Dr. John Psarouthakis
We must recognize that the development and deployment of new technology is only one part of our competitiveness problem. Technology may, in fact, not be the primary or most important factor in regaining manufacturing competitiveness. Perhaps foremost among these other factors is a lack of ability in managing the manufacturing enterprise.
There are a number of ways in which our managerial shortcomings manifest themselves.
One is that many accepted management structures and practices do not interface well with advanced manufacturing technology. The product and process flexibility of new technologies, the linking together of different operational nodes on an electronic network, and the “knowledge-embededness” of the new technologies tends to make a traditional “bureaucratic” command structure obsolete. There is a much greater emphasis on inter-functional and interdepartmental integration in the organization of the future,as well as less of a need for hierarchy and accompanying rigid status structure. There is a requirement for multi-skilled employees, and greater responsibilities must be given to each of them than is required by task specialization.