Applications of ICT - Planning & Controlling Operations
Students will be familiar with the principles of stock management from the AS level studies. Increasingly, businesses use real time data from EPOS, on-line stores and electronic sales ledgers to drive their re-order processes.
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) facilitates exchange of orders between different businesses and allows Just In Time stock ordering. Other businesses place orders electronically once production schedules have been set for the next period.
With computerised stock control, businesses should be able to check stock levels almost on a real-time basis. Stock checks are still required to reconcile stock levels that may be incorrect due to faults in scanning or because of pilferage or other wastage.
CAD/CAM - Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacture
Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture are two systems that tend to work together.
Computer Aided Design helps design products on computers, rather than having to create endless drawings. The system can create realistic 3D images of the finished product.
CAD also allows virtual testing of the product before it is actually made, dramatically reducing lead times and minimising waste in new product development.
As CAD acts together with CAM, its outputs are designed to optimise designs for efficient manufacture with CAM systems.
CAM uses computers to control tooling such as CNC and other robotised machinery. Benefits would be expected to include; improved quality, reduced wastage, faster production and less reliance on labour, in other words, it is more capital intensive. In many cases, CAM facilitates the manufacture of designs that would have been impossible without this technology.
The key Project Management tool that appears in A-level Business Studies is Critical Path Analysis (CPA), also known as Network Analysis – see separate Tutor2U revision note for details of CPA.
Project Planning software, such as Microsoft Project, allows project managers to enter tasks, lead times, dependencies and staff skills and availability, even allowing for holiday, and the system will produce an optimised work schedule. Any student who has attempted to produce even a simple CPA will appreciate how helpful such a software package would be!
The system produces regular reports for project managers to check progress and take any corrective action. Networked versions enable different people to query the system and keep it up to date.
Copyright Microsoft – source http://download.microsoft.com/download/2/9/d/29d9b1f1-f875-430e-8138-8d0a23dbd1c4/ProjectStdGuide.doc
MRP/ERP – Management Resource Planning/Enterprise Resource Planning
These are names for computer systems that attempt to manage the whole company and draw together all aspects of its operations and administration. In practice, this is a considerable challenge and the software firms that offer this service tend to do so by integrating a number of existing systems to allow them to ‘talk’ to one another by exchanging data.
Students with a particular interest in ICT might wish to do their own research about ‘middleware’ and XML, a set of data standards that software developers adopt to help with systems integration.
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