edge is not in the individual modules or functions, no matter how
important or robust those might be. It is, instead, in the
integration of those functions, so that the ERP system serves as the
communications medium for the entire organization.
First, let's review a little background. ERP evolved in the
mid-1980s and 1990s from MRP II, which had evolved in the late 1970s
from MRP. Because ERP systems do not yet incorporate all business
information and communications functions of most manufacturers, we
have created a new term, Total Enterprise Integration (TEI), to
describe the concept. The evolution of these systems is illustrated
in figure 1.
The power of TEI or ERP is in the integration across the entire
manufacturing company, and out through the supply chain to customers
and suppliers. It is in the communication, letting everyone know the
full ramifications of a new order that was just received, or a
supplier shipment that will be late, or a quality hold on an
outgoing shipment, or unscheduled maintenance on a given machine. It
is the intelligent use of work flow to push responsibility to the
most appropriate decision-makers in the organization, while
maintaining proper budgetary and operational controls.
Figure 2 illustrates the high-level integration across a complete
TEI system. This presentation will outline some of the highlights of
the key areas of integration.
We have organized the TEI functions into the following groupings:
1. executive support
2. customer integration
3. engineering integration
4. manufacturing integration
5. support services integration.
TEI systems are the means of communicating executive direction
throughout the company; they also provide information that enables
executives to get better answers to questions, and to project more
accurately the probable business results of their decisions. Many
executive-level TEI systems are spreadsheet or PC-based, still
outside of typical ERP functionality. The functions in this area
include the following.
A strategic plan, properly created and communicated throughout the
organization, is absolutely vital for a company's long-term
prosperity. A well-implemented TEI system can provide essential
support for communicating the tactics that implement strategy, and
for providing feedback about the results of the company's efforts.
Marketing listens to the customer to create the environment in which
the customer decides to buy. This includes defining new products and
services that the customer wants, and providing the means for the
customer to understand how the products benefit their business. Two
techniques that can be successfully applied to determine what the
customer really wants are voice of the customer (VOC) and qual-
ity functional deployment (QFD). Marketing also maintains the new
product idea database.
Voice of the Customer
VOC is a proven methodology for quickly and economically
determining, ranking, and quantifying the needs, wants, and
expectations that drive customer decision-making. A VOC audit
involves selecting and interviewing key executives from selected
customers to learn what they really want. VOC information forms the
basis for designing the TEI/ERP integration with each customer,
because each customer can potentially be integrated into a
manufacturer's system in a different way. VOC information also is
the basic input into QFD.
To Be Continued
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