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Administration of manufacturing systems is the science, art and profession to lead such systems from a state of development to a different and better state of development. The processes of improving manufacturing systems are well known. One of these fundamental processes is the planning and control of materials, energy and information (MEI) flow.
Research, planning and control of the MEI flux is taught since the early days of Taylor's industrial management, but it was until 1975, when Joseph Orlicky (Orlicky, 1975) published his seminal book 'Materials Requirements Planning', when learning on this new techniques began.
For any enterprise, the focus of financial management is the capital flow. In enterprise resources planning (ERP) systems, production and financial management are the core function, while other modules either offer services or provide them; financial management reflects an enterprise's business performance and managerial efficiency (Zhu, 2006).
According to the cybernetic model of any viable system, there are five systems interactively involved in any organization that is capable of maintaining its identity and transcend independently of other organizations within a shared environment (Beer, 1989). If an organization survives in a particular sort of environment, it is viable.
All manufacturing systems are embedded in a continuously changing world economy system and environment. Success in global and local markets with social satisfaction requires constant unrelenting efforts to develop more viable manufacturing systems, aware of quality and sustainability.
The following brief systems concepts descriptions help understand the development of ERP systems (Laszlo, 2003, Crete Glossary. Communication for the ISSS 47th Annual Conference):
General system theory. The concepts, principles and models that are common to all kinds of systems and isomorphism among various types of systems.
System. A group of interacting components that keep some identifiable set of relationships with the sum of their components in addition to relationships (i.e. the systems themselves) to other entities.
Subsystem. A greater system's component is made up of two or more interacting and interdependent components. The subsystems of a system interact in order to attain their own purpose(s) and the purpose(s) of the systems in which they are embedded.
Model building. A disciplined inquiry by means of which a conceptual (abstract) system's representation is constructed or an expected outcome/output representation is portrayed.
There are models of function structure (like a still picture) and models of processes (like a motion picture).
Function. Denotes actions that have to be carried out in order to meet system's requirement and attain the purposes of the system.
Human activity system. A system with purpose that expresses some human activities of definite purpose; the activities belong to the real world.
Viable system model. It is a system able to maintain a separate existence, capable of maintaining its identity and transcend independently.
Environment. The context within which a system exists includes everything that may affect the system and may be affected by it at any given time.
Variety. Number of possible states that a system is capable of exhibiting (Beer, 1979).
GENERAL CONCEPTUAL MODEL OF A PRODUCTION SYSTEM
To build a general production systems model, the old philosophic Aristotle model of the four causes was used to begin the construction of the model as follows (See Figure 1 and Table 1):
The above initial model can be improved to become the Beer's viable system model (VSM) (1979, 1985, 1994; Espejo and Harden, 1989) to produce a better representation of an actual production system including fundamental functions which are also ERP functions.
The VSM presents a new way of looking at an organizational structure. It is a recursive model in which each successive unit is nested within the next …