Advanced Manufacturing and Service Technology
8.1 Information technology
8.1.1 Enterprise resources planning (ERP)
ERP software helps plan and control various aspects of the extended enterprise. ERP was developed to expand the features of manufacturing resource planning (MRP II), which controlled the internal supply chain from business planning to supply chain execution.
ERP systems can include functions such as demand management, including forecasting and sales promotion; human resource management; product data management; document management; project management; business intelligence; sales planning; traditional manufacturing planning and control systems; and nontraditional pieces to facilitate lean manufacturing. ERP also can include accounting systems, maintenance systems, vertical supply chain planning (multi-plant planning), and distribution requirements planning (or their equivalents).
Quality management support is sometimes added to ERP, as well as failure mode and effects analysis, control plans, and statistical process control features. These applications all may be from a single supplier, or several different suppliers of best-of-breed solutions may be integrated. (See section 5.1.)
8.1.2 Electronic data interchange (EDI)
EDI is a way for a firm to communicate with customers and suppliers. In North America, various industry groups establish and publish standards for standard transaction sets. A common standard is by the Accredited Standards Committee X12 (ASC X12). The United Nations standard for EDI is called EDIFACT. EDIFACT is used for administration, commerce, and transportation. Electronic Business eXtensible Markup Language (ebXML) is a modular suite of specifications for conducting business over the Internet.
8.1.3 Electronic graphic interchange (EGI)
EGI is a standard for the digital representation of blueprints and other graphics.
8.1.4 Automated identification and data capture (AIDC)
Methods of automated identification are used to define and distinguish inventories by creating unique identifiers, usually in connection with data capture. AIDC is a set of technologies that collect data about objects and then transmit the data to a computer without any human intervention.
.1 Product codes
Machine-readable product codes often are affixed to a product or package to aid transactions of goods across the supply chain. Because these codes must be both understandable and unique in their uses across complex supply chains, organizations were created to assign and control product codes and their associated databases. Product codes have evolved for specialized use in areas such as health care and libraries.
Universal product code (UPC). UPC is a common product code standard in the United States. It is managed by GS1US, a successor organization to the Uniform Code Council.
European article number (EAN). EAN is a common product code in the European Union. EANs are managed by GS1, a leading global organization dedicated to the design and implementation of global standards and solutions to improve the efficiency and visibility of supply and demand chains globally and across sectors.
Other product code standards. Other countries have their own codes, such as
the Japanese article number in Japan. Such codes are collectively known as global trade item numbers and often are displayed as bar codes. (See section 126.96.36.199.)
.2 Radio frequency identification (RFID)
RFID is a wireless AIDC technology used to track and manage items. RFID uses electronic tags that contain data encoded onto an integrated circuit. A reading device sends an electromagnetic signal to the tag, which transmits its code back to the reader. There are three types of RFID tags (also called transponders): passive, active, and semi-passive.
Passive tags are not equipped with a battery. They are activated by a reader. Active tags are equipped with a battery that amplifies the signal transmitted back to the reader. Semi-passive tags, sometimes called battery-assisted passive tags, are equipped with batteries that energize built-in sensors.
.3 Bar codes
A bar code is a representation of information in a machine readable format. Bar codes are normally dark ink on a light background, creating high and low reflectance; this makes it easier for computers to read. Bar codes are widely used as part of AIDC systems for improving the speed and accuracy of data entry.
.4 Geographic information system (GIS)/global positioning system (GPS)
GIS is a system for capturing, storing, analyzing, and managing data and associated attributes spatially referenced to the planet. GIS is used for resource management, asset management, and logistics. Used in conjunction with a GPS, it can perform functions such as seeing the location of fleets to better consolidate and possibly backhaul, or the location of shipments en route.