Facing increasing product complexity and pressure to reduce time to market, manufacturing process planning (MPP) engineers must be able to quickly access reliable information in order to make swift and correct decisions. Organizations therefore turn to information management tools, such as PDM (Product Data Management), MPM (Manufacturing Process Management) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), to support their product development processes. These various information management tools compete by offering similar features, while MPP engineers have to manipulate multiple tools to access the information they need. This paper aims to take a fresh look at a fundamental question: what are the specifications of an ideal information management tool that would help MPP engineers efficiently define manufacturing work instructions (process plan) from the product definition? This paper thus presents the approach and the results of a research work conducted within the process planning department of a manufacturing company operating in the aerospace sector. The study was conducted so as to direct the effort toward documenting the MPP process and the MPP engineer’s information needs. The approach that is presented primarily relies on a comprehensive documentation and modeling of the MPP development process. Two processes have been modeled, a reference process of the MWI (Manufacturing Work Instructions) development and a change management process impacting the MWI development. These process models offer a sound basis to conduct an analysis of the MPP engineers’ information needs. This analysis next leads to the specifications of a Dashboard solution aimed at MPP engineers.

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