A generic approach, employing information systems, for introducing manufacturing information systems in SMEs
This thesis presents an approach which the small and medium size firms can use in-house to introduce manufacturing information systems. The approach developed is generic and employs information system design and analysis techniques to guide Small and Medium size Enterprises (SME's) from specification of their need, right through to the implementation of an appropriate solution. Although there are various tools and methodologies that are available for large organisations needs, none are available for SME's. Therefore, the approach presented in this thesis provides original and significant improvements on current practice. The approach emphasises the importance of taking a company wide approach to analyse systems throughout its various departments to establish bad practices and system flaws which may impinge on the performance of the manufacturing operations. The research involved three independent stages. The first stage was the identification of the problem which was realised from two sources: literature survey and interviews with case study company managers. The second stage was the development of a novel approach. The final stage included the validation of the approach by implementing it in five different SMEs in the Devon and Cornwall region. Through the use of this work, company's are encouraged to improve ownership and commitment to the manufacturing information systems by fully involving the relevant company personnel in identifying and resolving various problems. The approach proposed also helps managers understand how the various processes work in other areas of company, and can subsequently lead to improvements in other departments.