Control of Manufacturing Systems Research Paper Starter

Control of Manufacturing Systems

(Research Starters)

Effective functioning requires that manufacturers control their operations through careful monitoring on a consistent basis. This article describes eight operations intrinsic to manufacturing: The sales function, ordering function, inventory management, product tracking, labor tracking, quality control, distribution, and overall planning and control. It discusses how these affect the manufacturing process and examines two crucial elements for the control of manufacturing systems: Good communication and effective tools. Finally, the article defines terms and concepts that are relevant to the topic of the control of manufacturing systems.

Keywords Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP); Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS); Just-in-time (JIT); Kanban; Lean Manufacturing; Manufacture; Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRPII); Material Requirements Planning (MRP); Radio Frequency Identification (RFID); Remanufacturing; RFID Tag; Stochastic

Manufacturing: Control of Manufacturing Systems

Overview

Effective functioning requires that manufacturers control their operations through careful monitoring on a consistent basis. For purposes of this article, we will consider the control of the following eight operations that are intrinsic to manufacturing:

  • Sales Function
  • Ordering Function
  • Inventory Management
  • Product Tracking
  • Labor Tracking
  • Quality Control
  • Distribution
  • Overall Planning and Control.

In order to successfully control these eight operations in the manufacturing process (the "manufacturing systems"), a manufacturer needs to employ a control strategy that capitalizes on two crucial elements:

  • Good Communication
  • Appropriate Tools.

Note: Although manufacturing may involve the making of products by hand or by machine, this article will focus on manufacturing by machine.

Applications

This section briefly describes nine operations that are intrinsic to the manufacturing process and examines two crucial elements in the control of manufacturing systems.

Operations Intrinsic to the Manufacturing Process

Eight operations are intrinsic to the manufacturing process. Although there may be additional operations within a manufacturing company, such as a separate purchasing or marketing department, we will consider the control of manufacturing systems to encompass the control of the following eight operations:

  • Sales Function
  • Ordering Function
  • Inventory Management
  • Product Tracking
  • Labor Tracking
  • Quality Control
  • Distribution
  • Overall Planning and Control.

Sales Function

The first operation that is intrinsic to the manufacturing process is the sales function. Sales drive many subsequent functions in the manufacturing process including ordering, inventory management, product tracking, job control, distribution, and overall planning. A good sales team strikes the proper balance between selling a product and overselling. Overselling a product occurs when a salesperson promises a customer more than the manufacturer can comfortably deliver. For example, the customer agrees to purchase more products than can be produced or delivered within the agreed upon delivery date.

Ordering Function

The second operation that is intrinsic to the manufacturing process is the ordering function. The ordering of the manufactured product for customers usually originates from the sales team. The ordering of the supplies and parts necessary to manufacture products usually originates from employees with a specific purchasing role. As you might expect, it is essential that orders — whether for products or parts and supplies — are accurately placed and tracked.

Inventory Management

The third operation that is intrinsic to the manufacturing process is inventory management. Inventory management is central to controlling manufacturing systems. In fact, modern automation advances have resulted from lean manufacturing strategies for inventory management, such as Just-in-time (JIT) and kanban techniques.

Product Tracking

The fourth operation that is intrinsic to the manufacturing process is product tracking. Product tracking refers to methods for identifying the status and progression of all stages of a product from each step of manufacture to final distribution to the customer. The goal is to be able to quickly identify the product's stage at any time during the progression.

Labor Tracking

The fifth operation that is intrinsic to the manufacturing process is labor tracking. Labor tracking refers to procedures for quickly determining the number and identities of employees who are performing specific job functions, on specific products, at specific times. Labor costs constitute a large part of a manufacturer's budget and the availability of labor affects a manufacturer's production rate, so labor tracking is crucial to controlling manufacturing systems.

Quality Control

The sixth operation that is intrinsic to the manufacturing process is quality control. Quality control refers to the methods that ensure the product is being manufactured meets the customer's specifications at a satisfactory cost to the manufacturer. Quality control can be initiated before the manufacturing process even begins through a process known as "design for manufacturability (DFM)." DFM involves the tailoring of product designs to eliminate manufacturing difficulties and minimize costs (Rosen, 2007). Quality control can also be implemented by performing inspection and testing procedures during various stages of the manufacturing process. Manufacturers will usually employ more than one procedure for quality control.

Distribution

The seventh operation that is intrinsic to the manufacturing process is distribution. Distribution refers to delivery of the manufactured product from the manufacturing facility to the customer. Distribution might involve multiple distribution points. For example, the product may be moved by the manufacturer from the manufacturing facility to a warehouse. From there, an outside trucking company may move the product to a rail or airport terminal. After the rail or air journey, another truck may deliver the product to the customer.

Overall Planning

The last operation that is intrinsic to the manufacturing process is overall planning and control. Overall planning and control is listed last not because it is the least important factor, but because it includes the previous seven operations. Overall planning and control constitutes the master plan for controlling all the manufacturing systems. Frequently, the computerized mechanism for creating and managing the overall plan is achieved by utilizing a system that is labeled as one of the following:

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
  • Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRPII).

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

An ERP system integrates information from all the departments in the manufacturing company and is used by all the departments ("Enterprise resource planning," 2007).

Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRPII)

MRPII is a system for planning, controlling, and integrating all the resources associated with manufacturing, including finance and distribution (Ralston, 1996). MRPII evolved from Material Requirements Planning (MRP), a system for planning all the material requirements in a company (Ralston, 1996).

Control of Manufacturing Systems: Two Crucial Elements

The control of manufacturing systems depends upon two crucial elements:

  • Good Communication
  • Effective Tools.

Good Communication

Good communication is the first crucial element for the control of manufacturing systems. We read and hear so much about the necessity for good communication in professional and personal situations that the phrase begins to sound trite. However, good communication within and across the departments of a company is absolutely essential to any strategy for effectively controlling manufacturing systems. So, what exactly are the characteristics of "good communication" in this scenario? Good communication will exhibit the following three...

(The entire section is 3775 words.)