The Impact of Numerically Controlled Equipment on Factory Organization

by Lawrence Williams, C. Williams



After a decade of experience most managers, albeit reluctantly, have accepted the idea that the high-speed computer represents more than just another piece of hardware. Most computer installations have resulted in a changed organization and job structure. This consequence has been far greater than was anticipated when the computer was viewed as simply another piece of expensive equipment. The primary impact of the computer has been in the white-collar world. Factory management is now confronted with a new technology which in character is the blue-collar counterpart of the computer i.e. the application of Numeric Control systems to the manufacturing process. Numeric Control is a control system using punched tape or other automatic control devices to direct the operation of machines and machine systems. Those who argue for employing a low-skilled operator are usually not directly concerned with the success of the new equipment, such as the wage and salary group. In most observed cases, there was a conscious uncertainty as to the ability of the equipment to perform satisfactorily without a high technical operator input, an uncertainty largely due to the infancy of Numeric Control.

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