Historical Evolution of Production Management - Kickoffall Info Hub

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Historical Evolution of Production Management

The 'production' was one of the basic activity of any society from the starting of the mankind to fulfill their basic needs; although, as an organized process, the production management was introduced in the 18th century. Then onward, the production management has evolved historically through various stages of development to the contemporary level of innovated process. The historical developmental stages of Production Management  includes Industrial Revolution, scientific management, human relations movement, operations research, computer applications and service revolution.

1. Industrial revolution
Industrial revolution is considered as the beginning of the production management.  Industrial Revolution is the process of transformation from an agrarian, handicraft economy to the economy based on industry and machine manufacture. This process started in England in the 18th century and  then spread globally.  
The main features of Industrial Revolution were technological, socioeconomic, and cultural changes.

The technological changes includes the following:
(1)    The use of new basic materials such as iron and steel,
(2)     The use of new energy sources which includes coal, the steam engine, electricity, petroleum.
(3)    The invention of new machines like spinning jenny.
(4)    A new organization of work; the factory system, which is characterized with division of labor and specialization of function.
(5)    Developments in transportation and communication such as steamship, airplane, telegraph, automobile and radio.
(6)     The application of science to industry.
(7)    Other Important technological developments are textile mass manufacturing system, Metallurgy, steam power, Machine tools, Chemicals, Cement, Gas lighting, Glass making, Paper machine and Mining. 

2.            Scientific management
The era of scientific management was introduced with the work of F.W.Taylor (father of scientific management) started in 1878.
It is a theory of management that analyzed and combined workflows. Its main objective was improving economic effectiveness, especially labor productivity. 

Some of the major developments during the scientific management era are as follows:
FW Taylor’s ‘principles of scientific management’ (1911) is considered as the beginning of the field of operations management.
In 1911, Frank Gilberth and his wife Lillian Gilberth developed the concept of ‘Therbligs’ for  time-motion study.
In 1913, Henry Ford developed the concept of mass production and arranged work stations into an assembly line with moving belt.
In 1913, Henry Gantt made his best known contribution in charting the production schedules using a visual tool which known as ‘Gantt -Chart’ and is an effective practical tool even today.
In 1924, W. shewhart developed the concept of statistical quality control and developed control charts for monitoring the quality of production processes.
In 1928, Wilson developed the concept of Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) which is still recognized for scientific analysis of inventory systems.

1    3.   The human relations movement
In 1933, Elton Mayo conducted his famous human relations experiments at Western Electric’s Hawthorne plant looking into human and social aspects of work.
In 1937, L.H.C. Tippet developed the concept of work sampling to measure the level of machine and manpower utilization and for setting work standards. 

4. Operations Research
In and around 1950, two major developments that influenced operations management were (1) the emergence of techniques of ‘operations research’ beyond military context. It helped to solve problems related to resource allocation, scheduling, processing inventory, location, layout and (2) the developments in engineering offered L.D Miles. It helped in efficiently identifying the unnecessary costs.

5. Computers and advanced production technology
       Developments in computers led to computerized applications of industrial engineering.
       Developments in MIS (management information system) and DSS (decision support system) provided a further boost to the developments in operations management.
       In 1958, the network based techniques were used for analysis of large projects.
       In the late of 1950’s scholars and researchers in the field began to generalize the problems and techniques of manufacturing management to other production organizations and other process industries leading to the emergence of the concept of production management as a functional management discipline.

6. The service revolution
       In the late 1960s the concept of operations management expanded to include service sectors as well.
       Japanese management techniques like Just in time (JIT)/ Toyota Production system (TPS), Short Cycle Manufacturing by Motorola/ Continuous flow manufacturing by IBM and  Quality Circles (QC) are recent developments in the field.
       Other notable developments in recent pasts are Flexible manufacturing systems (FMS) and computer aided design/ manufacturing (CAD/CAM)
       Software defined operations by the expansion of some revolutionary technology such as 3D printing and intelligent robotics.

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