Having scrutinised the manufacturing resource planning or MRP market, Milton Keynes-based computer services company Scicon Ltd has decided to add v2.41 of the PS-System production management system to its UK manufacturing portfolio. The package, which will be marketed in the UK on DEC VAX or MicroVAX hardware, was designed and developed by PS Systemtecknik, a wholly-owned subisidiary of Scicon’s SCS Scicon GmbH sister, and has been available on the German market since 1979, where its 270 customers include Thyssen, KSB, Krupp and Westinghouse. Scicon Ltd claims that the PS-System will triumph where other MRP systems have failed – in the industrial production market because it meets the product design, configuration and customer specification methods, high variance levels, and order-related purchasing and manufacturing procedures that govern made-to-order manufacturing. Essentially, the system enables plant managers to check the progress of manufacturing projects by giving an overview of the assemblies involved, providing a detailed break down of work achieved and, if postponed, a histogram facility which highlights the reasons for delay: on-line updating of information is automatically carried out by the system when a change occurs. The system can also be used to schedule individual delivery dates for new contracts, raise requisitions to satisfy projected requirements, and monitor a specified minimum stock level. Costing facilities include bid value, plan value, actual value and deviation value, enabling companies – so Scicon claims – to come up with a bid, plan the bid in detail and perform to plan. Entry level price for the Cobol language system is UKP30,000: several companies are believed to have expressed interest in the system, including British Aerospace, which will begin a phased implementation of the system at its Warton-based electronics department in the middle of this year. Scicon is in process of being acquired from its parent, British Petroleum Plc, by Systems Designers Plc to create a new company, SD-Scicon Plc.