This paper introduces a model of best practice in the computerization of manufacturing systems, by drawing on the practical experience of senior managers of both manufacturing and information management in Taiwan and the UK. The design used both qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques to examine the implementation and integration of information systems support for manufacturing (ISSM). The investigation was conducted in three main phases. A series of qualitative case studies was conducted on the use of ISSM in 21 Taiwanese companies and 3 government organizations. Within-case and cross-case analysis showed that the six most important elements of ISSM implementation and integration are: the nature of manufacturing systems, ISSM and related software subsystems, barriers to ISSM, facilitators to ISSM, measured benefits from ISSM investment, and the level of ISSM integration. A preliminary development of a model of ISSM was then used to design a questionnaire for case studies analysis to examine ISSM in Taiwan and the UK. A comparison of ISSM in the two countries suggests that Taiwanese manufacturers have created platforms on which to build advanced manufacturing systems, are aware of the problems, and have plans to overcome them. UK firms had more experience with ISSM, and more organizations had achieved highly integrated manufacturing systems. Both countries appear to be moving toward similar designs for their enterprise resource planning and supply chain management systems.
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