Managers must understand that short-term goals must support the long-term goal of managing Computer Integrated Manufacturing. Top management establishes long-term goals for the company and envisions the general direction of the company. The middle management then creates objectives to achieve this goal. Upper management sees the focus as being very broad, whereas middle management must have a more narrow focus.
In deciding to managing Computer Integrated Manufacturing, there are three perspectives that must be considered: the conceptual plan, the logical plan, and the physical plan. The conceptual plan is used to demonstrate a knowledgeable understanding of the elements of Computer Integrated Manufacturing and how they are related and managed. Thacker goes on to say that the conceptual plan states that by integrating the elements of a business, a manager will produce results better and faster than those same elements working independently.
The logical plan organizes the functional elements and logically demonstrates the relationships and dependencies between the elements. Thacker details that it further shows how to plan and control the business, how to develop and connect an application, communications, and database network.
The physical plan contains the actual requirements for setting the Computer Integrated Manufacturing system in place. These requirements can include equipment such as hardware, software, and work cells. The plan is a layout of where the computers, work stations, robots, applications, and databases are located in order to optimize their use within the Computer Integrated Manufacturing and within the company. According to Thacker, sooner or later it becomes the Computer Integrated Manufacturing implementation plan for the enterprise.
Computer Integrated Manufacturing is challenged by technical and cultural boundaries. The technical challenge is first complicated by the varying applications involved. Thacker claims that it is also complicated by the number of vendors that the Computer Integrated Manufacturing serves as well as incompatibility problems among systems and lack of standards for data storage, formatting, and communications. Companies must also have people who are well-trained in the various aspects of Computer Integrated Manufacturing. They must be able to understand the applications, technology, and communications and integration requirements of the technology.
Computer Integrated Manufacturing cultural problems begin within the division of functional units within the company such as engineering design, manufacturing engineering, process planning, marketing, finance, operations, information systems, materials control, field service, distribution, quality, and production planning. Computer Integrated Manufacturing requires these functional units to act as whole and not separate entities. The planning process represents a significant commitment by the company implementing it. Although the costs of implementing the environment are substantial, the benefits once the system is in place greatly outweigh the costs. The implementation process should ensure that there is a common goal and a common understanding of the company’s objectives and that the priority functions are being accomplished by all areas of the company according to Jorgensen and Krause.