appropriate starting point for a detailed study of CIM for the enterprise for two
reasons. First, product design departments have embraced and encouraged the
use of technology to reduce the many tedious manual tasks present in the design
and documentation of new and improved products. Although the automation
gain in thedesign area is good news, success is tempered by the fact that the
technology is not always implemented effectively. In many cases the design
automation solution fell far short of the standards set for CIM because the imple-
mentation had only a departmental focus.
Paacttortal aatoraattoa, the narrow view of automation isolated to a single
function or departmental area, appears to providesignificant productivity gains;
however, under careful analysis the benefits for the total enterprise are often
negative. For example, a case study of a manufacturer producing riding lawn
mowers uncovered three locations where functional automation was used to
produce product and part drawings: initial design (part and product design
drawings), marketing (service manual drawings and customerinformation), and
production (drawings to aid in the programming of metal—cutting machines).
The three areas, working in isolation with no enterprise»wide plan, chose differ-
ent automation hardware and software drawing solutions with ao compatibility
between the computer files created in each department. As a result, the benefit
for the enterprise was negative for a number of reasons: time waswasted enter-
ing redundant data, three separate computer images of the same product had to
be maintained, the number of drawing errors for the product increased by a fac-
tor of 3, product quality suffered due to the drawing errors, and production
costs were increased due to more part list errors and obsolete parts.
The second reason for starting with product design is because the initialcreation of product data starts there. Generation of design drawings for a new
product is one of the first activities in the design area. However, the format for
creation and storage of the design must be consistent with a basic CIM axiom
that demands the establishment of a single enterprise data base with ct single image of
all product infornzation. The implementation of a central data basefor all products
requires an enterprise CIM network where employees use computer technology
to access and share product data electronically.
A CIM local area network (LAN) to support product design is illustrated in
Figure 3-1. Study the network and find the storage location for the common data.
Note that the common data base is not restricted to the enterprise mainframe computer. Currentnetwork technology permits archiving of common part files on
storage devices across the network. In this example, product design drawings
would be saved on a computer in the LAN where most of the design activity
occurs. in addition, the network technology permits all nodes or users on the net-
work to access the common data distributed around the enterprise system through
the bridged LANs. Whenthis principle of common enterprise data is applied to
the riding-lawn-mower case study, the three different drawing systems are affect-
ed. Each system used to develop new mowers must be able to share a single draw-
ing file in the common enterprise data base. Typically, the product drawing origi-
nates in the design area and is used or modified by other departments. Building
CIM systemsaround a common data precept changes functional automation into
enterprise data integration: the topic of the remainder of the book.
The previous case study emphasizes the need for a comprehensive plan to
guide implementation of CIM across an enterprise. Therefore, an overview of
the CIM implementation process is presented before discussing of the product
design area in detail.