Manufacturing and Executive Info System

1 - Background
2 - Executive and Management Information
3 - Production
4 - Forecasting
5 - Warehousing
6 - Accounts Receivable
7 - Communication and Updating
8 - Research and Development
9 - Materials Aging | Carrying Cost | Fast/Slow Moving

1 - Background.        

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  • This project was done for a manufacturing subsidiary of a multinational company.

  • It involved coordinating all the manufacturing functions, distilling relevant information and making such information available to relevant officers.

  • The project involved the elimination of duplicating keyboard entries, and other simplifications.

  • Communication between computers was achieved through the serial ports with the use of "TSRs" (terminate and stay resident programs in MSDOS). This scheme converted the one-to-one communication protocol of the RS232 port of the PC into a "one-to-many"/"many-to-one" system. Communication was achieved through Assembler and Turbo C version 2.0 computer languages.

  • Data base was managed via Foxpro 2.0, and was made to communicate with programs written in Assembler and Turbo C for lower level functions.

  • Data transfer between the manufacturing plant and the Head Office was achieved with the use of proprietary software to manage modem-to-modem communication.

  • Proprietary communication software was chosen to assure confidentiality in the transfer of data to and from the manufacturing plant.

  • The systems used here resided on PC-XTs, and PC-ATs, for the simple reason that higher level machines were the ones that were commonly available at the time.

2 - Executive and Management Information.        

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  • Information was specifically formulated to cater to the needs of the executive.

  • Profitability, aging of inventory, carrying cost of inventory, accounts receivable, fast and slow-moving materials, among others are provided on the executive's computer, who maybe anywhere in the world.

3 - Production.        

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  • The calculation of the amounts of raw materials for each product was performed automatically. An on-line monitor provides information on the amounts of raw materials available at the warehouse.

  • In this way, the system automatically informs the production manager that only a certain quantity of a specific product could be produced, given the availability of raw materials.

  • The formula for a product indicates the combination of each ingredient raw material that goes into a specific product.

  • In this way, the marketing group will not commit to sell more product than the manufacturing plant can produce at any given time.

  • The production system is linked to the research and development laboratory, the warehouse, and the forecasting systems.

4 - Forecasting.        

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  • Forecasting manages "minimum order quantities", "economic order quantities", "order lead times", etc., on the basis of sales order forecasts for each product-line.

  • Forecasting also provides financial planning and budgeting with the appropriate timely information.

5 - Warehousing.        

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  • Warehousing makes materials available to production.

  • They were provided a computerized view of the contents of the warehouse.

  • Such a system did not use a keyboard or a mouse to scroll through the contents of the database.

  • Viewing was done by way of switches attached to the side of the monitor so that the worker may "page through" the database without ruining the computer interface with the dust, or oil, or dirt on his hands and fingers.

  • The switches are almost immune to dirt, oil, grease, water, ets. And if they must be replaced, they are very inexpensive and can be procured from any electrical hardware store.

6 - Accounts Receivable.        

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  • Accounts receivable were linked to the information system in order to provide information on the impact of receivables on the company's profitability.

  • Information is plotted in a graphical manner in order to get a trend without looking at the actual number, although numbers were also available.

7 - Communication and Updating.        

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  • Updating each system was done through the serial ports. Later on, updating was performed by way of networked computers.

  • One feature is the non-standard (or proprietary) communication software via modem-to-modem communication.

  • This method enables the organization to transfer sensitive information with a relatively high level of security.

  • A technical feature of this system is the conversion of the one-to-one PC serial port to be able to communicate with many PCs, and for many PCs to communicate with a master PC.

  • PC-XTs and PC-ATs were used for these systems.

8 - Research and Development.        

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  • The Research and Development Department continually developed new products, or received new instructions from the company headquarters in Europe.

  • Entry of the formula of a new product was made here.

  • Such formulae are accessed by production for the appropriate combination of raw materials to meet orders from the Sales Department.

  • At the same time, the Forecasting System is also able to give information for orders for raw materials.

9 - Materials Aging | Carrying Cost | Fast/Slow Moving.        

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  • Aging, carrying cost, fast/slow movement are interrelated realities.

  • They deal with the efficiency with which materials are used. For example, financing for the procurement of raw material "X" was taken out at the rate of 16% per annum. If "X" has not moved at all, the company incurs expense each review period amounting to the equivalent of 16% applied to that review period. There can come a time, when the carrying cost of this raw material may equal or exceed its acquisition cost, making its cost double when used at this time.

  • Certain raw materials in inventory do not move at all, some are slow and some are very fast.

  • These behavior of inventory are quantified and plotted almost real-time.

  • With the quantified effect on the company, a decision could be made for each element of raw material to either keep, sell, or find a product to sell that could use them, in order to minimize the detrimental effect on the company finances.