The Role of System Methodologies in Implementing Manufacturing Systems Changes
This paper looks at the role of systems methodologies when implementing changes in manufacturing systems. Two recent developments have given rise to our interest in this area. On the one hand, manufacturing industry, especially in the UK, has had to face over the past few years stiff competition from overseas, both in respect of the quality of its products and its ability to deliver them at the right time and at the right price (Schon- berger, 1986; Voss, 1986, 1987). In order to meet these new pressures many companies have had to make considerable changes to their manufacturing systems and the way in which they were managed, usually through the introduction of some form of computer-assisted technology (Ingersoll Engineers, 1985; Goldratt and Cox, 1986). On the other hand, the technologies required to solve these problems are now quite well established. Indeed, there are numerous vendors of systems, such as Computer-aided Design and Manufacture (CAD/CAM), Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS), and Manufacturing Resources Planning (MRP2), to name a few, who claim that their standard product, or some modification of it, will solve a given class of problems in any organisation. In other words, we have reached a stage where known “solutions” are looking for “problems”.
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