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Changing Gears

Competitiveness and speed. If we were to summarise the most important characteristics of the successful business today, these might be two of the words we would use. Underlying these concepts is a different form of culture of enterprise than that of the past, one that sees response time as one of the keys to growth, along side product quality, naturally, and the quality of interpersonal relationships, which, at the end of the day, must permeate all things in a business seeking to maximise its growth potential.

These concepts – competitiveness, speed and enterprise quality – are difficult to fully comprehend, even when faced with concrete examples. This makes the work by Anna Posenato (who recently completed a three-year programme in Enterprise Engineering at the University of Padua, Department of Industrial Systems Management & Technology) an interesting read. Entitled “Analisi delle tecniche di organizzazione e gestione dei sistemi produttivi nelle imprese manifatturiere: il profilo di 3 casi studio” (Analysis of techniques in the organisation and management of production systems in manufacturing: a look at 3 case studies), the paper opens with some theory before examining three business case studies with a particular emphasis on supply chain management, which is of strategic importance to many businesses today.

One aspect makes this study particularly interesting.  It is part of the international High-Performance Manufacturing (HPM) project, which began in the U.S. in 1989 and is currently being conducted by research groups in over 50 universities in Europe, Asia, North and South America. The HPM project is, in essence, a project of international benchmarking, the purpose of which is to assess the ability of manufacturers to achieve on-going improvement through production management practices and by applying techniques of production system organisation and management, which make it possible to reach a certain degree of global competitiveness.

As explained in the paper, it was possible to experience first hand the true consequences, within a business, of the implementation – to varying degrees of efficiency – of one organisation technique compared to another. Indeed, it is important, if fairly simple, to understand what happens when a specific element – a cog or an approach to operations – changes within a complex organisation, and a look at these three (anonymous) case studies points to similarities, differences, inefficiencies, and strengths that emerge when technology changes and the culture of enterprise transforms.

Analisi delle tecniche di organizzazione e gestione dei sistemi produttivi nelle imprese manifatturiere: il profilo di 3 casi studio

Anna Posenato (Three-year programme in Enterprise Engineering at the University of Padua, Department of Industrial Systems Management & Technology)

Undergraduate Thesis, 2013-2014 academic year