Bill of Material Comparison Abstract

Background: General Signal Laboratory Equipment, located in north Asheville, is a leading manufacturer of laboratory equipment, which is used in both medical and scientific research communities. These products include ultra-low temperature freezers, refrigerators, blood banks, incubators, ovens and furnaces. The manufacture of these products requires thousands of parts, as well as complicated bills of material which include every raw and manufactured part required in production.

Goal: To create a program that prompts the user for two different part numbers, explodes the bill of material for each, and generates a report that lists the common parts.

Purpose: This project was chosen because of an actual request from the Cost Accounting department at General Signal Laboratory Equipment, where I am currently employed. The resulting report will give necessary information to analyze current product lines and consolidate, delete or refine products GSLE currently offers, while also aiding in cost cutting and expansion of part use across different product lines. This project has allowed me to refine my current programming skills while also facilitating my education of the manufacturing environment.

Resources: GSLE is a remote site of the General Signal corporate computer system, which is an HP 3000. The software used is a legacy financial and manufacturing control package called Growthpower. The programming language is Quiz, which is a report generator from Cognos, Inc.

Development: Gather information needed from user:

  • Enter two part numbers
  • Find like parts
  • Report like parts numbers, part description, standard cost, and current cost
  • Determine which databases to be used:
  • Only one file needs to be accessed, which is PARTS
  • Code program and trial run at specific points to ensure accuracy:
  • Prompt user for two part numbers
  • Explode bill of material for each part this is a three-step process, which includes writing all parts in the current level to a subfile, write/append purchased parts to second subfile, and write manufactured parts to a third subfile to continue the explosion.
  • Sort parts in the second subfile and write each part to a new subfile, ensuring only one occurrence.
  • Find duplicate part numbers.
  • Continue program to include actual report generation.
  • Company heading
  • Columns for part number, description, standard cost
  • Meet with requestor and go over results.

Summary: This project has demonstrated to me that there are more skills involved in programming than just generating code. Developing programs for users in a professional environment requires a thorough understanding of the processes involved in the business, excellent analytical skills, as well as the capability to generate useful and efficient programs.

I have genuinely enjoyed the Senior Project experience, not only for the opportunity to demonstrate my competency in this field, but also for the benefit of gaining programming experience and enhancing my knowledge of the manufacturing environment.

Advisor: Dr. Wayne Lang

Student Name: 
Victoria Bush Irwin