The performance of SMEs in the manufacturing sector can improve through better management of all information on the factory floor.
An EPRSC project at Cambridge University, UK (Blessing et al 2000) which focused on information search and retrieval, underscore the importance of the management of all information as a prerequisite for an efficient process in the development of new products by SMEs. This refers to the accessibility and usefulness of all inter-organisational and intra-organisational information including factual and experience. Similar results are obtained in a research that was carried out at the University of York, UK and reported in a doctoral thesis (Okike 2010) with a focus on factory floor operations.
The result shows that SMEs are vulnerable to the inefficiencies associated with manual operation process because they apply technology in piecemeal. The work done by Okike (2010) shows over 80% of information is lost in the form of experience which is stored in the operator outside the formal information system. The consequences of not managing information use include an extended learning curve, negative impact on operator satisfaction and production cycle time among others. An indication of the areas of cost in respect of one SME is shown using the traffic light method.
The service is at the cutting edge of information application and data management in production control and our work has been accepted for publication in two top rated research journals. Articles in press are 1) Okike, C., & Fernandes, K. J. Impact of information use architecture on load and usability. Information Processing and Management (2012), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ipm.2012.04.003. 2) Okike, C., & Fernandes, K. J. and Xiong, Y. Impact of operator experience on information feedback and reusability. Production Planning & Control. (2012).