• Gordon Boyce
  • Simon Ville


To remain competitive today, enterprises must make products that are low priced or possess distinctive characteristics. Rising incomes, rapidly changing consumer expectations, increasing global competition and market diversity compel manufacturers to resolve two tensions when devising production strategies. The first source of concern is technology. Demand conditions encourage firms to mass-produce in order to minimise costs or adopt flexible manufacturing methods to accommodate product variations and thus add more value and secure higher margins. Either course presents a trade-off. Standardising products is the best way to lower costs and offer attractive prices, but it leaves firms exposed to the risk that sudden changes in the market will make their goods obsolete. Diversifying output makes it easier to cope with shifting demand conditions, but this strategy increases expenses and poses the danger that more efficient specialised producers will one day undercut prices. Current technological developments are making it easier to contend with these conflicting choices, but manufacturers must still address them creatively.


Machine Tool Foreign Technology Interwar Period Modern Business Average Cost Curve 
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Further Reading

  1. Hounshell, D. (1984) From the American System to Mass Production (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press).Google Scholar
  2. Hutchinson, D. (2001) ‘Australian Manufacturing Business: Entrepreneurship or Missed Opportunities?’, Australian Economic History Review, 41 (2).Google Scholar
  3. Nakagawa, K. (1993) ‘Business Management in Japan–a Comparative Historical Study’, Industrial and Corporate Change, 2 (1).Google Scholar
  4. Riech, L. (1985) The Making of American Industrial Research Science and Business at GE and Bell Labs (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  5. Sabel, C. F. and Zeitlin, J. (eds) (1997) World of Possibilities: Flexibility and Mass Production in Western Industrialisation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  6. Scranton, P. (1997) Endless Novelty Specialty Production and American Industrialization 1865–1925 (Baltimore: Princeton University Press).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gordon Boyce and Simon Ville 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon Boyce
  • Simon Ville

There are no affiliations available

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