Permission was obtained to use the Textile/Clothing Technology Corporation (TC)2 as the test site for a prototype CIM system.
The strategy for implementing the prototype CIM system came from Dr. Young's CIM Systems Design course at North Carolina State University. The following are the main parts of his strategy that were to be undertaken at (TC)2:
More detailed descriptions of the three steps are as follows:
(1) To study the enterprise, the key employees need to be interviewed to determine:
All knowledge obtained in this stage should be documented. This documentation can be referenced in later stages of the CIM system design.
(2) Construction of the models drives a thorough study of the enterprise. An IDEF software package should be used to assist in constructing the models. IDEF modeling software helps enforce IDEF rules, speed up the model building and revising, and create professional-looking output.
One constraint for this particular project was that the software must operate on (TC)2's PCs. Another constraint was price, since the higher the price, the longer it would take to get the funds approved.
Tow IDEF software companies were contacted:
CASE loaned their software for use in the thesis project.
The IDEF0 model should describe (TC)2's manufacturing functions in enough detail to identify potential areas for CIM information automation.
From the knowledge and insight gained during the IDEF0 modeling, IDEF1 models can be constructed. The IDEF1 models are particularly helpful in the database design phase. Creating the models forces the database designers to establish and document definite relationships between the planned data tables. This documentation provides an excellent means of communication between the designers and implementers of the database. The models also help the designer identify and correct undesirable relationships before they become major problems in a database.
(3) The CIM database can be constructed from the IDEF models, the documentation, and the insight gained while studying and modeling the enterprise. In particular, the IDEF1 models describe the exact relationships between the tables in the relational database.
The CIM database should be implemented under a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS); ORACLE is the best RDBMS for a PC system [Young 1989]. SQL (Structured Query Language) is the industry standard for the database language [Savolainen 1988, 16]. Most commercial RDBMSs conform to some degree with the SQL standards. R:BASE is the RDBMS with the most support at (TC)2, so it was used for the prototype.