The company is experiencing 10–15% growth in revenues and volume, primarily tied to increased worldwide demand, product type, and market variables. Most significantly, the company received a major preorder for a new cellular phone memory chip that is scheduled to come out in 3 months. This preorder is scaled for up to 10 million units, and management is concerned that the existing process and system may not be suitably optimized for this order. Additionally, the forecast in sales figures for all six key product lines is higher than it has been in the past. With the increase in volume, management is concerned about the quality management process as well—can the existing processes maintain the highest degree of quality needed?
As a new member of the production planning management staff, you will be expected to help develop strategies to support the expanded growth plans. Your team faces several fundamental issues. First, are the individual plant layouts conducive to the expanded growth expected by the company? Second, are individual plant layouts optimized for the most efficient performance and lowest cost? Third, is the existing supply chain interaction among all the various components optimized in the same manner individual layouts are expected to be optimized? Finally, your group must consider capacity planning and workflow to ensure the company can meet its contractual obligations with the maximum revenue and profitability. It currently uses information systems developed by the company to conduct production planning. You believe that a fully integrated enterprise resource planning tool or specific production planning software would better suit the company in light of its upcoming increase in production.
Using course materials and other resources, research and identify potential software applications with consideration for the following:
- Should the company use an ERP package or specific manufacturing production planning utilities?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of each course of action?
- Identify the candidate pool of software you considered for selection, select a single product, and justify your reasoning. Some of those for consideration may include the following: SAP, i2, Seibel, and SAS for the larger ERP/CRM/SCM vendors. Alternatively, Production Scheduling, RSS Solutions, Preactor International, or others.