New Industry Network on Manufacturing Planning and Control

Eli Whitney

The Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) is launching a new network called the Manufacturing Planning and Control Group. This group will provide a forum to share common problems in planning and control and hear about new approaches being developed in industry and academia. It will meet in and around Cambridge around four times a year, providing an opportunity for you to meet and question leading experts on manufacturing and planning control issues. Visits will also be arranged to organisations of key importance to member companies.


Ever since Eli Whitney pioneered methods of mass production 200 years ago, manufacturers have been looking for an effective method of planning and control that makes the best use of available resources to satisfy customer demands. The introduction of MRP and its variants has brought immense benefits to industry but these approaches have failed to deliver a sufficiently effective level of planning and control.


The IfM's work with companies has revealed a range of common problems concerned with manufacturing planning and control. Many manufacturers find it difficult to manage their resources effectively - whether material, labour, machines, time or money - while at the same time trying to satisfy customers' expectations in relation to product quality, delivery, lead-times and increased product variants.


To operate in this business environment, companies need an effective manufacturing planning and control system that is integrated with their other management information systems and is capable of fast scheduling and rescheduling. In an era where rapid response is critical, many of today's planning and control solutions are not flexible to achieve this. The Manufacturing Planning and Control Group will provide its members with access to the latest research in this area, opportunities to network and share expertise in non-competitive areas, regular contact with the IfM team and opportunities to participate in education and training.


The first meeting will be held on 24 November at Downing College, Cambridge. There will be two interactive sessions. Tom Ridgman will highlight the concepts and principles that underpin the functionality of MRP II systems. Dr Derek Ford will lead an open session offering solutions to some of the problems that compromise the operational effectiveness of MRP II and ERP systems. Please see our events page for further information or email

Date published

20 October 2004

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