پذیرش فن آوری پیشرفته تولید ــــ تجربه آلمانی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|3501||2005||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 25, Issue 7, July 2005, Pages 711–724
The decision process that organisations utilise when evaluating technology investment opportunities is a complex and even political process; however, the correct decision can provide the organisation with considerable operational and competitive benefits. The research presented in this paper presents the findings of a postal survey of the benefits provided by technology investments to large German manufacturers. It was found that only where middle management generated the idea for the advanced manufacturing technology (AMT) investment was success in that investment significantly more likely. Respondents who established a project team to plan the technology proposal, regardless of the department which generated the ideas for technology investment, were not significantly associated with a greater likelihood for success. The respondents typically took between 3 and 12 months before making the final decision to invest, irrespective of the department generating the idea for the AMT, and a further 6 months to implement the AMT. Respondents who utilised a discounted cashflow analysis took significantly longer to make the final decision to invest. The greatest number of manufacturing outcomes of significantly higher importance was identified for respondents where Engineering, IT or R&D generated the AMT ideas. It was also determined that the respondents most frequently considered AMT investments in computer hardware or software and technical training for process workers to be necessary at the time of considering the investment. Middle management were found to be significantly more concerned than managers on other levels about opposition of workers to the AMT, while the process workers were significantly more concerned about interruptions to the process during installation.
The decision process that organisations utilise when evaluating technology investment opportunities is a complex and even political one (Nixon, 1995); however, the correct decision can provide the organisation with considerable operational and competitive benefits (Sohal, 1995, Torkkeli and Tuominen, 2002 and Orr and Sohal, 1998). According to Olesen (1990), being willing and able to acquire technology and taking technology risks are two of the six characteristics of the most successful organisations. Advanced manufacturing technologies (AMTs) offer a wide range of benefits to the organisation (AMC, 1990), including improvements in quality, inventory control, customer lead times, machine use and efficiency, staff efficiency and morale, customer image, flexibility, and labour costs (Swann and O’Keefe, 1990, Kumar et al., 1996 and Brown, 2001). The research presented in this paper examines the benefits provided by AMT investments to large German manufacturers. The results of the manufacturing futures surveys show that different technology strategies are being adopted by manufacturing companies around the world (De Meyer et al., 1985); however, the findings of this research are likely to apply to many other countries because the important elements and practices of manufacturing strategy for manufacturing companies around the globe are similar, regardless of the economic region (Ettlie, 1996). The paper is part of a global research programme on the effectiveness of investments in AMT in Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, and USA (Sohal, 1997, Millen and Sohal, 1998, Schroder and Sohal, 1999 and Burcher et al., 1999). It can be argued that worker attitudes to workplace changes, such as the adoption of manufacturing technology, have a cultural foundation and that cultures that are less individualistic in nature, such as Germany, are also less resistant to these changes (Hofstede, 1991). For example, in the Australian context, resistance to manufacturing technology has traditionally been considered to be union based (Muhki et al., 1988). The following lists some barriers to high-technology investment in Australia which may also apply to the German context, but probably to different levels (Ward-Ambler, 1986): 1. a lack of low-cost equity financing, 2. a lack of business skills, 3. the high rate of technological change, 4. a lack of marketing skills, 5. a non-supportive community attitude. Investing in AMTs is often difficult, if not impossible, to justify on the basis of traditional analytical techniques such as payback, return on investment, net present value and internal rate of return. They require quantifiable numbers, yet many of the benefits of AMTs are hard to quantify (Carter, 1992). In fact, management accounting techniques and information are often accused of constraining technology investment (Nixon, 1995), although relatively little is known about the actual influence of management accounting practices on these decisions (Litchfield, 1994). Many of the benefits, such as strategic consistency, are difficult to quantify and are largely ignored by economic justification methods (Swann and O’Keefe, 1990). There are six stages in technology investment decision-making (King, 1975): 1. project generation, 2. estimation of cash flows, 3. progress through the organisation, 4. analysis and selection, 5. authorisation, 6. post-audit. Studies have shown that more companies place an emphasis on stages two and three of this process than on the other stages (Litchfield, 1994 and Dugdale and Jones, 1994). This means that companies gain little benefit from strategic technology planning or post-implementation feedback. An alternative technology evaluation approach, which incorporates difficult-to-quantify criteria in the analysis while providing justification in terms of corporate financial goals, includes the following stages (Boucher et al., 1993): 1. developing the criteria framework, 2. eliciting pairwise comparisons among criteria, 3. evaluating consistency of judgments, 4. computing the present worth of alternatives. This alternative approach is supported by many international studies (Litchfield, 1994, Dugdale and Jones, 1994 and Swann and O’Keefe, 1990a), which all determined that it is important to consider the whole process of investment decision-making, not just the theoretically well-developed area of cashflow analysis. It would appear that, to some extent, this need has already been identified by industry. For example, studies by Wallace, 1992 and Kumar et al., 1996 and Mohanty and Deshmukh (1998) found that the traditional, strictly financial assessment of technology performance is now being expanded by many companies to include such measures as: 1. customer satisfaction, 2. business-process competency, 3. the organisation’s ability to change and learn in a growing number of companies. Another approach that manufacturers can take when evaluating more innovative MT investment proposals is to regard the investment as an R&D project, rather than a capital investment (Carter, 1992). The decision makers can then apply the proper mixture of cashflow analysis and speculation to the analysis without the pressure to specifically quantify the outcome. Little research has been conducted into the impact of technology adoption on manufacturers in Germany. Related is a study by Welge and Al-Laham (1997) which considers general characteristics of the strategic planning process of German companies. In Raafat’s (2002) comprehensive bibliography on the adoption of AMT, no study on German companies is listed. However, there is some literature, which has explored this in parts of Asia, America, and for some European countries. Moreover, the literature suggests that many of the approaches to changes in the Asian manufacturing environment are adaptable and transferable to Western cultural context (Womack et al., 1990 and Schonberger, 1982). Nevertheless, a study of German manufacturers may yield results specific to its environment, e.g. the German system of co-determination. In the 1950s, Japan targeted high entry cost industries such as steel and ship building in which quality was very important (Halberstam, 1986). The advantage gained from using advanced production technology resulted in a strategic advantage for these Japanese industries. On the other hand, in industries in Korea in which the product lives are short and acceptable levels of quality are low (e.g. stuffed toy manufacture), technology has not been found to benefit the product or manufacturing process. These processes are now being relocated to other countries where labour costs are lower (Genzberger et al., 1994). This is supported by Gaither (1992), who found that industries such as clothing and toy manufacturing find difficulties with the adoption of technology which makes these investments unprofitable. Schroder and Sohal (1999) documented the influence of firm size and ownership structure on AMT adoption, and Abdel-Kader and Dugdale (1998) found differences between AMT and non-AMT investments. In a study of the technology adoption practice of 20 major Asian manufacturers, it was found that approaches such as Quality Function Deployment were used to facilitate the implementation of advanced manufacturing technology in manufacture and subsequently shorten the time lag between product development and full scale manufacturing (Orr and Waldron, 1997). It was also identified that some of the organisations found that quality control was more easily achieved with technology rather than with manual quality control processes. For example, Sony Precision Engineering found that workers were able to identify only 90–95% of quality defects, whereas the advanced manufacturing technology was able to identify nearly 100%. One of the key problems identified in using technology for quality control was that applying the technology to the checking process often proved to be more difficult than the automation of the actual manufacturing process itself (Orr and Waldron, 1997). In a ranking of the standard of implementation of production technologies by manufacturers in all industrialised countries, Japan was given the highest rating, Germany was given the second highest rating and Australia was rated at rank 15 (World Economic Forum, 1994). This result would suggest that there should be a similar relationship between quality and the implementation of production technologies in Germany compared to Japan. This paper will examine the relationship between this and a range of manufacturing issues and concerns associated with AMT investments in major German manufacturers. Section 2 describes the methodology and the main characteristics of the respondents. General findings like the source of the idea for the AMT, the assessment of the proposal and its installation are presented in Section 3. In Section 4, we analyse benefits and risks associated with the AMT. We conclude in Section 5 with a summary.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The findings of this research have some positives and negatives to offer for German manufacturers. From the negative perspective, the results suggest that there is no particular type of manufacturer who will be more successful with technology investments. In addition, only respondents where middle management generated the idea for the AMT investment had a significantly higher likelihood of success. In 47% of cases, middle management did not generate AMT ideas, which suggests that there is some scope for increasing the likelihood of the success of technology investments by encouraging middle management to generate more ideas for AMT investments. By comparison, 83% of respondents had AMT ideas generated by production. Respondents who established a project team to plan the technology proposal, regardless of the department which generated the ideas for technology investment, were not significantly associated with a greater likelihood for success. The research identified a lack of proposals coming from the Process Workers that would appear to be consistent with the general problems of generating ideas from the shop floor in other countries such as the UK (Womack et al., 1990). On the positive side, 54% of respondents claimed that the installations were normally successful and a further 43% claimed that the performance of the investments was satisfactory. The respondents typically took between 3 and 12 months before making the final decision to invest, irrespective of the department generating the idea for the AMT and a further six months to implement the AMT. Respondents who utilised a discounted cashflow analysis took longer to make the final decision to invest. The research also identified a number of other relationships which manufacturers could utilise to determine whether they are following popular trends with their AMT investment plans. For example, project teams were found to be multi-disciplinary with the important exception that Personnel which was totally uninvolved for all respondents. Also production needs appear to be dominant factors in AMT acquisition plans for the respondents, although the greatest number of manufacturing outcomes of significantly higher importance was identified for respondents where Engineering, IT or R&D generated the AMT ideas. The importance of gaining a competitive advantage varied the most, depending on the manufacturing process, but not on the organisational level generating the AMT idea. In addition, only the Sales department had a greater than the mean concern for the possibility of gaining a competitive advantage. It was also determined that the respondents were most likely to consider AMT investments in computer hardware or software and were likely to find technical training for process workers to be necessary. The middle management were very concerned about opposition of workers to the AMT, while the process workers were more concerned about interruptions to the process during installation. It would appear that technology has an important role to play in the operations of the manufacturers surveyed in this research, but the technology chosen, or the initiators of the idea, did not strongly relate to the performance of the technology investment or a specific set of organisational characteristics for a manufacturer considering a technology investment. The relationship would seem to be that planning and financial analysis underpins the success of a technology investment, but does not directly influence it. This finding has been supported by the literature (Orr, 1997) and suggests that there is an opportunity for an expansion of the ‘practice’ of technology assessment to include more of the issues associated with technology investments identified in this research.