Rhize Up Podcast: Episode 2 – An introduction to Part 3 of the ISA-95 Standard

rhize podcast episode 3 unified namespace

Rhize Up Podcast

Episode 2 Transcript

David: All right, let’s fire this thing off. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening. Welcome to the Rhize Up Podcast. My name is David Schultz, and today, we are going to continue our conversation regarding the ISA-95 Standard. In our last video, we did Parts 2 and 4. Today, we’re going to talk about Part 3.

And joining me again is Rene Verleg. Rene, could you give a quick introduction again? 

Rene: Yes, my name is Rene Verleg. I’ve been working for about 17 years in manufacturing IT. I’ve done many multi-site implementations, mainly on MES systems, and I always used the ISA-95 Standard as a guideline.

David: Yeah, I think I referred to you in the last episode as an ISA-95 guru. I love using that word any chance that I get. So yeah, I remember in our last video, we talked about Part 2 and Part 4. Part 2 is interested in integrating your ERP or your level 4 systems and your level 3 or your MES systems, and it’s more of a high-level view. It makes more operations requests and operations responses. You know, “Make me 10,000 left-handed blue widgets.” 

How does that actually occur on the plant floor? Well, it doesn’t get into that level of granularity. Where you get into that, of course, is Part 4, where you now get into these work requests and work responses. All the same, resource models are there, so there are four resource models:

  • Your materials
  • Your personnel
  • Your equipment 
  • Your assets 

And then those all in some way inform whatever those parts are. 

But Part 3 seems very misunderstood—or maybe it’s more of an enigma. It’s my position that Part 3 of the Standard is probably something you’re already doing. You may just not realize you’re doing it. Maybe it’s not codified or formalized.

All About Activity Models

David: So, with that, Rene, let’s dive right into Part 3 of the Standard. And, tell us a little bit about what’s going on. What are these activity models that people keep talking about?

Rene: Yeah, I think Part 3 is very useful because it gives you an overview, a sort of checklist, of all functionalities related to manufacturing IT. First, you have the four domains—production, inventory, quality and maintenance. You can view all these as similar activities but for different domains.

In Part 3 of the ISA-95 Standard, they made a generic activity model with different categories for production, inventory, quality and maintenance. 

I think it’s very useful to get that checklist, for example when you write requirements or you want to write the URS (user requirement specification) for a customer, you can also make that document based on those activities. 

David: Cool, that sounds like a good pro tip. In terms of the checklist, I know in project management you’ll create these checklists asking, “Are these the things that we did?” It sounds like that’s a great application within that Part 3 of the Standard. If you include these parts of the Part 3 Standard, you’re going to be in pretty good shape to know that what gets delivered will meet and satisfy the requirements of what you’re trying to do. 

Rene: Yeah. And you can use it on different levels.

For example, when you have a manufacturing IT strategy or a roadmap, you can create an “as-is” situation and a “to-be” situation to use these functionalities. But you can also do it for a specific project, saying, “Okay, this is the as-is situation and the to-be, so this is what we’re going to change in the applications.”David: Cool. So I’ve seen these diagrams before. I think people would probably recognize the activity diagrams. As you mentioned, there are four different domains. But, do you have an example, or can we dive into something so we can start? Let’s unpack this. What exactly is going on in Part 3 of the Standard?

What Goes on in Part 3 of the ISA-95 Standard

Rene: I would like to start with this picture where you have those different levels of automation that we also showed in the last podcast. Here you see the difference between level 4 and level 3. 

Level 4 involves more business planning, logistics, and similar functionalities. Level 3 involves workflows, recipe control and similar functionality. You can also go into level 2 or level 1 with different timeframes.

So if you then move to this picture—yeah, it’s a little two to read—it says something about categories and functionality categories. This is just an example of what’s in the Standard. 

This sort of organization could be different for each company. Here, you have those different categories, which will include many different functionalities. In the end, you need to decide which application is handling which part of these functionalities. Sometimes, a whole area, like “marketing and sales,” is not something that you would see in ISA-95 and any manufacturing IT system—it’s more outside of that. 

But if you look at “production control,” that’s in the middle of it. And that is really an ISA-95 type of functionality. In this example, they put this dotted line, and you see that some of these topics are inside the scope, and some are halfway inside or outside. That scope is something you need to decide as a company—what am I going to put in my level 3? And what am I going to put outside of that? 

David: Sure. I think it’s important to note that the ISA-95 standard is really about a business’s function. So, it does not necessarily mean that just because information is flowing between these two pieces, that’s how you would do all of your networking.

The point is that in this functional area, this is the type of data that you would expect to see flowing back and forth. I think it’s important for people to understand that. So, please continue. 

Rene: Yeah. Yeah. That’s right.

This is a picture that I created myself to make it a bit more simplistic.

I always ask, “What do we have available?” You have material, personal, equipment, and physical assets—these are really the resources. And we can also have capabilities related to that. 

Then you get to the part on how to produce. This is all about product definitions and production schedules. After that, you go to “When can it be produced?” This is more detailed scheduling and dispatching. 

Then you go into “production.” Then you go to “What is produced when and how?” This is also related to Part 2 and Part 4, where we also showed these kinds of entities. But this is also all functionality. So, in each block of this graphic, you have functionalities.

And that’s how they translated it to this generic model. It’s not exactly how it is in the Standard, but they are the same categories. This is like a generic activity model. So it’s always about level 3 in the middle with these blocks. On the upper side, you have level 4—operation definitions, operation capabilities, schedule and performance. On the lower side, you have levels 1 and 2 with the connection to your equipment, all the operational commands or responses and the process-specific data. 

The blue rectangles are reference data or definition data. The purple is pre-execution—all about scheduling and dispatching. The actual execution is further right, and then post-execution.

David: Yeah. So, referring back to the previous one, the blue is “What is it we’re going to do?” The purple is “When are we going to do it?” The green is “We’re doing it.” Then the yellow is “How did we do now that we’ve just done it?”

This certainly helps me understand what’s going on in the activity models. So good stuff.

Rene: Yeah, the four resources are all about what is available, what is allocated, for example. So it’s really about managing your resources and capabilities.

Definition management is about, for example, product definition. Every block has some functionalities, but depending on the domain, they have a specific meaning. So, if I go to the next slide, then it’s almost the same.

ISA-95 Part 3 Applied to Production

Rene: This is the “production” version. So, you have your production resource management and product definition management. And this is what you have for each of the domains. 

Going a bit deeper into each block, the production resource management is all about those four resources and their availability.

The product definition is really about the product definition data. Things like “How to make a product?” For example, what kind of equipment or materials are needed? Then, you go into detailed production scheduling. This is about, for example, the schedule from your ERP system or from an advanced planning and scheduling system. Then, on level 3, you go on for the detailed scheduling. 

So this is more about, for example, you want to produce a certain quantity of this product. Okay? Then, I’m going to make different batches for it. So, I’m going to schedule this on a deeper level. Then you have dispatching, where you are going to allocate the production line and do some checks—if it can be released, against which conditions it can be released, etc. Then, at a certain moment, you start your execution.

Once an order or operation is started, you can, for example, adjust some runtime parameters. You recall all kinds of data or input from operators. This is also tightly connected to the production data collection, which also gets all the data directly from processes at the execution layer. Once you get all the data, it needs to be translated into information.

For example, tracking data. Once that data is transformed, you go to the tracking part of the diagram, where you ask, for example, “How is my genealogy done? What did I consume? What did I produce, and how is that all related to each other?” At the end of the diagram, you have your performance analysis, where you have your reporting parts and your data analytics. For example, you can show your plant production versus your actual production.

Each block of the diagram has its own functionalities. This is all described in detail in Part 3 of the Standard, which will really help you to categorize.

ISA-95 Part 3 Applied to Maintenance

David: Okay. You mentioned that one of the domains is maintenance. For people who know me, I have a background in reliability and asset performance. Just so I understand and for my own personal learning on this, I’m going to walk through what that might look like, say, within the maintenance domain. Of course, I use a motor pump or a compressor—some piece of rotating equipment—for example.

So, I’m going to guess that production resource—that’s more like the work instructions for “I need to go out and fix something. Here is how you want to go about fixing it.” 

There could be an operations manual, or there is a whole work instruction that is managed by the CMMS. But it tells me what it is that needs to be fixed.

Going back to ISA-95, what are all the resource models, what’s the material, what are the personnel? What’s needed there to perform this maintenance? That’s going to provide that guidance. Is that a fair statement so far?

Rene: Yeah. I switched back to the generic activity model because it should be similar to the maintenance one. I don’t have them prepared, but these should be similar.

David: Often, it’s material and people, but the resource is going to tell me, “What are the spare parts?” And the definition is, “Here’s how you go in and fix it.” 

Now, I get into the schedulers and planners. These are actually the people who know that an asset needs some maintenance. I’m going to make sure that all the parts or all the resources are there. I’m going to ensure that I have the right people associated with that particular job.

When I show up, I’m one of the maintenance technicians. I know I’m going to have some work to do today. And that’s when the scheduler and/or planner (it could be the same person) hands me what I’m going to call the proverbial clipboard—this is what you’re going to do today and when I’m going to do it. So far, am I understanding this?

Rene: Yep. Yep. That’s correct. 

David: Perfect. And then now, in the green section here, that’s the actual execution. Now, I’m actually out in the middle of repairing this piece of equipment. I have all the tools. I have all my spare parts. I’ve dropped my screwdriver three levels down, so I got to go down, and pick it back up. And I’m losing all kinds of parts and using all kinds of sentence enhancers, and, you know, I think things are going great. So I’m actually executing the maintenance on that.

So that’s what’s occurring in that green section: “This is what I’m actually doing.” Does that make sense?

Rene: Makes sense.

David: Perfect. And then, in the end, the thing that I really hate doing is getting a report on what part of the actual materials I consumed. How much time did it actually take me to do that type of thing? Did I have a spare parts kit that I managed to dork up? So, I actually had to get a second one because, you know, I’m really not very good at this. I don’t know why they let me fix something, to begin with. But now I’m going to record all that information, and I guess there’s a little data collection.

Then, finally, at the end, we can look back in this yellow section at the end of the month. And I can see, how did everybody do on our maintenance tasks? What was our plan? What did we actually do? What were the resources? Who were the people? What were the time and materials of all the things that occurred? These are all the things that they would go into that. So, is that really how this works in the maintenance domain?

ISA-95 Part 3 Applied to Quality and Other Domains

Rene: Yeah. That’s done the same way for quality; for example, at the quality department or in the laboratory, you have your resources. Also there you have definition, scheduling, and dispatching. So all these activities you also have on quality. The same for inventory logistics and moving from warehouse to production. All of that is also in the same categorization; you can use this diagram. 

David: On the quality side, these are quality checks that you would have to do. Here’s when you need to do it. Here’s you actually doing it. And here’s the result. So, it’s a lot of plan versus actual, regardless of what the domain is.

Rene: Yeah. And in the end, if you do that for all your domains, you get something like this, which could be an approach to create your strategy. You would say, I have my domains; I have all those functionalities. Besides that, there are also some extras like incident and deviation management documents, document management, configuration security, and regulatory compliance.

If you have all of that, then you have a complete overview of all your functionalities, whether you have them or want them. Then, you can decide what’s in scope and which applications should be responsible for this or that. So yeah, you can really use this to create that big overview of your current situation and your future state. 

David: Okay. So, as we were walking through this, I was just thinking that this goes back to the comment I made at the beginning of the podcast. I know that all the production scheduling occurs. I know that companies already do that. Same thing with maintenance. I mean, that, to me, is a pretty familiar process. I know that a lot of quality checks occur throughout. I know that those are documented. I’m not as familiar with the inventory side, which is fine. I don’t do much in supply chain and logistics, but I can certainly see how that would extend.

So, it almost seems like Part 3 of ISA-95 really isn’t that challenging. It’s just if you use it right, it can be an exceptionally powerful tool. Thoughts on that?

Rene: Yeah, that’s exactly it. For me, Part 3 always helps to get that full picture. Like I said, it’s also sort of a checklist, giving you an overview. You can go through it. You can discuss each category and its current status with the customer. 

I also have a questionnaire for each activity. I have some questions to determine the current state, and then you can determine the future state. You can get some advice, and then together, you can create a roadmap.

It’s the same for projects. When you’re running a project, you can see what’s impacting these kinds of categories. Then, you can dive a bit deeper into that. And then, you can finalize your overview—what’s impacted, what’s as-is, and what’s the to-be situation.

Conclusion: Combining Part 3 with Parts 2 and 4 of the ISA-95 Standard

David: Perfect. It sounds like combining these with Part 2 and Part 4 of the ISA-95 Standard becomes a very powerful tool not only for developing that user requirement specification but also as a great checklist. Like many standards and tools out there, if you use them right, they can be pretty powerful.

Rene: Yeah, for sure.

David: All right. That’s very cool. Before we wrap it up, is there anything else that we should know about Part 3 of the ISA-95 Standard?

Rene: No, this is just a brief introduction, right? So, if people read the Standard, they see every activity that we discussed is described in full detail. I think it’s worth it to read that and to take a deep dive into it and see what you want to use or not.

David: Yeah. I think the intent here is just to provide an overview. I know there’s a lot more granularity within the Standard. Certainly, this gets people pointed in the right direction of what’s going on here, and it helps them digest the rest of what’s there. 

So, Rene, thank you so much for your time. It’s always great to connect with you, and I appreciate your expertise around the ISA-95 Standard and all its parts and your many years of experience in manufacturing. Thank you again for joining. I look forward to seeing you on our future podcasts.