The competitiveness of industrial enterprises is increasingly governed by their flexibility and their ability to respond proactively to new customer demands, to changes of the market or in the society. or by new technologies as they are rapidly evolving in information processing. Managing these changes in a well-controlled way is one key challenge to any enterprise, today and even more in the future.
Enterprise Integration (EI) reduces the development time of an industrial product, increase its quality, provides decision support and creates an industrial environment where the production of goods will be based on market requirements. True, all programs, systems, computers, workstations and numerically controlled machines, robots etc. have been devised and installed with exactly this objective in mind. However, all of these automated or semi-automated components of the operational system require complex information transfer between people, departments, equipment, workplaces as well as between companies. This transfer process is very error prone, slow and very inefficient. Currently employed concepts like lean and agile manufacturing, the extended or virtual enterprise and organisational structures as Business Process orientation and Re-Engineering are attempting to provide a more efficient way of operating and managing the enterprise. They may still be inadequate to meet the overall objectives :
The concept of Enterprise Integration (EI) contains four keywords:
Figure 1: Enterprise integration of machines, computers and people
The Enterprise whether large or small is the governing domain of industrial work and It is represented by its internal operation and their relations to its environment (customers, suppliers, society at large).
Integration in the context of EI means that our enterprise works as a set of co-operating processes. Integration identifies the need for transferring and using information and provides the base for providing relevant information, at processing time, at processing location. Information about products, manufacturing and business processes as well as planning decisions.
People play the most important role in enterprise integration. Humans plan, manage and execute the enterprise business. They operate and program manufacturing and office equipment, use computer systems and use and produce information which in turn is used by other people or by the equipment itself.
Computers provide the supporting technology without which the vast amounts of information in even small enterprises may not be handled any more. However, a technology which should remain transparent to the user, only to enable us to work more effectively and efficiently in solving the operational problems of our business.
Manufacturing refers to all industrial activities in the enterprise necessary for design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of enterprise products (physical goods or services).
Enterprise Integration has been the subject of research and development and industrial applications for quite a number of years but under various names addressing all or part of enterprise integration. However a commonly accepted unifying framework for enterprise integration is still needed to establish and use enterprise integration in industry and to harvest all its potential benefits.
CIMOSA is an ESPRIT supported pre-normative development which provides a framework based on the system life cycle concept together with a modelling language and definitions of a methodology and supporting technology. The CIMOSA concepts have been validated by several ESPRIT projects and have been submitted for standardisation as well.
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email@example.com, 28.02.1996 (last update: 02.03.1996)