Original Date: 03/08/1999
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Electronic Manufacturing Management Information System
The Applied Research Laboratory at the Pennsylvania State University (ARL Penn State) is a partner in the re- engineering of the Navy Centers for electronics and electro-optics manufacturing. As such, the laboratory developed and implemented the Electronic Manufacturing Management Information System (EMMIS). This electronic, web- based network supports the Electronics Manufacturing Productivity Facility in its mission to assist the electronics manufacturing industry. The ARL Penn State houses the server.
Rather than centralize all operations at one facility, EMMIS’s organizational paradigms distribute operations to personnel at many organizations across the country. At the ARL Penn State, the Information Systems (IS) Department develops informational systems that support the business needs of these organizations. The IS Department accomplishes this task by using industry standard, Internet-based web and database technologies, customized to provide the needed functions. The success of a distributed-organization approach relies on effective communication. Individuals must be able to access current information regarding schedules, projects, customers, technical information, and technology transfer efforts from all locations. The EMMIS accomplishes this task through:
Searchable information databases for ongoing and completed projects (e.g., project plans, milestones, budgets, reports); Input and retrieval capabilities to locate data on customers and business partners (e.g., capabilities, interests, interactions with the organization); and
Server-based scheduling for personal calendars, business development efforts, and travel.
The EMMIS operates on a relational database server that is connected to the Internet via custom-developed web applications. This setup allows users to input information and retrieve data while being connected anywhere on the Internet. Most software applications reside on the users’ personal computers, so the ARL Penn State controls the distribution of release versions through mutual agreements. All data is centrally located on the EMMIS server, where it is managed and backed up on a regular basis. The system also contains a private site with restricted access, and a public site which is available to everyone. Users access the server via web browser platforms, and special purpose client software is provided for applications such as calendar systems or custom input/reporting functions. Other EMMIS capabilities include an online help system; a project management system; a technical library with online ordering and downloading of publications; a central management of customer data and interactions; a calendar; e-mail capabilities; and current schedules for training opportunities and training site information.
The EMMIS represents a significant advancement in virtual user communication and networking. The system provides access to information from any location and increases network efficiency. In the past, users could only download or distribute information at their offices, which diminished the value of time-related data. The EMMIS’s scalable architecture allows new capabilities to be developed by using the latest software tools and standards as they become available. This approach reduces obsolescence, promotes the sharing of data, and maintains security among users.
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