Any discussion of an IPP cannot avoid the word computer for long because it is the computer that has made possible many manufacturers’ achievement of integration among previously separate functions. Thus, we begin our study of the IPP with an overview of CIM. Computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) uses computer technology to link people, equipment, policies, procedures, information, and business strategy into an integrated manufacturing process. A major driver behind ERP system development was the desired achievement of integrated software that would facilitate the demands of CIM and link IPP with other key business processes such as purchasing and sales.
Figure 14.2 depicts a typical IPP architecture organized by functions. As individual components are discussed, consult the figure to see how the parts fit together. The remainder of this section is organized into the categories shown in the large rectangles at the bottom of Figure 14.2.