CATALYST V22N2 - CIM in Higher Education: A Partnership With IBM

Volume XXII, Number 2
Spring 1992

CIM in Higher Education: A Partnership With IBM

Hans A. Andrews
Dean of Instruction
Illinois Valley Community College

John Allen
Associate Dean of Instruction & Career Education
Director of CIM
Illinois Valley Community College

Euphoria; challenge; fear; and impact on faculty, administration, and boards of trustees are all significant stages in the development of "technology transfer" centers. They are also outcomes of being selected as one of the 48 community colleges that are part of IBM-CIM in Higher Education Alliance.

The International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation announced in late 1988 that they were in the process of trying to find effective ways to enhance the development of American industries as world class competitors in the global market place. In their effort to reach out to American industries, a total of 48 community colleges nationally were selected to join in the alliance with IBM to become both technology transfer and demonstration centers for advanced technology. More specifically these colleges were to become centers to train, advise, educate, and demonstrate computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) as national models for industries to become familiar with and to evaluate their potential to move through the various stages necessary to change over to a CIM operation.


Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC) was selected as one of the alliance partners in late 1988. The euphoria of such a recognition and for its potential was felt by many within the college and the governing board. Selection meant that less than four percent of the nation's community, technical, and junior colleges were now partners with the number one corporation in American and the world. During the initial months college faculty and administrators spent many long hours learning about CIM concepts and discussing and planning how to put together meaningful programs of study for college district industrial and business personnel. The pride of having been selected in the IBM-CIM Alliance was shared through college public information releases locally and statewide and nationally through releases by the IBM Corporation.


The challenges involved in moving into computer integrated manufacturing looked overwhelming to college staff many times during the initial months. These challenges included looking at how to tie personnel together from four of the college's major programs: (a) manufacturing design, (b) cost accounting and office management, (c) manufacturing technology, and (d) electronics.

The above four programs had always been viewed and treated as separate entities in terms of faculty, student preparation, and outcomes. The movement into CIM meant "integration" of personnel from all four areas. It meant discussing and learning what each area does in terms of its role in the total manufacturing process. This process brought persons together who had never worked together previously. Some of the faculty involved were nearing retirement and were now facing a challenge that surpassed any previous challenge they had experienced in all their years of working in industry and teaching.

Another major challenge was determining the type of equipment to purchase. The IBM Corporation had promised to be a partner in the equipment determination and had committed itself to make significant donations of equipment, software, and training for faculty. Developing a realistic timetable to deliver an integrated system was one of the major items to be projected during the early stages of negotiating with IBM. This was complicated by the lack of experience on the part of college personnel in such a project.

Fear and Impact

Before we could experience euphoria and recognize the challenges before us, significant development work had to be done.

Stage I—Involving Local Industry

Back in the early to middle 1980s, college personnel were aware that the movement toward high technology would require input from industrial leaders in the district. With this in mind, the president of the college directed the instructional division to formulate a letter of invitation directed to a select group of corporate executive officers (CEOs) from industries within the Illinois Valley area. These individuals were asked to become members of an ad hoc committee that would provide input to the college relative to high (advanced) technology developments. The committee would meet as required to provide advice on how the college could become involved with these technical developments and it would assist local industries with employee training.

The high technology advisory committee was formed and meetings were called to discuss related curriculum and training matters. The industry representatives on the committee helped the college personnel determine which established programs the college should promote and which programs needed change to incorporate advanced technology concepts.

From these meetings the final determination was made relating to curriculum changes, equipment purchases, and facility modifications to accommodate advanced technology. Advice given to the college by this committee was instrumental in moving the college forward. The board of trustees was receptive to the proposals set forth by the staff and endorsed by the high technology advisory committee. This foresight and advice has allowed the college to become a leader in high technology implementation. As a consequence of this leadership the college approached IBM to see if the college could become a member of their computer integrated manufacturing alliance in higher education coalition.

Subsequently, IVCC was selected by IBM to participate as a partner in the alliance. The relationships created due to alliance participation have allowed the college to take giant strides forward in the development and implementation of high technology concepts. The college purchased equipment and software to set up a flexible manufacturing system cell consisting of a machinery center, turning center, and a robot. With donations of equipment, software, and expertise from IBM, the college's fully integrated computer manufacturing enterprise began operation in August of 1991.

Stage II—Curriculum Development

It became clear early in the deliberations with IBM personnel, industrial leaders, and colleagues in the various other community and senior colleges in the alliance that curriculum development would become a challenge from more than one direction. Computer Integrated Manufacturing involves a new way of thinking that must be incorporated in the thinking of corporate and industrial leaders if it is going to have an impact in the industries they lead. On the other end of the industrial spectrum it also became clear that the college was introducing some of these new concepts through new technical hardware, textbooks, and existing courses to persons working on "the line" in these industries. This training was coming through noncredit customized training programs, evening college industrial credit related programs, and short course offerings of the continuing education division.

To accommodate both industrial leadership and line workers, the college proposed two certificate programs. Both of these proposals are outlined in Table 1.

Table 1
Computer Integrated Manufacturing Curriculum Development Plan
The CIM curriculum development at Illinois Valley Community College will include two major development areas: (a) CIM Management and (b) CIM Manufacturing. These two areas will be organized around certificate programs that are under development.
CIM Management
CIM Manufacturing
1. CIM Concepts 1. CIM Concepts
2. Introduction to MAPICS 2. Automated
3. Applications of MAPICS 3. Computer Simulation of Manufacturing Systems
4. Cost Accounting 4. Manufacturing Operations
5. Introduction to Manufacturing 5. Manufacturing Networks
6. Manufacturing Managament Computer System 6. Integrated Material
7. Marketing Distribution Systems Handling 7. Manufacturing CAD
8. Integration of Manufacturing
9. Manufacturing Applications Sensor Technology

While these certificate programs gave recognition to the fact that two levels of curriculum were to be developed, it was evident that they would be considered tentative; they would be modified as community industrial needs evolved more clearly. They did, however, give the college an awareness that a new era of high technology had arrived and that a new educational structure might be needed to deal with it.

Stage III—Faculty Training

When IVCC moved into high technology, the college had a faculty and staff who were knowledgeable of the curriculum materials, equipment, and software then in use. Knowledge of new technological developments, equipment, and software was limited. Therefore, to progress with new developments in high technology, faculty and staff knowledge needed to be upgraded. This was the only option for the college as employment of new staff knowledgeable in these technological developments was not possible. The college did not have the funds to afford these people even if they could be found on the market.

Therefore, an extensive staff development program was instituted that made funds available to allow the faculty and staff to attend workshops, seminars, and conferences relating to high technology developments. IBM was quite helpful in providing training opportunities for the faculty and staff. IBM shared information and directions relative to equipment and software, which allowed the staff to become proficient in the skills needed to function properly in the advanced technology arena.

Stage IV—Deliverables

A term that the college has now come to accept to describe what it can do in the alliance with industrial personnel and for the IBM customers is the word "deliverables." It represents an updated and constantly changing list of activities that college personnel can now claim as competencies in the CIM developmental process. A list of those "deliverables" presented to IBM during the latter part of 1991 is as follows:

  1. Current IVCC Capabilities
    1. CIM Overview Workshop
    2. MAPICS/DP Overview Workshop
    3. AS/400 Office Workshop
    4. IBM CAD Workshop
    5. Micro CADAM Workshop
    6. Auto CAD Workshop
    7. FMS Cell Workshop
    8. Drawing Conversions—Paper to Electronic
  2. New, Future, or Enhanced Capabilities
    1. AS/400 Operations Workshop (Spring 1992)
    2. Specific MAPICS/DB Workshops Covering Financials, PDM, PCC, and IM
    3. DAE Workshop (Fall 1991)
    4. Professional CADAM Workshop (Spring 1992)
    5. AS/400 RPG Workshop (Fall 1991)
    6. Customized MAPICS/DB Demos (Scheduled individually w/IBM)
  3. IBM To-Do's
    1. Determine what courses are being taught at other CIMHE institutions, including:
      1. AS/400 Education
      2. MAPICS/DB
      3. CAD Area
    2. Promote IBM/IVCC CIM Center to other IBM Branch Offices in Illinois

Prognosis for the Future

The IBM/IVCC Computer Integrated Manufacturing Alliance appears to be an ongoing commitment. By the end of 1991 the college has been assisted by donations of equipment through IBM of over one million dollars. It has also received thousands of dollars worth of faculty development workshops and consultant services.

College faculty have gained a deep inner satisfaction knowing that they are, indeed, on the cutting edge of the technological advances presently being introduced as concept and practice in American industry. The Alliance has put the college in a helping role to lead area manufacturers and their workers in both theoretical and practical hardware applications of various CIM concepts. The team effort between previously separate departments of the college has also created the kind of "CIM environment" that is expected in industry. Cost accounting, purchasing, scheduling, engineering design, and actual manufacturing are all part of the total process. The faculty involved now realize that each of them is intricately involved in the process and that CIM breaks down if any of them does less than adequate planning and delivering of services.

The impact of the IBM/IVCC Alliance has made an impact on the college that will be long lasting. It is now up to both traditional and continuing educational divisions of the college to deliver CIM in various ways to a wide variety of small, medium, and large industrial concerns within the college district and the greater North Central Illinois region of the state.