Production Management

In recent years, major advances have been made in the management of manufacturing activities. New techniques and methodologies, such as artificial intelligence and computer controlled manufacturing, have been developed to improve control and efficiency of manufacturing processes, to reduce waste, to increase worker productivity, to lower costs, to improve lead time performance, and to increase flexibility. These have had a significant impact on competitiveness.

The spread of these new technologies to firms has been uneven, however. Some companies have been able to implement only some of these techniques, others have not reaped their full potential, and some have let this revolution pass them by. Firms who have introduced these methods have not always been able to hire or train employees with the skills necessary to use them, or to fully understand how they may be used. Companies find that it is difficult to keep up with the rapid pace of change in this dynamic field.

A state-of-the art Manufacturing Management Laboratory that will be housed in the College of Business at JMU, will be a source of future mangers of high-tech manufacturing through a major course of study in manufacturing management. The laboratory will be an innovative, computer-based approach to undergraduate manufacturing planning and control instruction. Through utilizing a top-rated "industrial-strength" manufacturing planning and control (MPC) software, the Manufacturing Management Laboratory will enhance traditional operations management courses by providing students with a much-needed opportunity for hands-on experience.

This type of hands-on learning will enable our students to enter the job market with a distinct competitive advantage. Many companies including IBM, Marcam Corporation, Jobscope, and Pritsker Corporation have donated software, hardware, and monetary support to a similar project at Clemson University. While all manufacturing management programs offer courses in production and operations management (POM), relatively few have taken advantage of the educational potential of integrated planning and control software. Computer-based manufacturing planning and control (MPC) systems are widely used in industry to gain competitive advantage through integration and coordination of managerial activities. In collegiate settings, important operations management activities are taught and studied, often by sequential examination of discrete topics such as aggregate production planning, master production scheduling, capacity planning, material planning, and production activity control.

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Copyright JMU, 1999. 
Last update: May 19, 1999.