A model for the use of cost information in AMT environments
This thesis provides a critical review of the way in which cost information is used as a basis for decision-support across the broad range of manufacturing activity and goes on to propose and develop a model for the more effective use of such information. The research "bridges" the functions of engineering, management and accounting and is innovative in the way that it places recent research in the area of management accounting into the context of engineering and management decision-making. The review of current practice is based upon published material, a survey of practice in three manufacturing organisations and upon extensive experience gained by the author in industry, "Teaching Company Scheme" (TCS) supervision and supervision of industry based undergraduate projects concerned with cost management. The research reveals widespread belief on the part of engineers, managers and accountants, that current approaches and practices with respect to the use of cost information do not provide a sufficiently accurate and realistic base for decision-support and goes on to identify the underlying reasons for this belief. Analysis and discussion is provided to support the hypothesis that "Traditional approaches and practices with respect to the detennination, communication and use of cost information do not provide a satisfactory basis for decision-support in today's highly competitive and technologically advanced markets". A comprehensive review and analysis of recent and current initiatives and developments in the areas of management accounting, concurrent engineering, structured project management and information technology is provided and forms the basis for the development of a conceptual model. The model integrates concepts, principles and techniques from: activity based costing, "structured" project management and concurrent engineering. Recommendations for further work with respect to industrial implementation and development of the model are provided.