The effective management of any organisation demands a strong integrated structure capable of collecting accurate and timely information. A successful system demands that the relevant information is available to those who require it when it is needed. Database technology offers a means of achieving this integration. Using this approach, it is possible that all manufacturing functions may operate on a shared database system distributed across the shop floor.
The project is developed along two concurrent lines. Firstly it was realised that changing the method of manufacturing control without first optimising the manufacturing System would result in a lot of data redundancy/duplication. A cellular manufacturing system offers a solution to this by insuring continuous flow of material through the shop floor. A distributed heterarchical system is under development by the CIMS Research group to provide a computerized support system for this manufacturing strategy. This paper describes the design concepts, functions and software architecture of the cell management system and how it is used as a control mechanism for producing high quality and reliable products for a local company. Systems analysis of the manufacturing organisation was accomplished using structured analysis techniques, namely functional (IDEFO) and data (IDEF1IX) modelling. This system is designed using Oracle relational database software running in a Novell Netware local area network Environment.