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Do We Really Understand What We are Doing? Does anyone else?
This paper focuses on the difficulty of adequately understanding and clearly describing the functionality a manufacturing process is to have before hard implementation decisions are cast in stone. Traditional functional specifications are necessary, but are often not complete until the design process is well along and are typically extensive, detailed documents that take a long time to write, are not completed until many design decisions have already been made, and require so much time to read and understand that timely feedback is difficult to get. This paper presents the argument that a clear, simple functional description, essentially a functional specification lite, is required very early in any design process. Based on the S88 model, the functional description is useful for any type of process, is the basis for early agreement on the way the process will function, is the starting point for a detailed functional specification, and can be the basis for defining what should be automated – and, perhaps more important, what should not.
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