Exploring best practice across manufacturing’s sectors

The Aerospace Industry Centre

Stand 1750

This area is dedicated to examining the IT needs of aerospace companies and suppliers, and is sponsored by Manufacturing Products and Services (MAPS).

Seminars by organisations and firms including the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC), BAe, Avro, and Marconi will focus on best-practice in companies and suppliers which share information digitally, in a move towards concurrent engineering.

GKN will present talks on time reductions in design and reaping the benefits of enterprise resource planning, while Smiths Industries will look at using IT to improve supply chain effectiveness.

Maurice Hesford, SBAC head of operations, says: `One of the challenges in creating a digital economy will be identifying how to use the internet to improve efficiency.’ He says that despite the use of CADCAM, enterprise resource planning and other computer-aided techniques, internet use is still not widespread for accessing information. `There are important opportunities for procurement and product support on the internet,’ he believes.

The Process Industry Centre

Stand 450

Sponsored by software vendor Ross Systems, this area will offer a range of IT products for food, drink, energy, chemicals and pharmaceutical producers. The seminar programme features Ross, Carlsberg-Tetley, Ernst & Young and Sanderson Textiles.

The process industry accounts for over one fifth of the £3.4m IT spending by manufacturers, according to Benchmark Research. The process industries’ greater use of the internet to link geographically disparate sites has led to increasing demand for process synthesis: the ability to handle flow-sheets over the web.

Research by Ross Systems suggests 80% of food and drink process supply firms with over 200 staff have enterprise resource planning systems, but the figure falls to half for firms with 50-200 employees. `Although 90% of large firms have access to the internet, few staff have access,’ says Rod James, managing director of Ross Systems.

James suggests the key issues are how to use e-commerce to create business advantage and how to integrate internet technology with enterprise resource planning systems. `A lot of work is being won via web pages in the food industry, but how many of these orders interact with the ERP system, rather than being re-typed in?’ he says. `Many people have looked at the front end, others look at the back office end, but I’m not sure the front and the back have come together yet.’

The Automotive Industry Centre

Stand 1668

This centre, sponsored by Manufacturing Products and Services (MAPS), also focuses on the challenge of digital information transfer. Seminars will be devoted to improving communications throughout the supply chain, with talks by Rover, Federal Mogul Sintered Products, Ilog, PA Consulting and Avro.

Quality consultant TDA will identify key performance indicators to improve quality in auto production, while Williams F1 will reveal its formula for success in manufacturing.

The Design Technologies Centre

Stand 1730

This stand will present seminars on state-of the-art modelling systems and the issue of integrating design into the full enterprise picture. Deneb will present simulations of the digital factory; Solidworks, DataCad and Pathtrace introduce the latest modelling systems; and Xerox examines document management in the digital era.

The Management Arena

Stands 716 and 818

Sponsored by Peoplesoft, this area offers strategists an enterprise-wide overview of the manufacturing market. Julia Morton, Peoplesoft’s industry marketing manager, says the main theme is: `Examining the links between the supply chain and e-commerce, which offer a compelling vision of the future. All suppliers will become fully integrated, from sourcing and procurement through to the customer purchasing over the web.’

Seminars will be given by eXegeSys, ARC Advisory Group, EDI, Fujitsu Telecoms, Softlab and SAP consultant Diagonal.

The Manufacturing Leaders Symposium Stand 377

Sponsored by JBA, this area focuses on the strategic and financial pressures that drive IT implementations, with seminars by Xerox, Mars Electronics, Quaker Oats and Unigraphics.

Seminars devoted to `Networking and e-business’ will be held on stand 1740, sponsored by Cisco.

Manufacturing Systems Integration

Stand 1050

Sponsored by Aurega Enterprise Solutions. this stand will feature talks by Aurega, Rockwell Automation, Excel, Kestrel Injection Moulders, Siemens, Microsoft and Raytheon Consulting, exploring the next generation of PLC and PC-based control and shop-floor integration tools.

See page 6 for full seminar programme