Effective Use of MRP-Type Computer Systems to Support Manufacturing


Patty W. Cheng

Master's Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Virginia Tech in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of





C. Patrick Koelling

March 19, 1997
Blacksburg, Virginia


Within the last 30 years, Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP-type) computer systems have quickly evolved from basic materials requirement planning software to today’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) integrated software packages that reside on client/server computer architecture. However, given the magnitude of influence these computer systems encompass, very little research has been conducted to monitor and improve how companies are actually using these MRP, advanced MRP and ERP computer systems. In practical terms, where is the typical manufacturing organization today in terms of MRP systems development? To what extent is software being applied for use in enterprise integration?

A survey study of manufacturing companies in Virginia and Tennessee was conducted to evaluate the current use and performance of computer systems to support manufacturing applications. This study explores the reasons why organizations chose to use these systems, the problems and benefits derived from the MRP/ERP systems, and the characteristics of the types of companies that have benefited from the use of MRP-type systems. The survey participants evaluated the performance of their manufacturing or enterprise planning systems on the basis of data accuracy, customer satisfaction, user satisfaction, systems effectiveness, convenience, information relevance, and software reliability. Furthermore, success factors associated with organizational performance were tested and evaluated. The correlation between perceived performance was tested against the influence of upper management support, the level of emphasis on training, sources of technical expertise, and organizational experience with MRP-type systems.

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