A Rational Basis for Determining an Appropriate Level of Automation Technology
Whilst Automation Technology has been developed by Industrialized Countries, scant regard has been given to the impact of such technologies on the developing countries of the Second and Third Worlds. In some cases the direct, or indirect, effects of this automation have driven the local economy to the brink of collapse, as can currently be seen in many African states, as well as most Eastern European countries. Where once thriving, economies are now losing out to the advanced technology of the industrialized world. “...with transport as it is now, a shirt made in Spain by a fully automated process, can be delivered into the streets of Mbabane (Swaziland) before, and at a lower cost than, a locally hand-made one.” (Rodd, 1991).
Since the goal of any manufacturing activity is to generate income either to the benefit of the individual or the state, industries in developing countries must be made competitive. The problems, though, of establishing a manufacturing base largely revolve around the selection and justification of production technology to be used.
In this paper a computer model has been developed to represent the manufacturing and distribution-network for a product, covering raw materials to retail item. This model, can be used as a ratonal basis to determine whether it is competetive (i.e. profitable) to manufacture a product in a given country and then transport it is competitive (i.e. profitable) to manufacture a product in a given and then transport it to where there is a real market demand.
KeywordsDistribution Network Flexible Manufacturing System Import Duty Automation Technology Export Duty
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