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This paper proposes the foundation for a flexible data input management system as a vital part of a generic solution for quick-response decision making. Lack of a comprehensive data input layer between data acquisition and processing systems has been realized and thought of. The proposed FDILA is applicable to a wide variety of volatile manufacturing environments. It provides a generic platform that enables systems designers to define any number of data entry points and types regardless of their make and specifications in a standard fashion. This is achieved by providing a variable definition layer immediately on top of the data acquisition layer and before data pre-processing layer. For proof of concept, National Instruments' Labview data acquisition software is used to simulate a typical shop floor data acquisition system. The extracted data can then be fed into a data mining module that builds cost modeling functions involving the plant's Key Performance Factors.