your manufacturing systems living up to their expectations?
Are they simple to operate? Do they function as the real
communication system for your plant? Companies whose
people answer "no" to these questions often pay the price
of having frustrated users running dual systems without achieving
the benefits originally projected from their implementation.
Although there are many more successful
manufacturing systems in place today than ever before,
there are also more people questioning the value of the
ones they have. One major issue is their complexity.
manufacturers have employed what appeared to
be a continuous improvement process for developing and updating
their manufacturing systems. As technology improved,
old systems were replaced with newer ones to take advantage
of new functionality and hardware capabilities. Many
of these decisions to "improve" were made with an eye on
the technology rather than on the practical use of the systems,
often creating a complex environment for the users.
usage patterns were established in individual companies,
modifications were made to the software and certain parts
of the systems were discarded. These systems evolved over
time, sometimes without a guiding strategy, and often following
strategies that changed when new "fad" technologies
and philosophies became popular, or when management
reason for complexity in today's systems is the drive
for more capabilities and higher levels of precision. As software
companies made modifications for individual customers,
they added many of these modifications to their standard
packages. Users' groups have also added to the standard
offerings by pressuring their suppliers for changes and
added functions. Sorting out the right combination of options
for a specific application has become quite difficult.
application of software to a business can create its own complexity.
Over structuring routings, bills of material, and
work center files can cause unnecessary work. Utilizing
parts of the software that do not fit a given business can create
non-value-added activities for the users.
software does not always contain all of the features and
functions that exist in the systems already in use. There
is a great temptation to keep some of the old systems in
place after new ones are installed. Changing the new systems
to work like the old ones also leads to complexity.