This work investigated the use of generic models in the early stages of the design and implementation of computer aided production management (CAPM) systems. A set of issues that affect the success of such CAPM systems was identified, using information obtained from literature and observations made by the author during an in-depth case study of the design and implementation of a CAPM system. The set of issues included the failure of many manufacturing companies to take a systemic perspective of CAPM and the importance of developing a thorough understanding of existing systems and how these systems are currently integrated. Requirements were proposed for an improved approach to the design and implementation of CAPM systems. Taking the requirements into consideration the concepts underlying the use of and types of models were explored. In particular, the use of generic models and how generic models could help manufacturing companies were considered. The work also investigated the use of soft systems thinking and the concept of a business process to encourage a systemic perspective to be taken. A genetic process model was proposed as a means of meeting the requirements of an improved approach. A generic model of an "order fulfilment" process in a manufacturing company was developed and a way of using it which embodies soft systems principles was proposed. The model and its use was validated using five key needs of practitioners. The validation involved a review of the model by practitioners and the use of the model in a local company as part of a project to design and implement a CAPM system. The originality of this work lies in the development by the author of a generic model which can be used as part of an improved model based approach to the design and implementation of CAPM systems. This should provide clear advantages over existing approaches.

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