Authors: R.U. Ayres
Addresses: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria
Abstract: It is suggested that computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) – or |flexible automation| – is a revolutionary response to the |complexity-reliability variety| barrier. In brief, products are becoming more complex, quality control is becoming more difficult and customers are less satisfied with standardization. Managers of manufacturing firms face several critical questions and some strategic choices. Among them are the following: How must the firm change internally to compete successfully in the future? What technologies must be mastered and adopted |in house|, and what can safely be contracted out? Is there an important distinction to be made between |human-centred| and |machine-centred| approaches? If so, which offers the best long-term prospects? Can CIM be implemented |bottom-up|, or must it be implemented |top down|? A number of other management implications of CIM are discussed. The paper reports some major results of a four-year study recently completed at IIASA under the author|s co-leadership.
Keywords: competitiveness; computer-integrated manufacturing; CIM; Fordism; flexible manufacturing systems; FMS; Taylorism; technology management.
International Journal of Technology Management, 1992 Vol.7 No.1/2/3, pp.17 - 39
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