a 2- to 3-page (@ 400 wpp) response to the
How might Riordan
Manufacturing assess the business value delivered by an outsourcing
What are International Truck’s
needs and how could cloud computing and virtualization be used to help them
with their need for timely information, their interface with dealers, and the
extension of systems into the vehicles?
Note. Use “Case Study” posted
in the Week 3 Individual Assignment thread of the Course Materials forum to
answer the second question.
CASE STUDY: (from Management information
systems for the information age (8th
Service-oriented architectures (SoAs) do seem to be the future for
integrated IT systems within an organization, bringing together both
applications and information in a seamless fashion. But SoAs are still in their
infancy, and some companies don’t want to wait until they mature. They are
willing to bet on a service oriented architecture right now. One such company is
International Truck and Engine Corporation. International Truck’s SoA resulted from
needing more timely information so it could identify assembly-plant problems
sooner. Its current IT systems, all legacy information systems, didn’t share
information easily, and that led to bottlenecks in production, excessive defects
and returns, shortfalls in inventory, and a host of other problems that can
spell doom for a manufacturing-intensive company like International Truck.
So, the company
forged ahead in embracing an SoA, knowing that it would be able to buy many of
the software components that it needed and that others would have to be written
from scratch by in-house IT specialists. The first focus for International Truck
was the Common Vehicle Tracking system, a system that tracks production
according to a specific vehicle or vehicle type. International truck produces
everything from RV motor homes to military transports.
Common Vehicle Tracking system was a high profile, high-payoff project with a
tight deadline. The company expected the system to save it at least $3 million
annually. The system, now complete and installed in one factory, tracks in near
real time all information relating to works-in-progress and finished inventory.
Prior to its implementation, Art Data, Vice President of Information Technology
at International Truck, succinctly explained “We weren’t doing it very well.”
International Truck’s legacy systems stored isolated data and information in
applications such as computer aided manufacturing, in-house developed order
management, and even commercial ERP software. The new system uses a combination of many
different types of software, one of the primary goals of a service-oriented
architecture. For example, it uses a data integration tool from SSA Global to
extract information from International Truck’s Baan ERP system. From there,
in-house developed software bridges to the order management
International Truck is also working on an SoA extension to interface
with the systems of its dealers. The company already has a centralized server
that its 400 dealers use to access parts catalogs and sales tools. However,
dealers can choose their own internal dealer management software systems. This
makes communicating information in a common format problematic, at best.
International Truck is currently working with automotive industry software
vendors to create common services (i.e., software modules) that will communicate
information in a standard format. In the future, International Truck will
even extend its SoA architecture perspective into the vehicles themselves. Using
the vehicles’ electronics system, GPS, and cellular technology, owners of the
trucks will be able to track the location of their vehicles.