Representatives at the meeting developed a charter that will formalize the goals and objectives being set out and will clarify who is responsible for what.
According to Procter & Gamble’s Rob Aleksa, a significant portion of the meeting consisted of representatives from each of the two groups familiarizing themselves with what the other group does. “We continued the ongoing process of identifying areas of commonality and worked toward agreeing on a common language,” says Aleksa.
In addition to exploring ways of achieving greater horizontal integration by more tightly synchronizing production and packaging, the group also began to discuss ways of communicating data from machines in a vertical fashion, i.e., from the plant floor to the top-floor levels where ERP systems reside.
Armed now with a charter, the group is beginning to envision the possibility that their work could lead to an American national standard, possibly through ISA or ANSI. The ultimate goal remains the same as always: to bring value to packaged goods companies, OEMs, and technology providers by seeking widely accepted standards that will make it easier and less costly for OEMs to build processing and packaging equipment.
Aleksa also emphasizes that the WBF/OMAC initiative would benefit greatly from greater involvement by additional packaged goods manufacturers. Such involvement, says Aleksa, would help the group accomplish a key goal: To make sure that whatever emerges from their work is something that fits the needs of as many end users as possible.