Sunday, September 7, 2014

Is the Scientific Management going out of style?

Is the Scientific Management going out of style?

A point of view now prevails, concludes that in the age of the internet, traditional industrial scientific management is getting outdated and what we need now is creativeness, imagination and subversion.However, I think we still ask for scientific management in such an internet era.

Huawei is a worldwide leader in global information, as well as a dominant provider for communications technology solutions. Starting from a small workshop, Huawei now has achieved specialization and large-scale production. According to Mr. Ren, the key to its success is scientific management on normalizing and standardizing production process. Process Optimization is what the managers in Huwei value most in the supply chain management.

In 1993, with the help of Siemens, Huawei redesigned the whole production process. Through internal integrated logistics system, it aims to ensure quality control and production management, to reduce the circulation chains of materials and production cycle and to improve the availability of Huawei's product line. The main ideas Huawei holds can be summarized as follows:

Remove Redundancy: In the past, managers in Huawei has set up so much process control that it consequently reduce the fluency of transition, decrease the productivity and fade the enthusiasm of employees. According to Ren Zhengfei, in order to optimize workflow, to enhance efficiency and to standardize work procedures, it is important to eliminate redundant chains in the production and simplifies each step in the process. If one of the tasks in a process failed to create an expected value, then this task might be meaningless and its existence might only result in resource overconsumption.

Combine Similarities: In Huawei, if some tasks of current process cannot be canceled, then the managers would change their focuses by considering on whether these tasks could be combined. As we know, allocating different tasks in a process to different executives is necessary and effective for accelerating internal logistics and the flow of information in a company. However, it may also bring about increasing errors during the transition from one task to the next. Therefore, some mistakes can be avoid by placing multiple tasks in a process to only one executive with full responsibility. Moreover, all tasks in a process own different difficulties and therefore it causes some tasks to have idle time. Combining similar tasks to one responsible person can definitely reduce idle times and make a process more efficient.

Optimize Sequences: In this respect, the core idea, which is exactness and activity specified, that Huawei values is similar with Toyota. Through answering “Who? Where? When? ”, managers of Huawei could identify whether the arrangement of every link in the process is reasonable. If found unreasonable procedures, such process would start over. By doing so, the process could maintain the best sequence and guarantee the ordering of the whole work. A process may have hundreds of tasks. So it could cause chaos and delay the delivery time when the order of the tasks is improper and illogical. At the same time, evaluating the sequence of tasks also plays a vital role in the process management of Huawei. Managers would assess it from two aspects: waiting time (when a task is completed, do operators have to wait for others before entering the next step?) and disorder (Is the result of next task prerequisite for the accomplishment of this task?) Adjustments would be made immediately if either of these two circumstances happened.

In the world of globalization, more and more managers are devoting themselves to exploring and creating new things and new notions. Maybe it’s high time to slow down and review the lessons of history. Is the scientific management originated from Western Industrial Revolution still work for us?

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