Little, David, Rollins, Ralph, Peck, Matthew and Porter, Keith (2000) Integrated planning and scheduling in the engineer-to-order sector. International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 13 (6). pp. 545-554. ISSN 0951192X

The key focus in the 1990s for manufacturers of capital equipment and high-value goods has been to optimize their responsiveness to customer requirements without compromising the performance of their products. Important elements which underpin such agility must be the information links to the customer and the interfaces to key suppliers. The extended lead-time for engineer-to-order (ETO) products typically requires a review of the whole order fulfilment process and the software systems that support this to improve responsiveness. Research shows that a key factor for manufacturing responsiveness is the performance of the firm's manufacturing control function. Whilst there is a wide range of generic proprietary software available that meets a company's planning and scheduling requirements with varying degrees of success, the main difficulty lies in understanding the match between the business needs and the capabilities of the software. This is a particular problem for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which are common in the ETO sector. The EPSRC-funded work covered by this paper is aimed at developing novel planning and scheduling reference models for industrial sectors where the MRPII paradigm is not a good fit. The work is based upon detailed case studies within 13 industrial companies. This paper presents the research aims and objectives, gives an overview of the ETO sector, explains the data capture method used for the case study companies, and the use of extended event process chains and planning and scheduling process models which underpin the development of the reference models, and finally, presents and discusses the reference model for the ETO sector.

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