Denton, Paul and Hodgson, A. (1999) Can SMEs Afford MRP? In: ICPR-15 Manufacturing for a global market. Dept. of Manufacturing and Operations Engineering, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland, pp. 735-738. ISBN 9781874653561

An increasing number of manufacturing businesses are placing direct emphasis on operations management as a means of achieving competitive success in the contemporary performance measures of quality, speed and price. The use of information technology (IT) and business systems as a strategic weapon can be seen as a basis for achieving this end.
The capabilities that manufacturing companies need to acquire in this situation include flexibility and innovation. Flexibility implies the ability to change swiftly and effectively, while innovation means the ability to renew and update products quickly. Packaged, advanced business systems such as Material Requirements Planning (MRP) can provide some of the above capabilities. This paper considers the transition from the identification of key business strategies to the choice of computer systems and supporting implementation techniques. The resource constraints of small companies are identified and the implications of these considered, leading to a choice of specification and implementation for an industrial case study. The paper investigates the business requirements for the application and implementation of a packaged, MRP-based system in a small manufacturing company and suggests a conceptual framework based on experiences, to-date at the study company. This work is further supported by a small survey of similar companies and by the Teaching Company Directorate.

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