SUNConferences, Computers and Industrial Engineering 42

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E-Manufacturing: A framework for increasing manufacturing resource utilisation.
Lungile Nyanga, Andre Van Der Merwe, Stephen Matope, Nkgatho Tlale

Last modified: 2012-06-15


Manufacturers worldwide have shifted from the traditional mass production strategy to a more customer friendly and flexible make per order strategy. Competition is no longer limited only to product quality and price but also encompasses delivery, product differentiation and great services. Due to globalisation manufacturing companies in South Africa are competing with companies in developed nations which have experienced rapid technology change in the last decade. SMMEs in South African manufacturing sector can take advantage of the opportunities created by cross-enterprise collaboration enabled by the exponential growth of the Internet. The paper presents a proposed framework which enables sharing of manufacturing resources to enable SMMEs to overcome their limitation in resources. The names of manufacturers and machinery available for different operations at any given time are obtained from a public registry that gives information on the manufacturing capabilities and capacities of manufacturers. Manufacturers send request for quotes (RFQs) for operations they require of machinery available and are replied with quotes. A multi agent system (MAS) is utilised to analyse the quotes. The framework seeks to create an internetwork of machinery to minimise bottlenecks, level machine workloads, increase machine utilisation, improve line and labour balancing in an industrial cluster.

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