Chapter title: Epilogue
Responses to Questions:
1. Technological advances in Production management have come about
mainly through automation and computerization. FMS and Computer
Integrated Manufacturing depend much on CNC machines, Robotics,
Computer Aided Design, Computer Aided Process Planning, AGVS and
AS/RS. All these developments have cut down various changeover and
transport times and have made the production more flexible, agile and
responsive to the changes in the market. Several other technological
advances have helped in reducing wastes, recycling of wastes and in
cleaner production methods that are environment-friendly.
2. Robots can work in harsh and demanding work environments for 24 hours
a day, unlike human beings. One can also expect consistency in quality.
For instance, the welding done by a robot could be very consistent. These
are the merits.
The demerit is that it is, after all, a mechanical device. It is, therefore,
insensitive or blind to many aspects of production.
It is blind to people, other machines, and environment and even to its own
3. MRP believes that the demand for components and sub-assemblies which
arises in a ‘lumpy’ fashion has to be met by a ‘lumpy’ production. Thus,
the demand on a GT cell would also arrive in a lumpy manner. Such
lumpy demand on a manufacturing cell poses problems of:
a. Capacity: Does the GT cell have enough capacity to handle
multiple lumpy (i.e. big lot) work orders at the same time?
b. Idle time: Does the GT cell remain idle at other times? What will be
the effect on the morale of the workers in the cells?
MRP’s logic of timely production of sizable batches and GT’s logic of even
flow have to be reconciled while integrating GT and MRP.
4. GT or cellular manufacturing depends upon the ‘likeness’ (in process
terms) of the items. If the items are coded in terms of their ‘processing
likeness’, or the processing features, it would help manufacturing in cells.
Cell formation and dispatching the work to cells would be much facilitated
by GT-friendly coding of items.
5. The purpose of Job Design is to make the job interesting to the person
doing it. When attitudes about work change, the Job Design has to take
into account such changes and redesign a job. With the advances in
technology, there may a ‘bipolarization’ of the jobs – making some aspects
requiring higher skills while several other aspects requiring lower levels of
skills. A production manager has to be aware of these changes and
redesign the jobs periodically in order to keep the motivation level at the
work place high. This redesign poses many HR policy challenges viz.
promotion, re-training, fitment of the existing employees into changed jobs
among other things. A production manager has to facilitate these changes.
6. Production/operations has become a highly competitive function. In fact,
the competition is global. Unless Indian manufacturers catch up on
Quality, Timely delivery, Cost efficiency which are the basics, it will be
difficult to maintain in the face of stiff global competition. Other areas
where Indian manufacturers need to catch up are Supply Chains and
Product Design. The signs of positive changes are weak as yet. It is
mainly a question of the mindset. Otherwise, the basic human resource is
a strength of this country’s industry – manufacturing or other. In the next
15-20 years India has the potential to become a major manufacturing
force; it could also miss the bus, if the issue is not handled with the
7. Depleting natural resources would mean increased dependence on
recyclable non-depleting resources. Thus, the input resources and the
outputs would change. For instance, transport may run on solar energy
instead of on petrol or diesel. India is short on many such industrial inputs.
What is being produced/used will change; production/operations will
8. Computer is used for rapid planning, designing, routing, changeover,
transport of raw-materials etc. Such agility would be wasted if an agile
manufacturing system – at least like a GT – is not present. GT is the
minimum that a CIM would expect to pair with.
9. Parts of CIM like CAD and CAE (Computer aided engineering) can be
used in any manufacturing environment including JIT. Otherwise, JIT is
more like a line production while CIM with its CAPP (Computer aid
process planning) is more suited to a job shop production system.
10. CIM provides the flexibility to operations in responding to the changed
markets. However, CIM involves sizable capital investment. Indian
manufacturing needs the added flexibilities. But, the first step required is
that of a transformation in the attitudes – which no investment, however
big, can bring about. Competitiveness has to have the foundation of the
appropriate mindset over which the other structures such as FMS or CIM
etc can be raised.
11. Indian society, for various historical reasons, has remained insular.
Family–orientedness has been its strength as well as weakness. Indian
concept of ‘family’ has been exclusive instead of being inclusive. Hence,
customer-orientedness and service orientation in the social sense has
These social attitudes are, naturally, brought to the work-place. Industrial
production has been by and large insensitive to society and its needs. The
rampant pollution, of our water resources and the air, by our
manufacturing industries and the lax implementation of the meager legal
provisions point to this insensitivity. This has to change if Indian
manufacturing industry desires to make any impression in the global
market – a market that has been asking for ecolabelling, ISO 14000 norms
and a tremendous sensitivity to environmental problems that are no more
national but global issues.
12, 13 & 14 . These are project /assignment type questions – better done by the
15. BPO’s may mostly involve the employees sitting in their workplace and
providing information and other customer services. Call centres, medical
transcription centres and other back-office processing centres do not
pollute or cause environmental damage. However, the employees need
to be transported from their residence to the workplace. This has given
rise to the 4-wheeler or 10-seater vehicle culture in the BPO capitals in
India such as Bangalore, Gurgaon, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune.
There is, consequently, an increase in traffic and in pollution levels. The
road infrastructure, already insufficient, has been further loaded due to
the extremely rapid (50 % per year) growth of this industry.
If environment could include the larger society, one has also seen a
large increase in the disposable incomes of the youth (employed in the
BPO industry). Such rapid economic change also has its own
16. Utilization of alternate resources, changing process technologies,
aligning inputs and outputs of different industries in forming a chain of
technological eco-system are issues that are organizational and inter-
organisational. Cleaner production has these dimensions.
Chapter titled: Epilogue
1. FMS can offer the flexibility of:
√c. both the above
d. none of the above
2. For FMS, the following is essential:
√a. a supervisory computer network
b. a JIT production system
c. both the above
d. none of the above
3. CIM is an integration of:
a. Product Design and Process Design.
b. PPC and Production Process.
√c. all of the above.
d. none of the above.
4. Production activity can damage the environment through:
a. harmful by-products that can degrade fast enough.
b. depletion of non-renewable resources.
√c. both the above.
d. none of the above.
5. ‘Cleaner Production’ can be obtained through:
a. technologies to convert waste of one process into a resource for
b. Value Engineering to substitute materials.
c. reducing the depletion of resources by means of recycling.
√ d. all of the above
6. FMS can be used when:
√a. production /sales volumes justify the heavy investment.
b. IT software support is close by.
c. suppliers are aligned to deliver just in time.
d. none of the above.
7. Ecolabeling can indicate that:
a. the product, during its use, is safe towards the environment
b. the manufacturing processes used while making the product were
c. the product when disposed off, after use, is safe towards the
√d. all of the above
8. Increased manufacturing efficiencies can:
a. help the cause of the environment.
b. hasten the damage to the environment.
√c. a & b
d. have no relationship to environment.
9. Alang, a small town on the Gujarat coast, has a sizable industry breaking
up old condemned ships from abroad. This is a case of:
a. recycling of materials, which is an environmentally positive action.
√b. relocation of the environmental problem.
c. technological eco-system.
d. none of the above.