Click for next page ( 28


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 27
4 PLANT ORGANI ZATION Advanced manufacturing technology affects all levels of the factory organization simultaneously. As a result, companies are experimenting with new organizational forms and management styles to cope with the demands of the new technology. It should be noted that some companies are pursuing similar organizational changes without the introduction of ANT, in response to increasing competition. ORGANI ZATIONAL DES IGN The Plant Manager The manager of a plant that will invest in ANT should be selected well before the new technology is operational and should be assigned full- or part-time to the imple- mentation team. Care must be taken to select managers whose values are in agreement with the plans 'a desired culture. They must not only know the technology well, but also have a sophisticated conceptual and practical grasp of the technical, human, and business aspects of production. If the operating rationale includes open communication, teamwork, and worker participation in problem solving, managers should be able to function comfortably and competently in this environment. Senior Plant Management In most of the plants visited, the level just below the plant manager has remained organized by function. For example, an automobile components plant (M) has 27

OCR for page 27
28 FIGURE 2 Organizational Structure of Staffed Shifts at an Automobile Components Plant Superintendents Plant Operations Committee - Shift repre- sentative~ - Finance - Manufacturing - Engineering - Electronic systems - Union repre- sentatives l l Shift Operations Group .. . 1 ~ Cal ~ 1. Factory control administrator 2. Operations coordinator 3. Maintenance engineer 4. Quality engineer 5. Electricians (4) 6. Mechanical repair (4) 7. System attendants (12)

OCR for page 27
29 organized this level into finance, manufacturing, engi- neering, and information services. An engine plant (C) has organized it into operations, finance, purchasing, human resources, and quality. Traditional functional labels, however, should not disguise the increased interdependence of the functions. Decisions once made by people in functions that were relatively independent must now be made jointly. Efforts to design the product and process simultaneously, for example, require product engineering and manufacturing engineering to work closely together. The organization may try to facilitate such cooperation by breaking down communication barriers between function--for example, by locating personnel in the same work area, equalizing status and pay, and improving interpersonal and problem- solving skills. Some companies are merging or realigning functions to reflect the higher interdependence among them. An electronics equipment plant (G) incorporated quality control/inspection and engineering design into manufacturing. A manufacturer of material handling equipment (J) created an ~external. reporting line that included males and engineering and an ~internal. reporting line that included production, production control, and data processing, with accounting an a separate unit. Traditional organization charts may be replaced by diagrams that reflect the consultative forms of decision making that increasingly characterize the factory. Figure 2, from the organizational structure of an automobile components plant (M), provide. an example. It illustrates the structure of the two staffed shifts; the afternoon shift is unstuffed. The superintendent of the plant heads the Plant Operations Committees which is made up of finance, manufacturing, engineering, and electronic systems, as well as representatives from the shifts and from the union. To the right of that committee in Figure 2 is the Shift Operations Group made up of production and support personnel who work on the two staffed shifts. A traditional organization chart, in contrast, would have shown two levels below the superintendent, each reporting to the level above it. While superior/.ubordinate relationships still exist in the new factory, diagrams like Figure 2 symbolize the desired change in relationships among factory personnel.

OCR for page 27
30 The trend is toward information being shared in commit- tees, committee members making decisions after consulting each other, and consensus being sought whenever possible. Self-Contained Work Cells At the sites visited, the factory floor was increas- ingly being organized into self-contained work cells. Individuals from previously centralized support functions are being assigned to individual work cells. Instead of a separate maintenance department, for example, each cell includes individuals who provide maintenance. The centralized function may or may not continue to exist along with the delegation of the activity to the cells. The coordination of separate manufacturing processes within work cells does not diminish the importance of coordination between cells; rather, it increases that need. Computer integration of factory data, which helps to make ~elf-contained cells possible, also offers the technology to facilitate coordination between them. Examples of the creation of work ceils include the following: i An electronics equipment plant (G) assigned Individuals from information services, quality control, and packaging to report to the first-level manager. e An engine plant (C) assigned part of support services, such as tooling and material stores, to first-level area managers. An engine plant (O) dedicated some support per- ~onnel (e.g., a numerical control programmer and a tool engineer) to its flexible manufacturing system. O An appliance plant (Q) created the role of audit manager,. who could be this own manufacturing engineer, process engineer, and foreman.. Number of Organizational Levels As plants assign support functions to self-contained work cells, the number of levels in the factory organiza- tion is reduced: for example: An electronics equipment plant (G) retained four levels within a new modular structure of ~inibusinesses. The new organization reduced the responsibilities of the

OCR for page 27
31 second management level, which will require adjustment. As a result of changes in spans of supervision and budget control, second-level managers lost power and status, and some well-trained and sophisticated fir~t-level managers were running large minibusinesses. An engine plant (C) had only four levels: plant manager, directors (for a small number of functional areas), managers, and resources/technicians (exempt and nonexempt positions at the same level). The corporate policy of a manufacturer of military vehicle components (plant O) prescribed an upper limit of four management levels in all new plants. Delegation of supervisory and support functions to lower levels does not necessarily result in fewer levels. In a newly organized electronics plant (N) , semiautonomous work teams operate under a four-level functional structure similar to that of an existing facility nearby. Matrix Management The link between senior management functions and self-contained work cells is sometimes maintained through a matrix structure in which personnel assigned to functions are deployed temporarily to the cells. This approach maintains some of the advantages of specializa- tion while facilitating coordination within cells. The arrangement i. not easy to run, however. Managers of work cells may compete with their counterparts for the services, such as quality control and maintenance, that functional support personnel provide. Managers of functions may be concerned that temporary assignments of their personnel to cells may become permanent. No consensus on the ideal solution has emerged; although some continuity of staffing may be needed for the success of the project, permanent assignments may impair the ability of the functions to maintain specialized knowledge. First-Level Supervision With the introduction of AMI, the supervisor has a greater role in managing interactions between the work team and support personnel. An automobile components

OCR for page 27
32 ,_ 1 plant (O) reported, for example, that the supervisor of an FMS had more lateral relationships to manage. The supervisor's role changes further as team leader- ship shifts from a directive toward a facilitative mode. When operators are organized into teams with a greater degree of self-management, supervisors become less concerned with internal team regulation and wore involved in monitor ing, planning, coordinating, training, and appraising performance. Some plants with self-managing teams, such as plant C, have eliminated the position of first-level supervisor. With ANT, firat-level supervision is responsible for a greater concentration of capital. Many supervisors command large work area. and budgets; at plant G. for example, some first-line supervisors were in charge of S10 million minibusinesses. These supervisors signifi- cantly displace the responsibility and authority of the next level of management, which becomes precariously redundant unless augmented with higher responsibilities. Computer-based information systems tell first-line supervisors the status of all aspects of the manufac- turing process in their areas and possibly plantwide. For example, information on machine output and utiliza- tion, maintenance status, material flows, quality, and employee attendance may be available. The ease of gathering detailed information can lead to unintended and counterproductive consequences. Super- visors and upper levels of plant management may be tempted to overuse this capability, and workers may regard detailed monitoring of their performance as surveillance and an abuse of the information system. INFORMATION SYSTEMS A factory's organization cannot be designed without considering the information system that it will use. The information system must be considered simultaneously with decisions to organize by product or process or to centralize or decentralize decision making. A company's values about participation and information sharing will affect how information is obtained and used. Companies that have identical capabilities in distributed data processing, but different values, are likely to have different numbers of levels and positions in their factory hierarchies.

OCR for page 27
33 Distinguishing between the use of information for process control and for auditing is important. Effective process control requires quick response to unpredictable disturbances in production flow or support activities. Those responsible for such control, ideally those closest to the problem in a decentralized organization, have the greatest need for control-related information. Accord- ingly, they require quick access to the management information system. Managers at higher levels, in contrast, need information periodically or by exception for auditing and evaluating performance. As a factory approaches computer-integrated manufacturing and the operations-related information increases, the need for data for anticipatory problem solving will increase relative to historical audit information. The following are examples of the value of data for process control: ~ An electronics company (plant B) that implemented a manufacturing resource planning (MAP II) system plantwide reported improved trust and communication between upper and middle managers. The managers had more relevant information at their disposal for tracking and inter- vention--for example, in the higher visibility of work in process. Manager accountability also increased significantly, with the result that effective managers became more widely recognized. The information system at an appliance plant (Q) wan capable of alerting all management levels simultane- ously to problems that might previously have languished at lower levels. In the tightly coupled production system (with 4 to 5 hours of inventory), problems that once took weeks to surface were found within hours. In the words of the plans 'a project manager, .In one way, I am more involved in details of the process because they bubble up faster and are more consequential. In another way, there is more delegation, again, because those close to the process have to think and act fast.. TEE TRANSITIONAL ORGANIZATION The use of radically different management principles to design greenfield plants in the 1970s and early 1980e provides experience that can be used in organizing for AMT. Planners of those earlier systems tended to be

OCR for page 27
34 . unduly optimistic about the ease of progressing from start-up to steady stake. Frequently they underestimated the need for temporary control and guidance of shop-floor decision making and activity until work teams gained the confidence and competence to become ~elf-managing. Some of the successfully innovative organizations started without transitional management control and technical support, but found it necessary to introduce them ad hoc after experiencing start-up difficulties. Examples of the use of transitional structures include the following: An electronics company (plant N) used an existing plant as a transitional structure in which to train employees destined for a recapitalized plant, in the same metropolitan area, with a ~tate-of-the-art production process using AMT. Employees assigned to the new facility (many of whom had worked there in its former configuration) were selected and trained for the new operations in the mother plant. They also built circuit boards that would be produced in the new plant. O The start-up structure of an engine plant (C) was designed to be lean, based on difficulties experienced during previous start-ups with innovative work structures. An electronics company (plant B) that implemented a manufacturing resource planning system had two transitional structures. Implementation initially was spearheaded by several groups, assisted by two technical groups responsible for reviewing software changes. This structure was changed to one centralized group for the final implementation phase. Eventually, the group was broken up, and individuals returned to their original functions. 0 In start-up at an appliance plant (Q), first-line managers were given multiple functional responsibilities, including engineering, manufacturing, process control, and supervision of operator.. This plan, although feasible for steady-state production, proved too ambitious for the start-up phase. In addition to the myriad technical problems accompanying start-up, the plant also faced an unexpected surge in product demand, which amplified the pressures. More staff support was required to help the firat-line managers cope with the situation.