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Development Of Riordan Manufacturing Incorporated Industry

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Introduction

Riordan Manufacturing Incorporated is an industry leader in plastic injection molding. State-of-the art design capabilities allow creation of innovative plastic designs that have earned international acclaim. Attention to detail, extreme precision and enthusiastic quality controls are hallmarks of Riordan Manufacturing. With facilities in San Jose, California, Albany, Georgia, Pontiac, Michigan and Hangzhou, China, we have the capacity to fulfill the unique needs of any organization. Riordan Industries, a Fortune 1000 enterprise, own Riordan Manufacturing.

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“Riordan Manufacturing has requested recommendations that will improve their inventory and/or their manufacturing processes. The SDLC process will be used starting with recommendation through the implementation phases. We will also explore several options to automate the inventory process to a just in time system in an effort to reduce the amount of working capitol needed for inventory.” (Apollo, 2006)

Background of Situation

The slow consolidation of the operational processes of two divisions with different non-compatible operation software’s has become a financial threat to Riordan Manufacturing. The current situation of the Financial and Accounting systems between the division’s in Michigan and Georgia has required increased labor to process information. Each division lacks modern technology that is needed to run a highly efficient corporation. Government documents and consolidated reports are delivered late due to the delay in the reporting systems.

Expected Results

Expectation is a complete consolidation. Meaning that integration of the two systems to reduce the chaos, this currently occurs between the Michigan and Georgia locations. We expect a reduction of the soft costs that are associated with the inefficient operating system that are currently employed at Riordan through integration and upgrading of the two systems. Riordan’s technology needs to be upgraded to a level that will last a minimum of five years without becoming obsolete. Upgrading the system will make the integration run smoother. Documents due to the government will arrive on time.

A presentation will be prepared for presenting to the Riordan executive management team in two weeks. The presentation will include the description of request based on the problem statement, and the SDLC process that the team has used to determine the best solution that will meet the needs of the Riordan request.

Description of request

Riordan Manufacturing requires upgrading of infrastructure between all locations. Along with the upgrades software implementation is needed that can handle the finance and accounting needs of the entire organization in one program. Riordan Manufacturing is requesting that software be identified and/or developed that will meet the business requirements that will enhance processing information throughout the organization and provide an improved productive process.

Riordan has a standard process for planning the implementation or changes of new process improvements through the SDLC process. The Systems Development Life Cycle template will be a valuable tool when applying the new software and infrastructure upgrades.

The Systems Development Life Cycle

Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) emphasizes decision processes that influence system cost and usefulness. These decisions must be based on full consideration of business processes, functional requirements, and economic and technical feasibility in order to produce an effective system. The primary objectives of any SDLC are to deliver quality systems that: 1) meet or exceed customer expectations when promised and within cost estimates, 2) work effectively and efficiently within the current and planned information technology infrastructure, and 3) are inexpensive to maintain and cost-effective to enhance. This SDLC establishes a logical order of events for conducting system development that is controlled, measured, documented, and ultimately improved.

Riordan Manufacturing SDLC Process

There are four main stages in setting up a new computer system:

  1. Analysis – studying the problem
  2. Design – designing a solution
  3. Implementation – putting the solution into effect and testing the changes
  4. Evaluation – checking that the solution is working as intended.

Analysis

Developing and activating a new computer system is a long process. For this reason, Riordan is breaking the process down into smaller stages, each one requiring a different set of professional skills. An important part of this process is the first stage – analysis. This involves finding out whether the new system is needed at all and exactly what it will be used for. Analysis is all about looking at how a job is done at present and seeing if using the computer could do the job better. A systems analyst from Riordan has been directed to visit each plant location to collect the following information:

Observe staff at work – It is important to include the staff when analyzing system needs. It was during this stage of the project that the systems analyst identified the need of wireless units for most manufacturing facilities. The costs of installing wireless access points was determined to fit the current business environment better, due to the lack of available workstation locations inside the plant.

Interview staff about their work

Send out questionnaires about working practices

Inspect documents such as forms, invoices and receipts – the systems analysis produced all of the hard copy documents that are currently printed in one office location such as: the packing slips, invoices, and production orders. Providing wireless, hand-held units will eliminate 50% of the printed hard documents that is sent to the manufacturing floor. Information regarding the customer’s requirements was gathered in order to develop consistent forms within SAP, making the transition seamless to the customer.

Feasibility Study

Having investigated the present system, the systems analyst will produce a feasibility study. This will look at whether the new system is:

Technically feasible – is the new system technically possible to implement in the time available?

Economically viable – will the cost of the new system be offset by savings once it is implemented? In other words will it save the organization money?

Only if the answers to both these questions are yes is the project likely to continue to the next stage. At this point the decision-makers in the organization, such as the board of directors in a company, decide whether to go ahead. Once it has been decided that the new SAP system should go ahead, the next step is to draw up a requirements specification saying exactly what the new system will do.

What Hardware Is Needed?

The VP of Manufacturing has submitted a capital budget calling for $1 million of new manufacturing equipment and supplies. Individual workstations are required for each facility.

A back-up server will be installed at each satellite location.

Access points for wireless technology will be required.

The system will be networked, allowing all locations to access the system in real time. The main server will be located at the corporate headquarters, while back-up servers will be located in all satellite locations.

What Software Is Needed?

The SAP certified NLINK CoNNector for SAP R/3 is the most affordable and comprehensive connection method available for integrating SAP R/3 to any external system. As well as supporting the standard SAP R/3 communication methods, (IDOC, BAPI, RFC and BDC), the advanced features allow a company to perform any desired SAP R/3 operations without custom ABAP programming. The NLINK CoNNector for SAP R/3 uses an ultra-thin, non-invasive configuration-based approach providing tremendous flexibility that allows for rapid integration and evolution as your business processes develop without requiring anything to be installed on your SAP R/3 system. No custom code is involved which significantly minimizes upgrade and maintenance issues. The NLINK CoNNector for SAP R/3 is available for use with SAP R/3 releases 3.1H and up, including those systems that use SAP NetWeaverTM (Junot, 2006).

The NLINK RFID Solution for SAP R/3 is a fully integrated product, created through a partnership between Junot Systems and Cathexis Innovations, to address the pressing need for seamless real-time integration between RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) devices and SAP R/3 (Junot, 2006). The SAP R3 version will provide all of the necessary software that is required for use in the manufacturing, warehousing, and sales departments. The software package will include the Inventory Management, Warehouse Management, and Materials Management modules. In addition the Sales and Distribution module will be implemented during the second phase, which will take place within six months of the initial installation.

What Inputs Are Needed?

Once the requirements are known, the system can be designed. For the system to work, all the following must be designed to meet Riordan’s requirements, such as:

  • Inputs will include all of the parameters for the:
  • Material master
  • Customer master information
  • Bills of material
  • Transit times and delivery requirement parameters
  • What processing must take place?
  • What information needs to be output?
  • Designing the system

Data Capture Forms

Riordan requires electronic data transmission forms to capture Internet orders placed by the customer. The new SAP system must allow incoming transmissions and tracking.

Output Formats

The outputs must include automatic shipping notifications to customers. The shipping department must have the capability of creating shipping documents, packing slips and other output options.

File structures

Files must be archived in a database file and easily retrieved. The information from SAP must also be integrated with Business Warehouse software for reporting sales history.

Implementing the system

Implementation is the next stage of developing a new system, after design. This is where the new system is installed, including:

Writing programs – SAP will provide the basic software package for the modules purchased. There are defined programs that will need to be written to interface with the current barcode labeling equipment. Also the RF (Radio Frequency) program in the warehouse management module will require modifications to work with the current hardware.

Purchasing hardware and software

Once the project proposal is approved by the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) and CIO (Chief Information Officer) a purchase requisition will be submitted for creating the purchase order to secure the hardware and software.

Writing user documentation

Testing the system using the test plan

Installing networks

Training staff

User documentation

User documentation is the instructions that will help the user use the new system. It will include:

A user guide

Installation details

Input and output samples

Screen shots

Error messages (troubleshooting)

“Go-live” Process

When the system is ready to go on-line there are different ways of changing to the new system:

Parallel running – running both the old and new system until the implementation team is certain the new system is working correctly. Parallel running is likely to be the most expensive as it involves doing the work twice a long period. However, it is the safest. If there are any bugs in the new system, the company can continue using the old system while the problems are corrected.

Pilot Changeover – Launching the new applications in a small part of the company to start with. A supermarket introducing a new ‘self-scanning’ system might choose to introduce it in two or three stores at first. This is a pilot changeover.

Direct changeover – the old system is scrapped and immediately replaced by the new system. This is very risky and should be avoided, as there may still be problems with the new system.

Evaluation is the final stage of developing a new system after implementation.

This checks that the system has met the original requirements, is working properly and easy to use. Can it be improved further? Does it need modifying? Mainly, the system is analyzing – starting the same systems analysis process all over again.

Security Requirements

The security of the new software and infrastructure upgrades must equal or exceed the current security requirements in use.

Availability Requirements

While the work is being done to upgrade the current solution we will work to minimize any down time with the system. A minimum of a two-hour notice will be communicated to all users prior to any systems or applications being taken off line. Once the system or applications are back in operation there will be a communication to inform the users as well.

Storage Capacity

We will need to address the current storage and measure against what our recommendations will require. Currently the primary storage is housed at the PC level and the secondary storage is in the San Jose Headquarters. Storage has increased significantly with the new generation of mainframe computers. Mainframe computers remain the computing platform of choice for mission- critical applications. Once the mainframe is selected and recommended we will be able to decide what the best storage solution will be. Likely the solution will be measure in the terabyte category. One terabyte is equal to 1024 gigabytes and approximately 1 trillion bytes. The next level of measurement in storage memory is known as the petabyte. The petabyte is equal to 1024 terabytes and approximately 1 quadrillion bytes

User Requirements

Defining the “User”

The users are identified and the levels of security are set based on the activities of the user. Limits of authorization must be established for each set of users to allow access to only the specific area needed. Some users are allowed “display access” only to areas that are not within their specific job descriptions.

Internal Users and functional requirements for each user

Purchasing

The purchasing agent must be able to enter purchase orders for raw material items used for the production process. The available inventory of these items must be visible to purchasing personnel and the system must account for the items consumed and items received.

Manufacturing personnel

The manufacturing personnel must have visibility of planned production orders that the system plans based on current sales orders and a forecast established with reorder points to replenish finished goods inventory

Inventory Control personnel

Inventory Control must have access to onhand quantities of finished goods and raw materials. The system must provide methods for cycle counting to maintain accurate inventories.

Customer Service

Customer Service personnel must have visibility of available finished goods to communicate firm promise dates to customers. The system will provide these dates based on the manufacturing parameters and transit times established and maintained in the system (SAP, 2006).

User requirements

One of the most frequent causes of failure in software projects is a non-existent or inadequate statement of what the software is supposed to do. Identifying the user requirements means finding out what the system needs to do to accomplish the objectives of the company. Riordan Manufacturing has assembled a cross-functional team of associates that will be responsible for using the new integrated system to provide direct input from the experienced personnel. The system must be compatible for all manufacturing and corporate facilities to generate information systematically. The system needs to allow visibility from the beginning of the process and all the way through the entire supply chain.

The system will plan production orders based on previous sales history, and established reorder points. Customer service will schedule customer orders on the Available to promise date in the system. The system must account for raw material inventory and finished goods inventory, back flush raw materials listed in the bill of material of each product.

Conclusion

Now more than ever, companies need to know in real-time exactly what is happening in their supply chains so that they can minimize the impact of outages and exceptions and plan accordingly. The NLINK RFID Solution for SAP R/3 allows them to do this quickly, easily, more comprehensively and more cost-effectively than was previously possible. It allows the user to build business logic into any transaction. Business logic is easily configured and changed for evolving business requirements, all without programming (Junot, 2006). NLINK RFID package of SAP R/3 will cover all of Riordan Manufacturing Incorporated inventory control, labor costs, production processes, and consolidate all manufacturing faculties into one system and meet the required business needs for the entire corporation.

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