A framework to guide the incremental implementation of a computer- integrated manufacturing system

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Virginia Tech


This thesis develops a framework to guide the incremental design and implementation of a Computer-Integrated Manufacturing System (CIMS). The framework is premised upon the facts that: (1) CIMS design is accomplished through a series of evaluation decisions sequenced through time and (2) evaluation is accomplished by decomposing the entire manufacturing organization into its essential activities and transactions. The effects of computerization on these activities and transactions are determined and these effects are then related to impacts on a set of selected evaluation criteria. Formal methods for benefit quantification are not included. The user of this framework is required to: (1) specify a set of relevant evaluation criteria, (2) define essential activities and transactions of their organization, and (3) derive organization-specific affect/impact relationships. The framework structures these activities for the user and suggests a series of matrices that can be used to guide the user through the steps of the framework.

Use of the framework is demonstrated as various aspects of an implementation decision currently being faced by a manufacturing organization are analyzed. The implementation decision concerns whether to implement a computerized production planning and scheduling system and aspects of the decision which are considered include impacts on organizational flexibility, responsiveness, and skills. The required changes in authority relationships and the assignment of task responsibilities are also considered. Using results from this case study, the usefulness and appropriateness of the framework was assessed. Although there was no quantitative measure available, the client deemed the framework useful for analyzing and guiding their implementation decision. Suggested improvements to the framework are presented.