Computers in Design and Manufacturing

Integrated Resource MangementComputers are playing an increasingly important role in our lives. Keeping pace with the application of the latest technology is a challenge for all of us. In the food industry, as in manufacturing in general, computers are being put to use designing food products, processing foods and managing the operations and resources of a food processing plant. A manufacturer needs to keep up with the latest technology to remain competitive.

Computer-based systems in manufacturing are known as CAD, CAM,MRPII, and CIM. Although their use is more limited in the food industry than in other manufacturing environments, these concepts are gaining importance rapidly in their application to food processing.

APICS, the American Production and Inventory Control Society, defines the acronyms representing the various computer-based systems as follows:

CAD (Computer-Aided Design) - The use of computers in interactive engineering drawing and storage of designs. Programs complete the layout, geometric transformations, projections, rotations, magnifications and interval (cross-section) views of a part and its relationship with other parts.

CAM (Computer- Aided Manufacturing) - Use of computers to program, direct and control production equipment in the fabrication of manufactured items.

MRPII (Manufacturing Resource Planning) - A method for the effective planning of all resources of a manufacturing company.

CIM (Computer-Integrated Manufacturing) - The integration of the total manufacturing organization through the use of computer systems and managerial philosophies that improve the organization's effectiveness; the application of a computer to bridge various computerized systems and connect them into a coherent, integrated whole. For example, budgets, CAD/CAM, process controls, groups technology systems, MRPII, financial reporting systems, etc., are linked and interfaced.


More about MRP II

MRP II is a computer-based, business information management tool that helps manufacturers produce the "correct" products at the "correct" time. MRP II, used effectively, integrates all company functions in support of overall corporate strategy, utilizing accurate, consistent and timely information.

MRP II is an American technology that has evolved gradually over the last 30 years. Benefits to MRP II users include reduced delivery lead times, reduced product shortages, reduced investment in inventories, immediate performance measurements and reporting, faster new product introductions, better cost controls, increased productivity and improved quality of work life.

Companies that have been highly successful at implementing MRP II, or the Class A users, all have two things in common: 1) Detailed education programs for their employees and 2) Employees who are committed to supporting and maintaining the data integrity of the system.

The purpose of this module is to give you a high-level overview of the multiple, interconnecting disciplines that must be joined in a single, people-oriented system of checks and balances to accomplish the MRP II style of management. You will see that MRP II, used effectively, is a top-down management control system using a computer- based model to guide decision making. This model relies on feedback from the bottom up to correct its assumptions and to reflect reality. This process is called closed-loop management.