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Chapter 37: Technology in Operations
Types of Technology
Robotic Engineering: Using robots as part of the manufacturing process
Computer Technology: Computers are used by businesses in lots of different
ways. Product development, business communications and finance departments
all depend heavily on IT systems.
Can reduce costs
Usually used to replace human staff for tasks which are dangerous, repetitive or
Companies that are planning to replace human workers with robots need to
weigh up the advantages of using robots against the demotivating effect that it is
likely to have on staff
Need fewer employees (costs fall), more accurate and reliable, human error is
eliminated, can be used for tasks that could be unsafe for humans
Some staff may lose their jobs, demotivating for colleagues, incorrect
programming can lead to errors being made, high initial cost, and maintenance
can be expensive.
IT makes companies more efficient
CAD: Managers don't have to wait for a prototype before knowing what it will
CAM: Products are designed on a computer and then the design data is fed
straight into the production machine
Stock Control: Holding stock information in a database makes it much easier
to monitor. Often combined with Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) meaning
missing stock can be ordered automatically
Budgetary Control: Can easily compare current expenditure levels with
original budgets using spreadsheets
Spreadsheets: Allow managers to look at `what if?' scenarios and therefore
make decisions easier.
Communication is faster and more effective
Email is a fast and efficient
Internet allows businesses to reach a larger customer base.
Using technology to gather information about customers
Supermarkets offer loyalty cards
Databases with mailing lists etc.
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Social networking websites: Companies who advertise on these sites can
make their adverts visible only to the people who are likely to buy their product.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Increased productivity, improved quality, reduced waste, more effective and
efficient delivery, more effective marketing, more productive staff utilisation,
reduced admin costs, better communications.
Initial costs of technology may be high, technology requires constant updating in
order to stay current which can also be expensive, may create an increased
need for staff training.…read more