Management information systems : a proposal for an integrated system for a Ferroalloy production facility

Hearn, Anthony Michael (1996-12)

Thesis (MBA (Business Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 1996.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The ferroalloy industry is, in contrast to the operationally complicated chemical industry, very reliant on the wealth of experience that has been built up by the operating personnel over a long period of time. The industry has not been at the forefront of technical development and has, in many respects, lagged behind in technological development. Information technology is one such area that has not received its fair share of attention. This study resulted from the requirement that the control systems of the submerged arc furnaces at the Samancor Meyerton Works be integrated in such a way that the plant subsystem controllers could operate off a single database. This would ensure that the reliance of the operation on the experience of personnel could be reduced by the judicious application of data from the process. The integration was expanded to include the control of the electricity generation plant that will utilize the waste gasses from the submerged arc furnaces to generate the electricity. The boundaries of the study were subsequently expanded to include a proposal for the integration of the control systems into a management information system for the Meyerton Works. The study gives consideration to the theory underlying management information systems after the strategic issues of the Manganese Division of Samancor are discussed. The theoretical aspects of management information systems together with the strategic issues of the Manganese Division are brought together to form the practical proposal of the integrated control and management information system. The case studies considered are based on two incidents that occurred on one of the submerged arc furnaces where the resulting financial losses were substantial. An integrated control system would have reduced the financial losses significantly. Finally, the recommendations of the study are firstly, that the management information system as proposed be expanded to include the furnaces that were not originally envisaged to have their control systems integrated, secondly that the maintenance management function be integrated with the control systems and management information system, and finally that the production planning system be included in the management information system so as to give substance to the control and optimization of the flow of manganese units from the mines to the customer. This will entrench the position of Samancor as a world class supplier of manganese units.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die ferroallooi industrie is, in teenstelling met die chemiese nywerheid wat 'n ingewikkelde bedryf het, afhanklik van die ondervinding van personeel wat oor 'n lang tyd opgebou is. Die industrie was nie 'n baanbreker ten opsigte van tegniese ontwikkeling nie en het ook grotendeels agtergebly op die gebied. Inligting tegnologie is een van die gebiede wat nie die gewensde hoeveelheid aandag gekry het nie. Hierdie studie het sy oorsprong gehad in die behoefte om die beheer sisteme van die dompelboog oonde van die Meyerton Werke van Samancor te integreer sodat die beheerders van die subsisteme van aanleg vanaf 'n enkele databasis kon funksioneer. Dit sou die resultaat gehad het om die afhanklikheid van die bedryf op die ondervinding van die personeel te verminder. Die integrasie gedagte was uitgebrei om die beheer van die elektrisiteits opwekkings aanleg, wat die afgase van die oonde gebruik, in te sluit. Die afbakening van die studie was later verbreed om te dien as 'n voorstel vir die integrering van die beheersisteme in 'n bestuursinligting stelsel vir die Meyerton Werke. Nadat die strategiese aangeleenthede van die Mangaan Afdeling aandag geniet, word die teorie aangaande bestuursinligting stelsels bespreek. Die teorie van die bestuursinligting stelsels en die strategiese aangeleenthede van die Mangaan Afdeling word bymekaar gebring om die voorstel van die geintegreerde beheer sisteem en bestuursinligting stelsel te vorm. Die gevallestudies wat bespreek is, is gebaseer op twee insidente wat op een van die oonde gebeur het waar daar geweldige finansiele verliese was. Geintegreerde beheer stelsels sou die verliese beperk het. Die aanbevelings wat gemaak is, is eerstens dat die bestuursinligting stelsel soos voorgestel is uitgebrei word om die oonde waar die beheerstelsels nie oorspronlik geintegreer sou wees in te sluit, tweedens dat die instandhouding bestuursstelsel geintegreer word met die bestuursinligting stelsel, en derdens dat die produksiebeplanning stelsel in die bestuursinligting stelsel gesluit word. Hierdeur sal die beweging van mangaan eenhede vanaf die myne na die kliente geoptimiseer word om Samancor se posisie as 'n wereld klas verskaffer van mangaan eenhede te verstewig.

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