The importance of Information Management in the modern Job Shop

First I think it would be good to define what a Job shop is.  According to Wikipedia, Job shops are typically small manufacturing operations that handle specialized manufacturing processes such as small customer orders or small batch jobs. Job shops typically move on to different jobs (possibly with different customers) when each job is completed.  By nature of this type of manufacturing operation, job shops are usually specialized in skill and processes. In computer science the problem of job shop scheduling is considered strongly NP-hard.

A typical example would be a machine shop that makes components for the aerospace industry.  Most parts on airplanes are made in relatively small quantities compared to iPods. Other types of common job shops are grinding, honing, jig-boring, and gear manufacturing shops.  The opposite would be continuous flow manufactures such as textile, steel, and food manufacturing.

Because Job Shops do not know from one day to the next exactly what jobs they may receive from their customers, good information management is extremely important.   Consider that a typical 50 person machine shop might have 100-200 jobs flowing through their shop at any time.  Then consider that each of those jobs has anywhere from 100 to 500 or more details associated with them.  Details such as dimensions, MIL specs, customer specifications, delivery information, outsourcing information, special notes, etc, etc…    It’s easy to see that the volume of information that must be managed can become overwhelming without extremely good information management.    If even one piece of information is missed, the shop has a potential quality and/or delivery problem.

CNC Industries, Inc. a medium sized job shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana has developed a proprietary information management system.    Comprised of a software and hardware solution, their ERP system has been custom written to very precisely meet their needs.   The ERP system, known as Job Manager II tracks all aspects of every job as it moves through the shop.    The system collects as well as disseminates information to every person in the company in real-time.

Now in its second version, Job Manager II has given CNC industries, Inc. a very distinct advantage in quality and on-time delivery performance.

Reference:

Wikipedia – Information management (IM) is the collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences. This sometimes involves those who have a stake in, or a right to that information.  Management means the organization of and control over the structure, processing and delivery of information.

Throughout the 1970s this was largely limited to files, file maintenance, and the life cycle management of paper-based files, other media and records. With the proliferation of information technology starting in the 1970s, the job of information management took on a new light, and also began to include the field of Data maintenance. No longer was information management a simple job that could be performed by almost anyone. An understanding of the technology involved, and the theory behind it became necessary. As information storage shifted to electronic means, this became more and more difficult. By the late 1990s when information was regularly disseminated across computer networks and by other electronic means, network managers, in a sense, became information managers. Those individuals found themselves tasked with increasingly complex tasks, hardware and software. With the latest tools available, information management has become a powerful resource and a large expense for many organizations.

In short, information management entails organizing, retrieving, acquiring and maintaining information. It is closely related to and overlapping with the practice of Data Management.

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CNC Industries is a Fort Wayne, Indiana based machine shop specializing in precision CNC machining, fabrication and assembly of application-critical and custom machined parts for the Aerospace, Defense, Medical, Industrial and Transportation  markets.   The company presently employs approximately 55 people.

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June 30th, 2009|Tags: |