The Organizational Impacts of Computer Based Manufacturing
Current trends in world competition for sales of manufactured products and the capabilities of new production systems based upon computing and information technologies are leading inevitably, if slowly, to a very different kind of factory, one that will require significant changes in corporate organization and business strategy. The range of technology discussed at this meeting, exhibited at the recent machine tool and technology shows and reported in use at a wide variety of industrial enterprises suggests that the so-called “Factory-of-the-Future” is a real and present capability. It is a factory with very different economics; essentially a dramatic reduction in the costs associated with product variety and production change. This leads to an ability to meet the requirements of a rapidly changing and increasingly diversified marketplace; but only if firms both invest in new flexible factories and also make the organizational and structural changes that will enable the firm to take advantage of the flexibility and economy of scope available in a factory that is essentially a computer system with machine tools and robots in place of printers.
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