The primary benefit of information systems is their ability to provide a user with the information needed to do any task effectively and efficiently. Computer databases and paper records provide data, but information systems provide the appropriate data about each user’s tasks in a format best suited to that user. Information systems can present real-time or archived data as needed and are adaptable to new or modified information requirements.
Through having integrated information in one system, all of the data is up to date. This is essential for all elements of the organisation ranging from marketing communications through to finance. An information system can be a boon to a manufacturing operation. If a production line stops, the real-time information provided can help the line operator quickly determine if the shutdown is the result of a mechanical failure, a lack of product or some other cause. The benefit is having immediate data converted to useful information presented to people who can act upon it.
Team members will be able to communicate better through having exactly the same information available to them at each time. Its saves having to mis-match data between systems and departments. Part of management is gathering and distributing information, and information systems can make this process more efficient by allowing managers to communicate rapidly. Email is quick and effective, but managers can use information systems even more efficiently by storing documents in folders that they share with the employees who need the information. This type of communication lets employees collaborate in a systematic way. Each employee can communicate additional information by making changes that the system tracks. The manager collects the inputs and sends the newly revised document to his target audience.
Due to the fact that data will not have to be replicated, there is less chance of human errors being made which leads to more accurate information available. An information system provides each user the information he needs to make decisions or take action. A sales manager looking at sales data may see an overall picture of her department’s activities during the current week, while a salesperson, using the same data set, sees his records displayed so that they indicate what customers have or haven’t been contacted. Digging the information out of a paper record system would take much longer, be more prone to missed data and cost more to produce than the time and expense needed by a clerical person to key in the data.
Using an integrated system to consolidate work in the accounting, HR, and payroll departments will reduce the number of hours that these teams spend on accounting and data reconciliation. By having an integrated financial system, there would be little to no need for data recapture, which translates to fewer human errors in financial data collection and processing.
Employees can spend more time on tasks that will help the business to grow, rather than having to replicate data and wait for information to be sent to them from other departments. By integrating business systems and implementing robotic process automation, industries can reassign their staff to more value-adding tasks. They can dramatically increase productivity by re-allocating your resources from tasks that require too much time and effort, such as theirpayroll processing, expense management, cash collection, financial consolidation, fulfillment, and invoicing, among others.
Custom formats make information systems more effective because the data is easier to use. A salesperson seeking information about his week’s productivity might see on his screen a list of his contacts and the recent purchase orders of each. The sales manager, based on the same data set, may see a pie chart showing each sales representative‘s share of total sales and a bar graph displaying the volume of sales for each product, while another screen might display the same data compared to an earlier time period. An accountant looking at the same data might have a listing of the dollars generated by each sales representative and the total dollars generated for each product.
Fully integrated, complete business systems such as NetSuite and Sage 200 have benefits across the entire organisation. It is a common misconception that such systems are only relevant to those in accounting roles. Eventura tailor systems to suit the individual organisation and ensure that the system works to the best of its ability for the clients overall organisation. This often includes the implementation of a CRM or ERP system which is beneficial for sales, marketing and admin functions as well as individual modules dependant on client requirements and operations.
(b) Briefly describe five (5) characteristics of manufacturing information. [10 marks]
Good information is that which is used and which creates value. Experience and research shows that good information has numerous qualities. Good information is relevant for its purpose, sufficiently accurate for its purpose, complete enough for the problem, reliable and targeted to the right person. It is also communicated in time for its purpose, contains the right level of detail and is communicated by an appropriate channel, i.e. one that is understandable to the user.
Information should be easy to obtain or access. Information kept in a book of some kind is only available and easy to access if you have the book to hand. A good example of availability is a telephone directory, as every institution has one for its local area. It is probably the first place you look for a local number. But nobody keeps the whole country’s telephone books so for numbers further afield you probably phone a directory enquiry number. For business premises, say for a hotel in London, you would probably use the Internet. Businesses used to keep customer details on a card-index system at the customer’s branch. If the customer visited a different branch a telephone call would be needed to check details. Now, with centralised computer systems, businesses like banks and building societies can access any customer’s data from any branch.
Information needs to be accurate enough for the use to which it is going to be put. To obtain information that is 100% accurate is usually unrealistic as it is likely to be too expensive to produce on time. The degree of accuracy depends upon the circumstances. At operational levels information may need to be accurate to the nearest penny – on a supermarket till receipt, for example. At tactical level department heads may see weekly summaries correct to the nearest £100, whereas at strategic level directors may look at comparing stores’ performances over several months to the nearest £100,000 per month.
Information should be relevant to the purpose for which it is required. It must be suitable. What is relevant for one manager may not be relevant for another. The user will become frustrated if information contains data irrelevant to the task in hand. For example, a market research company may give information on users’ perceptions of the quality of a product. This is not relevant for the manager who wants to know opinions on relative prices of the product and its rivals. The information gained would not be relevant to the purpose.
Information should contain all the details required by the user. Otherwise, it may not be useful as the basis for making a decision. For example, if an organisation is supplied with information regarding the costs of supplying a fleet of cars for the sales force, and servicing and maintenance costs are not included, then a costing based on the information supplied will be considerably underestimated. Ideally all the information needed for a particular decision should be available. However, this rarely happens; good information is often incomplete. To meet all the needs of the situation, you often have to collect it from a variety of sources.
Information should be in a form that is short enough to allow for its examination and use. There should be no extraneous information. For example, it is very common practice to summarise financial data and present this information, both in the form of figures and by using a chart or graph. We would say that the graph is more concise than the tables of figures as there is little or no extraneous information in the graph or chart. Clearly there is a trade-off between level of detail and conciseness.
Summarize the paper written by Peniak, Implementation of Information Systems in Manufacturing Area. Relate the information to a company or companies of your choices. Compare and contrast, giving recommendations where possible. [30 marks]
Manufacturing as part of the total firm or local company must be incorporated into the general business operations supported by the Information System of the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). ERP is an industry term for integrated, multi-module software applications that are designed to supply various business information system features like as order entry, overall leader, purchasing, warehousing, transport, manufacture and personnel. ERP enables corporate operations to be standardized and the best practice quickly reached (Peniak, 2006)
In the manufacturing field, the different strategy must be taken. IS systems not only give production control information in accordance with predefined regulations, they must also be developed to record real-time data as it is being made, and to assist manufacturers to respond on the basis of this information at this stage. The floor of the plant (ShopFloor) has special needs that necessitate a “active” system to immediately identify and notify any failure to comply. Managers of production need a system to manage differences, problem monitoring, and continuous improvement processes while implementing production regulations, operator certifications and corrective measures. The time factor must be changed to match the answer in real time [in seconds]. There are many issues about the direct implementation of transactional ERP systems for services in production areas. Specific functions and IT services were needed which could not just be provided by ERP.
The introduction of MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) in the middle layer was therefore necessary to establish a bridge between Enterprise Systems (e.g. ERP systems like SAP, PeopleSoft), and production automation systems on the plant ground (Machine Control). The system also resolves the problem of time transformation time between ERP system transactions and the need for machine controlling communications in real time.
In order to support the real-time processes and machinery control, the implementation of information systems in the production area and shop floors requires specific circumstances and building blocks. In order to obtain the required information for production control, recettes management etc., MES systems must be available in real time. In contrast to ERP systems that can be placed in central DPCs and accessed through WAN, MES systems are therefore to be implemented in local DPCs. The advent of new technologies, protocols and standards which have led to huge changes in the IT industry have been greatly influenced during the last decade. We can sum up the following:
Hardware infrastructure consolidation (Clusters, SAN, Grids,…) focusing on scalability, durability and operational support,
Real-time support and unsafe ways for implementation of database technology (SQL),
Use of open standards to interface various products and services (OPC, XML,…),
Effective IT procedures (rightsourcing, ITIL/ITSM) initiation.
DPC (Data Processing Center) integration in order to decrease redundancy and deliver reliable ERP and MES architecture.,
Information systems are one of the main components of production facilities. They must be implemented in a manner that ensures and allows necessary procedures and the creation of value. They will have to collaborate with ShopFloor control systems more and more and MES will have to be used to carry out missing functions and services in traditional ERP systems. In opposition to the ERP system, MES is a vital element in machine control integration and is implemented in local DPCs. In addition, fieldbus and control levels are used by open and approved standards like OPC to open communications and services with IS.
Discuss how ISA 95 standards, ISO 14649 standards for industrial automation apply in an industry of your choice.
A company that develops and sells a product is considered a vendor. For example, McDonalds Bricks in Bulawayo is a vendor who produces bricks for commercial and domestic customeers Vendors of Business Systems and/or Manufacturing Operations/Execution systems are concerned with the ISA 95 standard. There are many aspects associated to ISA 95 that a vendor can take in to consideration and benefit from when developing, marketing and selling their product.
ISA 95 provides a good understanding of the Enterprise/Control systems integration issue as well as of the MES/MOS field. It is therefore a good knowledgebase for each developer, system architect as well as product manager to have. The standard provides a good platform on which necessary and required discussions can be based.
Vendors can with advantage follow the terminology defined in ISA 95 part1. Each developer should have access to the full description of the words that he/she is concerned with in the development of his/her part of the product. For instance, in brick moulding, eache employee should be well aware of his duties, be it controlling fork lifts, manning conveyor belts, mixing mortar or manning the blast furnaces. This has the advantage of getting a well defined and consistently used terminology in the product.
Most MES/MOS products and Business systems has a built-in model of the plant. ISA 95 part 1 defines an equipment model that can be used as a basis for designing the plant objects. If object-oriented programming is used, the equipment objects shown in the equipment hierarchy can each be a class from which sub-classes can be derived.
ISA 95 part 3 does not intend to define how a product should be designed. However, this part of the standard is excellent to use a reference when discussing what functionalities are covered by the MES/MOS product. Some of the activities, e.g., scheduling, or data collection, might not be included in the MES/MOS product itself, but might be covered by another product from the same company.
ISA 95 part 2 presents the object models and the associated attributes. These models can be used in the database of the product. This makes it easy to construct a ISA 95 compliant interface and/or to support the B2MML schemas.
In IEC 62264 part 2, i.e., in the international version of the ISA 95 part2 standard, a section is dedicated to the definition of Completeness, Compliance, and Conformance
A company that uses and buys a product is considered an end-user. For example, Zimbabwe National Army is an end user of bricks made by Macdonalds. End-users of Business Systems and/or Manufacturing Operations/Execution systems are concerned with the ISA 95 standard, . There are many aspects associated to ISA 95 that an end-user can take in to consideration and benefit from when buying, evaluating and using a product.
An automation project can consist in integrating a Business/Enterprise system with a Manufacturing Operations systems. In such a project one important task is to identify and define the scope of the Enterprise and manufacturing operations to be automized. All the operations/activities/tasks might not be identified, defined or even understood. The ISA 95 Functional Enterprise-control model, see figure 2, can be used as a starting point to localize the functions and the data flows involved in the automation project.
An end-user sometimes has to compare the products of different vendors. ZNA can compoare products from Macdonalds Bricks with those from Homebricks, a rival competitor in the vicinity of MB. The vendors often present the capabilities and functionalities of their products in different ways. In order to get a good comparison and a good understanding of the different product, a good idea is to use the ISA 95 standard as a “universal language”, i.e., to translate the presentation of a vendor into ISA 95 terminology and then compare.
For each function figuring in the functional enterprise-control model a list of sub-functions is given. An end-user can benefit from this list by explicitly asking their different prospective vendors to specify which of the sub-functions they have covered by their products, in which product this function is contained and what it is named “in the language of the vendor”. The answers given by the different vendors can easily be compared.
Integrators are often involved when selecting a solution and when implementing the solution. In order to select a good solution it is necessary to have a good understanding of what functionality is needed and exactly what is expected from this functionality. Integrators therefore often have to analyze the user requirement specification very carefully. The standard can help structuring the work that the integrator has to make in order to successfully select a solution for MES.
• The very first task is to understand if the function the client is asking for is a function belonging to the Manufacturing Operations domain, or a function residing in the Enterprise system, or a function involving both systems. The functional enterprise-control model (Figure 2) gives a guideline for where different functions reside.
• If the integrator is concerned with requirements residing in the Manufacturing Operations domain, the standard can be used further, especially ISA 95 part 3 is of relevance. The requirements can be classified as belonging to production, maintenance, quality and/or inventory.
• Often an integrator is concerned with requirements that involve characteristics from production operations, maintenance operations, quality operations as well as from inventory operations. The requirements belonging to each of these groups can be further penetrated and classified according to the activities of the operations model, e.g., detailed scheduling, dispatching, data collection etc, compare figure 7 (production operations model).
• When the requirement is fully classified according to ISA 95 and thereby fully understood, it is much easier for the integrator to understand if some of the requirements can be merged and provided by one and only one application component of if the requirements are better implemented by different application components. The solution selection becomes much easier. It is also much easier to get in contact and to discuss with different vendors when it is known exactly what functionally is needed.
The ISA 95 standard is about Enterprise-Control system integration. This standard can be used with success by several different categories of people, vendors, end-users as well as by integrators. The standard is not written explicitly for any of those categories of people, yet it contains a lot of information and help for
• Vendors: designing and structuring a product
• End-users: structuring user-requirements and comparing products from different vendors.
• Integrators: understanding the user requirement specifications and selecting solutions
• As well as getting common terminology and models for the Enterprise-.control system integration domain and the Manufacturing Operations Domain This paper has briefly presented the ISA 95 standard and has listed some of the advantages that you can benefit from by knowing its content.
Johnsson, C. and Schumacher, H., Communication through B2MML – is that possible?, 2004, WBF.
Williams, T.J., The Purdue Enterprise Reference Architecture, A Technical Guide for CIM Planning and Implementation, 1992, ISA, ISBN 1-55617-265-6  ANSI/ISA 95.00.01-2000, Enterprise-Control System Integration Part 1: Models and Terminology, 2000, ISA
ANSI/ISA 95.00.02-2001, Enterprise-Control System Integration Part 2: Object Model Attributes, 2001, ISA
IEC/ISO 62264-1, Enterprise-control system integration – Part 1: Models and terminology, 2003, IEC.  Ray Walker, Using ISA95 to Automate manufacturing Operations (ppt-presentation), Presented at PlantSuccess 2003 Northeast