Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours


Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering


Hardware and software developments of this decade have exposed an hiatus between business/management applications and process control in heavy industry in the implementation of computer technology. This document examines the development of discrete manufacturing and of relevant implementations of computing. It seeks to examine and to clarify the issues involved in a perceived current drive to bridge this gap, to integrate all the systems in a manufacturing enterprise in a Manufacturing Execution System (MES) in order to address two hypotheses: I) That overseas trends towards the development of manufacturing execution systems have application in the Australian industrial context. 2) That significant gains in production efficiency and quality may be achieved by the application of an MES. It became apparent early in this study that any understanding the function of an MES requires an understanding of the context in which it works. Following the Introduction, therefore, Section Two contains a brief overview of the history and development of modem industry with particular attention to the subject of inventory and inventory management. Since the 1970s, three main streams of change in manufacturing management methodology developed. These are dealt with in some detail in Section Three. Section Four outlines a variety of areas of increasing computerisation on the shop floor while Section Five addresses the integration of the whole system, management and shop floor, seeking to demonstrate the complexity of the subject and to discover current trends and developments. Section Five includes a survey of some of the software and hardware options currently available and Section Six summarises the work and presents some observations and conclusions. Three appendices provide more detailed information on MES software availability, pricing and market penetration