The second segment of enterprise computing is
the one of how the user views and manipulates the database. Today,
the graphical user interface (GUI) has become the standard. Users
want to point and click, open and close windows, and forget all
the arcane commands and special keys they have ever had to know.
It's not just enough to view the data on a
screen through a GUI format. How you view the data is much more
important. A view is a presentation of a segment of the database
that a specific user needs. While the materials manager and the
materials analyst both use the same data, they view it
differently. The materials manager looks for trends, cost
implications of inventory, and safety stock issues. The analyst is
looking for shortage information, delivery dates and MRS
dispositions. They both need to construct views that provide them
with information and they need to be able to easily modify those
views to meet changing situations. The challenge is that they, not
MIS, will do this. Using a point-and-click front end, users today
can literally pick from a menu of choices, and assemble an inquiry
or report that might generate many lines of programming that they
are completely unaware of. And, this can be done in minutes. The
ability to give users the tools to view their own domains as they
need reduces the cost of technical support. Maybe just as
important however, it yields more current information on which to
base real-time decisions.
It used to be that if a user wanted certain
rules adhered to, they need to be programmed into any program that
affected that data. An example would be if any time the on-hand
balance of a part came within 10% of the reorder level, an on-line
notice would be provided. This meant that if five programs updated
balances, all five programs would need to carry this validation.
You can imagine the cost of maintaining this when a change was
needed to the rule, or the consistency if more than one programmer
needed to effect the change. In a modern RDB, the rule can be
programmed into the database as a stored procedure. This means
that when the balance falls below 10% of the reorder value, the
database will trigger a notice to the user. Programs that access
balances do not need to maintain the rules anymore, the database
will. And, a needed change to the rule is done in only one place.
Now the user can enforce policies and procedures with consistency,
and much more rapidly.
One of the most powerful benefits to the user
of an enterprise system is its flexibility. Under a non-RDB
system, adding data elements or changing the information that
needed to be captured meant a change to the architecture of the
database. This meant lots of system design and programming effort,
and it took a long time. Suppose you wanted to be notified any
time a certain product was received so you could capture serial
number information for only those parts. Further, this need arose
after the inventory system was fully implemented. With a fully
robust RDBMS, the database administrator can add the columns
(fields) needed to capture the data. An experienced user or
support person would write a procedure to recognize the event and
could cause a window to pop up on the user's screen asking for the
serial number information. Today, this task would take a few days.
In older systems this task would take weeks or months to complete.
Where does all this leave us? Enterprise
systems with their databases and tools are providing users with
unprecedented access to information, and with greater ease than
ever before. They also are providing companies with an alternative
to being able to move databases and software between hardware
platforms without massive data conversions and software rewrites.
We will save time, money and human resources. But that's only half
Today, users truly are harnessing all the power
of computing at their keyboards. The can access data from their
own databases and others in real time and mostly without any
required programming skills. Text and graphics are being worked on
by groups simultaneously and assembled as needed. Point-and-click
devices, touch screens, and voice-activated data capture are
making our experiences with computers much easier.
The Enterprise System capability is here. It is not yet
affordable to all, but that barrier is diminishing rapidly as the
cost of hardware falls. As the power of information technology
passes to the users or owners of the information, so does the
opportunity to transform the enterprise into a more highly
competitive and profitable organization. Businesses will be able
to make a higher quality decision, in a shorter period of time,
and at less cost than ever before.
stay current on bullet-proofed manufacturing solutions, subscribe to
ezine, "The Business Basics and Best Practices Bulletin."
Simply fill in the below form and click on the subscribe button.
also send you our free
Special Report, "Five Change
Initiatives for Personal and Company Success."
personal information will never
be disclosed to any third party.
leaders have a responsibility to educate and train their team
members. Help for developing a self-directed, World Class
Manufacturing training program for your people is just a click
are welcomed to print and share this bulletin with your
manufacturing teams, peers, suppliers and upper management ...
better yet, have them signup for their own copy at:
the escalating spam-wars, it's also a good idea to WHITELIST
our bulletin mailing domain via your filtering software or
This will help guarantee that your bulletin is never deleted
Knowledge you’ll not find at offsite
seminars nor in the books at Amazon.com
Lean Manufacturing - Balanced Scorecard
ISO 9000:2000 - Strategic Planning - Supply Chain
Management - MRP Vs Lean Exercises - Kaizen Blitz
Lean Six Sigma - Value Stream Mapping
All at one Website: Good
Six Sigma Training Thinking
Out of the Box
Supply Chain Inventory Management Total
Quality Management Principles
Manufacturing Implementation Lean