CIM (Computer Integrated Manufacturing) - The use of computers to bring together automated systems throughout a manufacturing company. Most commonly the CIM system is used to connect CAD systems to CAM systems. Common CIM functions include CAPP, PPC, etc.
GT (Group Technology) - A method of assigning codes to parts so that they tend to fall into groups. The codes may subsequently be used for recalling similar designs, or associated information (such as process plans).
Operation Planning - The later stage of process planning where the detailed process parameters are determined. For example, in machining we might get speeds, feeds, number of passes, specific tools, etc.
PPC (Production Planning and Control) - This software will combine orders for products and their process plans to develop a schedule for manufacturing. Modern systems can deal with short term control problems such as machine failure.
Process Planning - This term is used to refer to the selection of processes for the production of a part. This term is also used at a higher-level to also include the selection of operation values. Both uses have been historically used, and all attempts have been made to avoid ambiguities in the text.
Variant Process Planning - A Variant process planner will recall previously created process plans for new designs, and allow subsequent editing to resolve any differences. The important distinguishing feature is that the planner uses plans that are variations of other plans.