For the last thirty years, manufacturers have attempted to integrate their information systems. The benefits of doing this for a manufacturer are both obvious and significant. Despite this, however, case studies describing centrally designed and integrated manufacturing information systems have been largely restricted to larger organisations. While it is not unusual for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to link some of their sub-systems, it remains relatively rare for such businesses to attempt to design and implement a single, integrated information system from the top down. This paper reports on a systems development project undertaken by the Manchester based SME, S+B Ltd. The company initiated an ambitious Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project in 2016 with the goal of designing and implementing fully integrated systems that embraced Computer Aided Design (CAD), manufacturing technology and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). The projects objectives were three-fold; first to improve efficiency and eliminate duplication of effort. Second, to reduce the number of errors that are created by the ad-hoc transfer of data between sub-systems. Third and most important, to reduce the number of times information was transferred between sub-systems to shorten lead-times to customers. This paper reports on the various steps undertaken during the project from the initial process mapping exercise through to the implementation of the new systems.
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