(Dr. Bert Bras, advisor)
"Information Management to Support an Environmental Decision-Support Tool for Small-To Medium Sized Enterprises"
Research based in the area of Environmentally Conscious Design and Manufacture (ECDM) is attempting to create decision support technologies that will enable firms, especially Small to Medium Sized Enterprises to properly consider the flows of materials and energy, and the corresponding impacts on costs and profits, when making decisions that have environmental impacts. As a part of developing these decision support technologies, assessment models were designed and tested with six manufacturing processes in three different manufacturing facilities. These assessment models were systematically developed and implemented by the group while considered the obstacles to both design and implementation in the SME industry. As a part of this development, work specifically focused on information management and the characteristics of various sized SMEs was performed. This work documents how to gather and manage resources needed to create and maintain these assessment models in small and medium enterprises. These models would quantify the results of improvements, thereby providing justification for future investment to increase economic and environmental efficiency. Specifically this work outlines a systematic way to gather information necessary to create a useful assessment model of a manufacturing facility, outlines how to store the information needed to maintain the assessment model, presents applications of the assessment model in environmental and economic decision making and presents a framework for an SME to increase success of implementation of this decision support technology.