Aspects of the design and operation of production control systems in manufacturing industry
Computerised production control developments have concentrated on Manufacturing Resources Planning (MRP II) systems. The literature suggests however, that despite the massive investment in hardware, software and management education, successful implementation of such systems in manufacturing industries has proved difficult. This thesis reviews the development of production planning and control systems, in particular, investigates the causes of failures in implementing MRP/MRP II systems in industrial environments and argues that the centralised and top-down planning structure, as well as the routine operational methodology of such systems, is inherently prone to failure. The thesis reviews the control benefits of cellular manufacturing systems but concludes that in more dynamic manufacturing environments, techniques such as Kanban are inappropriate. The basic shortcomings of MRP II systems are highlighted and a new enhanced operational methodology based on distributed planning and control principles is introduced. Distributed Manufacturing Resources Planning (DMRP), was developed as a capacity sensitive production planning and control solution for cellular manufacturing environments. The system utilises cell based, independently operated MRP II systems, integrated into a plant-wide control system through a Local Area Network. The potential benefits of adopting the system in industrial environments is discussed and the results of computer simulation experiments to compare the performance of the DMRP system against the conventional MRP II systems presented. DMRP methodology is shown to offer significant potential advantages which include ease of implementation, cost effectiveness, capacity sensitivity, shorter manufacturing lead times, lower working in progress levels and improved customer service.