There is usually quite a big difference in the nature of various manufacturing enterprises. Each manufacturing enterprise's products may be very unique, their manufacturing processes are often quite different and their strategies may vary greatly. However, the types of data that manufacturing enterprises capture are actually very similar; thus, there are great benefits that can be derived by taking advantage of common, reusable data structures or "universal data models."
While there are several universal data models available for many aspects of manufacturing such as design engineering, manufacturing orders, process plans and production runs, this article focuses on one of the most critical data areas required in manufacturing, namely: products, parts, (inventory) items and the deployment of manufactured goods at customer locations. Please note that the examples used in this article are based upon some of the models in the manufacturing chapter of The Data Model Resource Book, Volume 2 (Wiley, 2001) and that only partial models were excerpted. Also note that the models in this article are more geared toward discrete manufacturers versus process manufacturers, although some of the concepts will apply even for process manufacturers.
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