The work reported in this thesis offers a novel basis for the realisation of specifications for
information requirements to meet the distinct operational requirements of metalworking
SMEs. This has been achieved through the development of a reference SME enterprise
model based on fundamental ideas of the holon and fractal factory concepts. The novel
concept of a node holon is introduced, which allows the representation of the human
dominated interactions in a company based on the fundamental concepts of the holon. This
offers a competitive alternative to the methods for enterprise modelling and information
specification which are based solely around business processes and procedural rules.
A new representation for the organisation of the SME has been based on identifying the
major zones of activity within the enterprise, which is seen to provide a more appropriate
representation for companies whose basis for operation is informally structured. Two
classes of zones have been identified, these are the business support zone and
manufacturing zone. The relationship between a top down description of the enterprise as
zones and the complementary bottoms up modelling of the enterprise based on concepts of
the node holon are described in detail.
A critical study of two candidate modelling architectures, namely CIN40SA and ARIS will
show the applicability of the individual architectures for the task information specification.
The constituents of the SMEE enterprise reference model is placed within the context of
contemporary enterprise modelling practice by mapping against one of the architectures.
This will demonstrate how the architectures can readily accommodate new modelling
approaches whilst retaining their major advantages, thereby increasing their applicability
and potential uptake.
The reference SME enterprise model has been readily applied in the study of an SME,
where a representation of the company has been achieved solely on the current organisation
of its business support and manufacturing activities. The holonic aspects of the enterprise
have also been successfully modelled. This process is supported by a CASE tool which has
it constructs underpinned by the reference SME enterprise model.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.