Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 1993, XVI, 228 pp. 85 figs.
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The author describes the predicament of an industry which is coming under increasing pressure in the world market and is seeking new approaches to the challenges arising. Then, by drawing an analogy to the paradigm shift taking place in the natural sciences, he discerns the need for product engineering to similarly cast aside existing deterministic philosophies. Self-similarity, self-organization and dynamics are the principles from which the manufacturing corporation of the future, perceiving its identity as a service enterprise, will draw its models. Constant structural development and the maximum exploitation of staff potential will provide new ways of utilizing one's own strengths to best advantage. This insight creates a long-term perspective for retaining competitiveness in the twenty-first century.
1. Survival in a Turbulent Environment.- 2. Manufacturing — Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.- Changes through industrial revolutions.- The question of factory location.- Man and employment — aspects of sociology and ergonomics.- The division of labor — a feature of an efficient economy.- Why are successful businesses successful?.- Outlines of some approaches from the USA and Japan.- Cultural consequences are more serious than technical consequences.- 3. Organizational Design — a Key Component of Strategy.- More knowledge — less plannability.- Service in competition — we are all suppliers and customers.- Complexity and specialization.- Information as a production factor.- The factory of the future?.- Order and chaos — two complementary views of the world.- Structure formation through self-organization.- The world of fractals.- 4. The Fractal Factory — an Integrating Approach.- Definition.- The characteristic of self-similarity.- The characteristic of self-organization.- The characteristics of dynamics and vitality.- An old rule: simplify and maintain order.- Communication and information.- Goal-formation processes.- Navigation and control.- Management and the workforce.- Performance assessment and evaluation.- Working hours.- The way to the Fractal Factory — an exemplary case-study.- 5. A Glance into the Future.