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Technology and Society

Technology and Society
Technology and Society Perhaps the most striking influence of technology is found on society. Practically every area of social life and the life of every individual has been, in some sense or the other, changed by the development in technology. Technology reaches people through business: Preferences of people are constantly changing and this has pushed the business firms to the point, where innovation has become the need of the hour. The new discoveries would remain idle as mere ideas if there were no laboratories to transform the ideas into creations. Technology reaching people through business is one part of the theory. The economic prosperity of a nation depends on technology. The Non-Technical Person’s guide to building products & apps High expectations of consumers: People are used to technological innovations and breakthroughs and they want variety in every kind of purchase they make. New varieties of products, more safe and comfortable, free from pollution, are to be produced and supplied to affluent sections. This calls for a massive investment in research and development. In countries like Japan, much importance is attached to product design, quality, sophistication, delivery schedules and prices. High expectations need not be considered as problems by business persons but treated as an opportunity to satisfy their customer group. System complexity: Technology has resulted in complexity. Modern machines work faster and better, no doubt. However, if there is a technical problem, the presence of an expert is needed to repair the machinery. Again, investment in machinery adds to the cost of capital and hence the merchandise has to be purchased form reliable sources. Social change: The change in the technological process undoubtedly has its effect on the society. First, there is a change in the social life, with mobile populations drifting about in search of new centers of employment. If it happens to be an agricultural economy, the result of such a drift would prove disastrous, with society being socially uprooted. Sometimes such a drift may result in new geographical distribution of population. Technological change also brings considerable changes in the family, life style and attitude. The way we cook, communicate, use media and work are all affected by technology. Technological phases and the social systems they create: There are five stages of technological development. Each stage leaves a distinct influence on work and on social system. Sequential progress is made from the lowest level to the highest level, in such a way that these five stages roughly represent the progress of civilization throughout history. Although one phase of technology tends to dominate a nation’s activities at a particular time, other phases will be often practiced at the same time. Technology means change and more change. It forces changes on people whether they are prepared for it or not. In modern history, it has created what is called future shock, which means that change comes so fast and furious that it approaches the limits of human tolerance and people lose their ability to cope with it...
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Management Styles

Management Styles
Management Styles  Managerial practices in Asian countries  The managerial practices in Asian countries like Japan, China and India are quite different from that of economically advanced countries in the west. Industrial nations are in a position to adopt managerial approaches that suits their mode of operations and nature of labor force. In Asian countries, a paternalistic or participative leadership style is followed while directive style of leadership pattern suits the west. Basically, this difference arises due to the cultural background of people influenced by their tradition. Japanese management East Asian countries like Japan have a set of cultural norms that cannot be overlooked or sacrificed for the sake of business. Their cultural instincts are very strong and they believe in life long employment. Japanese management practice lays emphasis on seniority and shows great concern for each and every employee.  The objectives are set by the lower level employees and it is passed on to the top level management for approval. These proposals are scrutinized by the supervisors who tactfully suggest the necessary changes, instead of simply accepting or rejecting the proposed objectives. This creates a sense of belonging and the employees identify themselves with the goals of the company. Facebook Optimization (FBO) for Facebook Pages SEO Algorithm Participative Style  You cannot assure that a participative style of decision making always proves beneficial. Sometimes, managers have to show their individualism by taking tough decisions, when the situation warrants for such an action. Here the leader also becomes the firm decision maker. This is quite common in the west, where the leaders identify themselves with the profession rather than the company. Such solo decision making sometimes result in sub-optimal decisions. We are not going to compare and contrast between the various management approaches and which is better. The discussion aims at throwing light on different approaches and styles of management and how it affects the productivity of an organization. Collective Decision Making Japanese management relies on collective decision making (consensus), where the decision making might take time, but it is implemented quickly. The Japanese management is highlighted in this discussion to demonstrate the effectiveness of their approach which is followed by many western nations to ensure success. The novelty is in the fact that they treat people as human beings and not just another factor in production. The communication flows from bottom to top and back. Care is taken to define the problem with clarity before going for a decision. In the west, managers are criticized to come to conclusions even before defining the problem. Bureaucracy Bureaucracy still prevails in most of the Asian countries hindering the progress of business communities. What started as an amazing administrative legacy has now turned authoritarian. Even if the employee knows what the manager says is incorrect; he has to obey the instructions, just because it is issued by his superior. The people are expected to follow the instructions provided and not to question or suggest. Collective Responsibility  Collective responsibility and accountability, an informal organizational structure, common organizational culture and competitive spirit makes participative management approach distinct and successful. When the leader acts as a facilitator and not a dictator, naturally the employees will try to give their best shot. Collective responsibility might sometimes lead to ambiguity of decision responsibility. But individual responsibility and accountability vouches for clear and specific decision responsibility. Quality control circle Quality control circle is another feature that distinguishes Japanese management from others. Workshops are organized in a periodic fashion to arrive at solutions for problem situations, be it worker welfare, bottlenecks or interpersonal skills. The focus is on group performance and peers help one another in enhancing the performance and thus increase the overall productivity. Firms must carefully choose a management style that caters to the needs of future requirements of the company and the...
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Design of an Ideal Plant Layout

Design of an Ideal Plant Layout
Design of an Ideal Plant Layout Approach to proper layout: When a new plant is erected, a good deal of expertise is used by management to design a proper layout. A comprehensive approach with regard to the placement of machineries, location of stores, inspection cabins, tool rooms, maintenance wings, receiving and shipping departments, toilets, canteens and other handling equipments, is necessary for achieving quick and smooth production at the least cost. There is no set pattern of layout for all plants. What is suitable for a giant plant will not be fit for a small factory. What goes well with a processing industry may not match a job industry. But, the basic principles governing a plant layout are more or less the same. Cost of Production: The all time concern of big industries is the ever rising cost of production. Their priority would be mass production or continuous production to factorise the economy of scale. This is possible where industries are involved in producing highly standardized products. Industries involved in the production of customized or specialized products, catering to premium customers, cannot go for mass production since it is not a feasible option. They have to dedicate separate lines of production for different products. Invariable of the type of production, all industries need to cut down their costs wherever possible. The only possible solution is to design a suitable layout that facilitates uniform and minimum movement of materials thus avoiding wastage, minimization of production delays and avoidance of bottlenecks. An ideally laid plant layout reduces manufacturing costs through reduced materials handling, reduced personnel and equipment requirements and reduced in-process inventory. It is amazing how industries in Japan have mastered the art of employing Just-in-time concept, which focuses on continuous improvement and increases the rate of return on investment by reducing the in-process inventory and associated costs. The importance of plant layout would be better appreciated if one understands the influence of an efficient layout on the manufacturing function. An efficient plant layout would definitely incorporate the following aspects: Economies in handling-cut down material handling costs that account for 30-40 percent of the manufacturing cost Effective use of available space-especially in urban areas, where every inch of available space is an asset. Minimization of production delays-on time delivery schedules and speedy execution will help. Improved quality control-to reach expected standards of production Minimum equipment investment-by planned machine balance and location Identification and rectification of bottlenecks-don’t allow materials to pile up at any place of production, don’t allow workers to be lethargic, keep the machines in the best of condition to speed up operations Better production control-facilitated by a planned layout Better supervision-a good plant layout enables the supervisor to have a hawks eye on the entire shop floor Improved utilization of labor-process flow should be planned in such a way that workers should be equipped all the time without any lull Improved employee morale-by providing better working conditions, employee facilities, increased earnings, reduced accidents etc. , Scope for Expansion: A good plant layout must also have scope for expansion or revision in future. Even best layouts become obsolete over a period of time, so revisions ranging from minor alterations to a complete dismantling of the existing structure and installation of a new layout become necessary from time to time. Manufacturers, who are keen to survive the global competition, must consider revising their layouts which should fall in line with technological and market...
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