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Title: Revising the paradigm of control in repetitive production
Author: Woodcock, David John
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1987
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This thesis is based on seven case studies from a wide range of industries. It challenges the traditional paradigm of control in production management practice and literature, proposing a revised paradigm bringing together the control and improvement processes and integrating them with corporate competitive strategy. The traditional paradigm leads to two possible states; 'in' and 'out of' control'. Which state is attained is dependent on the balance between the difficulty of the manufacturing task and production management's competence to exercise control; when the difficulty is greater than the competence production becomes 'out of control'. In the traditional paradigm production management seeks to maintain stability. The research shows that competition frequently leads to increases in the difficulty of the manufacturing task, which disturb this stability. I show that senior management does not adequately recognize the consequences of this difficulty on the state of control. The fieldwork demonstrates that production managers exercised control in terms of compliance to standards, with improvements being left to staff specialists, who tended to concentrate on new systems, or major revisions to existing practices. Neither group gave significant priority to making small incremental changes to the existing technology / systems. A revised paradigm is developed showing that control of production can be maintained in line with competitive pressures, by involving production management and workers in the improvement of the manufacturing system. At its best production then becomes a source of competitive advantage. The improvements are achieved via a programme of strategically directed continuous incremental changes executed on the shop floor. They come from analysis of 'shop floor' information used to reduce the complexity and uncertainty of the manufacturing task. These improvements complement the 'discrete' system changes accomplished by functional staff. The paradigm requires high levels of learning and problem solving skills by production management and workers. Three elements are identified within the revised paradigm which affect a company's rate of improvement; the existence of clear strategies for manufacturing, a coherent formal improvement plan and the provision of information to monitor and analyse improvements and control.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor ; TS Manufactures