June 1999

Information Systems

Linking the plant floor to the enterprise: benefits and pitfalls

Understand data needs of business and production systems for better integration

Connecting the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to the plant has high value in today's market where manufacturing enterprises are moving from an era of mass production toward "mass customization." Business systems and plant systems must be tightly coupled to reduce decision cycle times and increase plant productivity. This coupling is an integration effort that is often overlooked in implementing the ERP system. Enterprises generally expect the business processes between plant and ERP systems to be straightforward. This is rarely the case, because plant systems serve dramatically different needs and address very different issues from ERP systems. Effective integration means

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