App. B—Commissioned Background Papers . 117
prevent the increasing use of robots in older plants, but they would seem to encourage introducing robots only slowly and in scattered operations, thereby minimizing the rate of gains in productivity and cost savings while easing labor
resistance. cognized by
when an immediate threat to are such resistances likely
survival of the plant is re- to inhibit major readjustments.
But it should be noted once again that large scale introductions of robots would seldom offer substantial economies anyhow, except as a means of implementing
plans for broader programmable automation.
And these can seldom be retrofitted
into old plants, except through major modernization programs involving in production facilities and equipment as well as operating practices.
Consideration of large scale programs of programmable automation and robot- icization, however, raises fundamental questions concerning the past balancing of prospective incentives and deterrents by managements, and the possible need
to shift that balance to provide greater encouragement to
and risky advances.
commitments involved in developing and Key elements would seem to include:
undertaking the costly major technological
increasing the prospective profitability of longer term investments in advanced production facilities and in seeking to develop major techno- logical improvements in processes as well as products;
increasing the availability of trained technical manpower to guide and manage such developments as well as the availability of a richer foun- dation of scientific and technological research and pre-commercial development as the basis for private commercialization efforts;
increasing labor recognition of the urgency of achieving major advances in cost competitiveness in order to ease threats to employment and also easing resulting burdens on labor resulting from co-operation in the utilization of technological innovations offering such advances.
Meeting such needs would seem to require substantial contributions from
from labor organizations and from universities as well as from
failure to meet such needs would probably exact beneficiaries of an effective industrial economy.
For more detailed discussion, see
Analysis, Managerial Strategies and Government Policies
(Lexington, MA: D. C.
B. Cold, productivity, Lexington Books, 1979) chapter 17. AISO
see B. Gold, An Improved Model for Managerial Evaluation and Utilization
of Computer–Aided Manufacturing:
A Report to the National Research Council
( W a s
n g t o n ,