customers at the forefront of the Industry 4.0 Digital Transformation wave.

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iBase-t Announces Cloud-native Midsize Enterprise Solution for Manufacturing

iBase-t Announces Cloud-native Midsize Enterprise Solution for Manufacturing

Web-enablement provides agile implementation to reduce resources and cost while speeding time-to-value
AWS is a strategic Cloud partner for Cloud-based Manufacturing Execution System
An aggressive subscription pricing model aims to lower upfront and total cost of ownership


FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif. – Dec. 9, 2020 iBase-t, a leading provider of manufacturing, quality, and MRO solutions, today announced Solumina for Midsize Enterprise manufacturers (Solumina MSE). Solumina MSE provides a path for midsize organizations to accelerate their digital transformation journey by simplifying this complex yet critical business initiative. By partnering with AWS, this new solution allows midsize enterprises to optimize production, create new business opportunities, and improve operational efficiency across the value chain, instead of focusing on the infrastructure and resources to make it happen.

Available in a Cloud-native configuration with open APIs, Solumina MSE empowers midsized organizations with limited IT staff to simplify their operations ecosystem. Solumina MSE removes the complexity of legacy systems integration to further accelerate the time-to-value of digital transformation. 

According to Gartner, “Midsize enterprises find that new technologies required for digital business transformation and digital optimization are difficult to integrate into their legacy ecosystems because APIs and modern integration tools are often unavailable.” *

Midsize enterprises must also deal with complex production processes and significant engineering change requirements. Solumina MSE, powered by Solumina iSeries, provides a simplified, role-based user experience that makes it much easier to use, learn, and realize value from when compared to the competition. 

“By delivering Cloud-native manufacturing execution to the shop floor, with a subscription pricing model and minimal configuration requirements, we are extending access to the knowledge and experience of the iBase-t team, along with the great benefits of Solumina iSeries, across the entire manufacturing value chain,” said Naveen Poonian, CEO and President at iBase-t. 

Solumina MSE is the culmination of a new strategic initiative being implemented by iBase-t to expand its total addressable market while easing the ways Solumina iSeries can be purchased and implemented. Solumina iSeries, announced October 6, 2020, is the company’s Cloud-native, microservices architected digital platform for operations management. 

The pricing model for Solumina MSE is based on a monthly, per-user rate. As a Cloud-based offering, customers can choose to have some or all of their solutions hosted on the AWS Cloud. Integration to existing enterprise PLM, ERP, and other applications are available by using open APIs, configured with the optional Solumina Software Development Kit (SDK).

* Gartner, “How Midsize Enterprises Optimize by Simplifying Their Application Landscape”, Alexander Buschek, November 20, 2020.


About iBase-t
iBase-t is a leading provider of manufacturing, quality and MRO solutions that enable digital continuity across the enterprise. With 30+ years of experience in highly engineered, regulated industries, iBase-t simplifies the complex by empowering customers to gain real-time visibility, take control, and drive velocity across operations. The iSeries, powered by Solumina, has a cloud-native microservices architecture with open APIs that extends a digital ecosystem to drive innovation, simplify hardware and software systems integration, and deploy advanced technologies. iBase-t works closely with many industry leaders, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and Textron. Learn more at iBase-t.com

A Digital Master Performs Better Financially – Here’s Why

Digital Masters Perform Better Financially

Today’s top-performing manufacturers have a common attribute: they operate as a Digital Master

What is the best argument for digital transformation? Profit. Companies that turn technology into business transformation have more efficient revenue generation and better profitability.

That’s the view of Dr. Didier Bonnet, Senior Vice President of Capgemini Worldwide, and the keynote speaker at iBase-t’s recent Excelerate Innovate 2020 web event that introduced the new Solumina iSeries platform. His research of over 400 different organizations and their key financial indicators revealed that a Digital Master is more profitable, by as much as 50 percent more than the laggards.

What Makes a Digital Master?

Dr. Bonnet explained that the key is how a Digital Master uses technology to transform the customer experience, operational processes, and business models. Success depends more on how companies orchestrate their digital transformation than on which specific technologies and features they choose.

According to Dr. Bonnet, Digital Masters focus on three key, business-oriented goals:

  1. Customer experience: Creating a more direct connection to clients then leads to many other benefits, such as creating new opportunities for service, support, and development— including monitoring their products while in use.
  2. Connected operations: Bringing together the IT and business sides of the company and engaging employees to make this vision a reality, a Digital Master connects and enables workers at every level in the organization, from executives to frontline workers. 
  3. Business models: Equipping themselves with the modifications they need to excel in a platform economy – and having the ability to quickly adapt as often as needed – empowered a Digital Master to out-perform at almost all economic and social activity that takes place within a technological framework.

The most important aspect is that they treat digital transformation in manufacturing as a business project, not as a technology project. They combine people, processes, and technology to create holistic, digital ecosystems of operations and then remove the barriers between departments. They stay focused on the overall goal of using digital transformation to increase an enterprise’s resilience and profitability.

If you are interested in listening to Dr. Bonnet’s presentation, you can watch what iBase-t customers viewed at our business conference.


Why are Digital Masters so Much More Profitable?

Dr. Bonnet cites an IoT architecture as driving modern industrial growth. A Digital Master is riding the wave instead of getting swept underneath. 

For example, these companies are using sensors to capture machine feed data directly to their analytics engines to isolate issues and reduce downtime. They use predictive analysis and “what-if” scenarios that can enhance their ability to anticipate things like future customer needs and preferences. They expand their after-sales or product support capabilities to enhance future R&D that results in attracting and retaining more customers. Workers connect digitally to the rest of the enterprise directly through web applications that bring the company together in one space, using devices that span across hundreds of countries through secure portals. 

The bottom line is that a Digital Master is not only invested in the right technologies but is also harnessing technology with the vision to streamline production and connect employees. This is why they are having a huge success.

The Next Few Years

At the exponential rate that it is going now, digitalization will continue to rapidly change how we operate. Already today, the top performers are the companies that master digital technology and use it to enhance their customer experience, operations, and business models. The gap between the masters and all the rest will only get wider in the next few years. 

The good news is that the digital technology that manufacturers need is already available – and has been for a few years now. What has changed is an elevated recognition of its importance today, as validated by the higher profitability now possible. No longer is “going digital” just a “nice-to-have” investment. If you aren’t on the road to becoming a Digital Master yet, you are losing out on profitability. Now would be a good time to start.

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iBase-t to Present at American A&D Summit 2020

american a&d summit

WHAT: The American Aerospace & Defense Summit 2020 is an industry-focused event where peers can discuss strategies on how to best optimize manufacturing and R&D in the Aerospace & Defense industry.

WHO: Kim Archibald, head of North America solution engineering at iBase-t, will lead a discussion on how Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) have become a central part of digital operations platforms in achieving greater resiliency across operations. She will draw upon 10 years of experience gained while working for Aerospace & Defense manufacturers, including Boeing Defense, Lockheed Martin, and space startup Virgin Orbit. As a frequent speaker, Kim will provide guidance on the benefits of becoming a Digital Master and the improved profitability that can result. Kim is a current member of Women in Aerospace (WIA). She received a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.S. in Project Management from Boston University.

WHERE: Register here to attend: https://aadsummit.com/

WHEN: Ms. Archibald will present “Why Digital Operations Have Become Mission Critical in Manufacturing” on the first day of the conference, December 9th, from 1:50 p.m. – 2:25 p.m. ET.


About iBase-t
iBase-t is a leading provider of manufacturing, quality and MRO solutions that enable digital continuity across the enterprise. With 30+ years of experience in highly engineered, regulated industries, iBase-t simplifies the complex by empowering customers to gain real-time visibility, take control, and drive velocity across operations. The iSeries, powered by Solumina, has a cloud-native microservices architecture with open APIs that extends a digital ecosystem to drive innovation, simplify hardware and software systems integration, and deploy advanced technologies. iBase-t works closely with many industry leaders, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and Textron. Learn more at iBase-t.com

5 Great Features of iSeries


There’s a lot to be optimistic about in the future of manufacturing. Several new technologies are now gaining momentum, starting with the Industry 4.0 transformation that began nearly 20 years ago. Critical mass is being achieved with innovation evolving faster. Many obstacles have been eliminated. What used to be all-consuming issues have become afterthoughts. This change has enabled greater focus to be applied to a thriving digital marketplace that is increasingly open, operating on multiple devices, and is more unpredictable than ever before. As a way to help accelerate this transformation, iBase-t launched iSeries. In this blog post I will review five great new features of iSeries.

All too often, new digital technologies were viewed as a headache, were hard to justify the investment, or were difficult to deploy. At the same time, monolithic applications have been cumbersome to manage. What often resulted was “shelf-ware.” Software that was bought but not deployed. And, as part of these challenges, many an IT resource was overloaded trying to navigate a way through the challenges.  

Today is a completely different story. Most of these problems have faded into the rearview mirror, particularly over the past two years.

The Golden Age of Digital in Manufacturing

Manufacturers have fully embraced the digitalization of manufacturing processes – at rates we have never seen before.

In their 2021 Worldwide Digital Transformation Predictions, IDC predicts the economy will remain on course to its digital destiny with 65% of global GDP digitalized by 2022. This will drive over $6.8 trillion of direct digital transformation investments from 2020 to 2023 (source). Manufacturing will get a strong share of this total. 

In the digital world, an open digital ecosystem has huge advantages. Innovation can be harnessed faster, and the results can be distributed with greater ease and efficiency. In this type of environment, monolithic “closed systems” throttle back these types of advances and will soon be archaic as a dinosaur. 

Watch this on-demand webcast where Jan Snoeij, President of the MOM Institute, shares his insights on: Why Today is a Great Time to Retire a Legacy MES.

As part of this transformation, the rise of applications based on a microservices architecture makes sense. View this evolution akin to the process of loading apps on your smartphone. You pick and choose only those you need. As updates become available, you can apply them to your device based on the schedule you decide – quickly and easily. 

We’ve gone from “monolithic” to “modular.” This means that digital transformation projects can now target precise areas of improvement without sweeping everything up in a wave of unnecessary features. 

iBase-t’s iSeries delivers these advantages – too many to fit in just one blog post! Here are five great new features of iSeries that I think you will really appreciate. 

5 Features of iSeries worth investigating further.

Screenshot of iBase-t’s next-generation MES solution – take advantage of all the new features of iSeries


1. Software Developer Kit (SDK)

SDK is a built-in toolkit that lets developers create custom APIs in iSeries without changing code. In the past, it was a major obstacle to have the right API ecosystem for your systems to communicate — that reality has changed (for the better) over the last five years.

With its streamlined, native configuration, iSeries SDK empowers you successfully create and expand your digital ecosystem comprising data, devices, processes, and people. A well-executed API ecosystem can be a continued and powerful driver of digital transformation and sustained performance improvement.

2. Modern UX Design and Standardized UI

There is no more need for outdated, cluttered user interfaces. A key feature of iSeries now gives you a polished UI (with a web-based HDI framework) that is consistent across virtually any device. We already use smartphones and tablets with touch screens and wireless capabilities. Now you can run Solumina on these same devices since the iSeries was designed with that in mind. This is not just providing flexible displays of commands – the whole UX has shifted to get the most out of touch screen commands, including what works best in an industrial environment. Your user experience is now optimized to the device you use. 

3. Direct Communication to the Shop Floor

When your technicians run into a problem on the line, how quickly and directly can they communicate the issue? In iSeries, they can take a video/picture on their phone and send it straight to the QA technician’s desktop. iSeries is all about allowing your enterprise to precisely isolate and resolve issues, to keep factory downtime to a minimum, and to keep production rates stable. The social/collaboration feature built into iSeries can be used to communicate with anyone through the app, adding convenience and productivity.

4. IIoT Connectivity

Much has been said about the Internet of Things. But how well are you capturing and leveraging this data? Is it positively impacting performance? The iSeries has the right APIs for IIoT connectivity. This means that you can take an amalgamation of data from other software applications, sensors, robotics, and automation equipment to create an online framework to see and analyze all sorts of intricate data from across your enterprise.

For example, challenges like machine maintenance and product defects are a lot less tricky when each machine on the line can tell you its exact status, down to small details like operating temperature and RPMs. 

5. Modern Data Structure — ELK Stack

If you haven’t heard of an ELK Stack, then of all the features of iSeries, this one is really going to impress you. The database in iSeries isn’t just an archive. ELK stands for Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana. This is a three-pronged system that turns your database into a scalable, connected view of your business.

  • Elasticsearch might just be a search engine, but don’t underestimate its value. It provides an HTTP web-based interface, allowing you to begin typing a keyword search and see matching results start to populate right away with schema-free JSON documents. In so many words, it’s a speedy, distributed, and programmable search & analytics engine.
  • Logstash is the data collection pipeline for Elasticsearch. It can ingest data from a range of sources, transform it, and then store it, at any level of complexity and in any format.
  • Kibana provides a singular, uniform interface for you to visualize all of this collected data. It’s quite dynamic, from creating waffle charts to complex time series analysis reports. Whatever you decide to do, it’s all contained within one clean and modern UI.


There’s a lot to like about the new features of Solumina iSeries. Every member of the enterprise can benefit, from line workers to top-level decision-makers. Today, technology innovation is accelerating like never before. When it’s properly harnessed, as in the iSeries, we’re just starting to see the amazing things it lets us do.

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