The Open Application Integration Group (OAGi), a U.S.-based, nonprofit consortium, has recognized the Systems Integration Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as an "outstanding contributor" organization. The award acknowledges the division's role in accelerating the development and adoption of OAGi standards for communicating among industrial suppliers and service providers and their customers.
OAGi develops standards that enable hassle-free exchanges of information and applications across global supply chains. Called BODs, for business object documents, the consortium's standards are now used by more than 3,500 businesses and other organizations in nearly 90 countries.
Over the 11 years that the division, part of NIST's Engineering Laboratory, has been an OAGi member, agency researchers have devised automated methods and testing tools for evaluating prototype software implementations of BOD standards. NIST's evaluations have flagged errors in premarket versions of standards and applications, improving the quality of the resulting commercial software and saving vendors and users time and money.
In the early 2000s, NIST played a key technical role in a proof-of-concept project that demonstrated the usefulness of OAGi BODs in automotive supply chains. These supply chains include not only original equipment manufacturers and their parts and materials suppliers but also transporters, warehouses, retailers, and even customers. Today, according to the consortium, OAGi's standards are used by businesses in 38 industries, including agriculture, chemical processing, metal working and various high-technology sectors.
"Integration and data quality problems impede efficient product development and manufacture and impose significant costs in time and money on American industry," explains Simon Frechette, leader of NIST's Information Modeling and Testing Group within the Engineering Laboratory.
In ongoing work, the NIST-OAGi collaboration is developing new standards intended to make it easier for American small and medium-sized manufacturers to communicate their manufacturing capabilities electronically.
"That first electronic handshake is very important," says Frechette. "Understanding how your customer communicates digital manufacturing data is a critical first step in any supply chain relationship."
Frechette and his colleagues received the award at the OAGi's annual meeting, hosted at NIST on April 25, 2012.