Methodology Related to Integrated Production Systems
If our concern is how to convert some raw material into a particular product, or how to assemble a machine from a set of component parts, a body of technical knowledge exists to enable us to develop ways of performing such operations. If, in addition, we wish to make these operations efficient, techniques exist, and are continually being developed, which enable us to experiment on some form of model of the operations in order to identify ‘least cost’ ways of operating; where ‘least cost’ is taken in its general sense of minimum use of resources. Such models are usually based on some form of mathematical representation and the techniques are characterised by guidelines which are precisely defined. If our concern is how to make the above operations effective, as well as efficient, it is necessary to extend the boundary of investigation beyond the physical operations to include the decision-making processes which govern the management of those operations. Once such a step is taken it is no longer clear what the boundary of investigation needs to be. Developing a capability of producing more product, or of assembling more machines quicker and with less use of resources may be seen as improving effectiveness and efficiency from a production point of view, but if production is seen as a service to the company as a whole in achieving its particular set of relationships with its environment, this may not necessarily be the case. Widening the boundary of investigation enables the interactions with other decision-making processes to be explored and a more significant improvement in effectiveness may be achieved by modifying the interactions than by changing the operations themselves.
KeywordsPrimary Task Senior Management System Boundary Information Category Organisational Boundary
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