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The overall objective of the paper is to point out how multilevel concepts and techniques can be applied in the process control field. The approach provides a framework for the structuring and design of a control and management information system for achieving a totally integrated plant automation. The multilevel concepts are classified in terms of strata, layers, and echelons and the use of these concepts in the systems engineering process is discussed. Available techniques and theoretical results are briefly reviewed and the advantages of the multilevel approach in application to large scale systems are enumerated. A number of existing hierarchical installations in industry are briefly described in order to put into practical context the ideas and concepts presented here.