Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM)

QRM was developed to make companies more efficient and hence profitable. QRM requires the manufacturer to move from traditional batch productions to 'flow' production. In essence, QRM turns the company into one that responds to actual consumer demand rather than planning for an unexpected demand that may or may not happen. QRM involves several concepts such as Total Quality Management, Just In Time, and Manufacturing Cells, but it's main aim is to increase the overall flexibility and responsiveness of the company.

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Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

EDI is a way for companies to do 'paperless' business using a process that transfers business documents through a computer network, rather than via the postal service.

  • Many modern companies use EDI as a fast, inexpensive and secure system of sending purchase orders, invoices, designs and manufacturing data.
  • You can use it to transfer large complex CAD drawings and some companies use it to communicate between locations worldwide.
  • Transmit payments
  • Relies on an agreement between the sender and reciever to use a standard document for it to be transferred

To send a document, EDI translation software is used to convert the document format into the agreed standard - the translator wraps it in an electronic envelope with an ID code and mails it.

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IDSN and broadband have enabled highspeed  data and communications transfers, which can be used in a videoconferencing system.

  • Two or more locations to interact using two-way video and audio transmissions simultaneously.
  • Videoconferencing system includes: video camera to capture images, a screen to view images, microphones to pick up sound and loudspeakers to play sounds.


  • Dedicated Systems - these have all the required components packaged into a single console.
  • Desktop - these are add-ons to normal PC's, including webcams and microphones.
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Intergrated Services Digital Networks and Broadban

The development of ISDN and, more recently broadband technology, means that huge amounts of information can be transferred across computer networks at great speeds

The purpose of ISDN is to provide fully intergrated digital services to users comprising digital and telephony services through existing telephone networks. ISDN involves the digitisation of the telephone network, which enable voice, data, text, graphics, music and video to be transmitted over existing telephone lines.

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Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT)

Advanced Manufacturing Technology described the importance and significant impact of computers on manufacturing. Computer technology has revolutionised the way that products are designed and manufactured. At every stage of the manufacturing process, computer technology is used to ensure fast, efficient, high-quality production.

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Kanban uses cards or containers as simple visual signals to indicate when to pull materials, componenets or products throught the production system. The system relies on a simple rule of only producing or delivering when a card or empty container is passed to a workstation or manufacturing cell. The main benefit of using Kanban is that it reduces the amount of work-in progress and finished goods in stock. Kanban restricts the supply of materials and components until they are needed which provides an effective JIT system.

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Information and Communication Technology ( ICT) has improved the reach (level of communication across a network) and range (types of data transfer available) of electronic communication. Email is the simplest form of electronic communication and has a comparatively low level of reach and range when used for messaging or  transferring documents.

It has proved invaluable in rapid communication between designers, manufacturers, retailerrs and consumers due to its ease of use and wide spread access through internet communications.

  • It has all but replaced the postal service
  • there are issues about security and privacy, limitations on the size of attatchments.
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Computer- Aided Quality Control (CAQ)

Computer Aided Quality Control can be achieved within a manufacturing cell using a co-ordinate measuring machine (CMM). A CMM is a mechanical system designed to move a measuring probe to determine the co-ordinates of points on thee surface of a work piece to accurately measure the size and posiitons of features on mechanical parts. This provides data that can be immediately feb bcak into the production process to analyse extremely small tolerances and control the quality of components.

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Technological Obsolescence


Occurs mainly in the computer and electronics industries where companies are forced to introduce new products with increased technological features as rapidly as possible to stay ahead of competition.


Mobile phones with image capture almost immediately supersed with moving image capture.

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Post-poned Obsolescence


Occurs when companies launch a new product even though they have the technology to release a better product at the time.


It is not unrealistic to imagine that when Sony launched its PS3 games console, it knew what its next generations game console would look like; the PS4.

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Style Obsolescence


Occurs due to changes in fashion and trends where products seem to fall out of date and force the customer to replace them with current 'trendy' goods.



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Concurrent Manufacturing

In order to remain competetive and cope with increasing market pressure from mounting customer demands, manufacturers need to get to market first with products that customers want. Concurrent manufacturing is about all of the key people who work at each stage of the design and manufacturing process working together to make sure that changes to one part of the process will not require changes to be made at another. This reduces product development times and enables the earlier release of new products. Concurrent manufacturing systems aim to eliminate the need for design changes and overcome production problems. Advantages of using QFD as part of a concurrent manufacturing system are:

  • reduced time to market
  • reduction in design modifications
  • decreased design and manufacturing costs
  • improved quality
  • enhanced customer satisfaction
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Flexible Manufacturing Systems

A flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is one where several machines are linked together by a material-handling system such as a computer controlled robot or conveyor system. An FMS brings together new manufacturing technologies such as CNC or robotics to for an intergrated system. It is different from an automated production line because of its ability to process more than one type of product at the same time.

Modern FMS have powerful computing capacities that give them the ability not only to control and co-ordinate the individual equipment, but also to perform production planning. The main advantage to FMS is its high flexibility in managing manufacturing resources like time and effort in order to manufacture a new product. This felxibility allows the system to react quickly to changes in production, utilising two main features.

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Flexible Manufacturing Systems 2

  • Machine flexibility - involves the systems ability to be changes to produce new product types, and the ability to change the order of operations carried out.
  • Routing flexibility - involves the ability to use several machines at the same time to perform the same operations on apart thus increasing the speed of production. Also, these systems can readily adapt to changes in the product such as volume or size.


  • increased productivity due to automation
  • shorter lead times
  • low labour costs due to automations
  • improved production quality due to elimination of human error.
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Built in Obsolescence

Built in, or planned obsolescence is a method of stimulating consumer demand by designing products that wear out or become outmoded after limited use. By the 1950's built in obsolescence had been routinely adopted by a range of industries, most notably in the American moto companies and domestic appliance sectors. Nowdays, products such as laptop comuters are obsolute as soon as they are purchased.

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Modernism -1900 - 1930

modernist designers and architects rejected the old style of designed based on natural forms and materials. They believed in 'machine aesthetics' which celebrate new technology, mechanised industry and modern materials. Geometrical shapes were featured frequently.

Style - "form follows function", the Bauhaus featured functional design as apposed to highly decorative design.

"products for a machine age", products respected the use of modern materials such as tubular steel, products looked as if they had been made with machinery rather than based on ntural forms.


  • a new school of art and design, built in Germany after the country was in devestation after the war.
  • built by Walter Gropious
  • it was able to combine all of the arts in unity
  • built for the need to teach new skills
  • it was intended to remove the distinction between fine art and applied arts.
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Streamlining 1935 - 1955

Towards the end of the Art Deco period, a new style emerged known as Streamlined Moderne, influenced by the modern aerodynamic designs deprived from advancing technologies in aviation and high speed transportation. It was a new period of new materials and mass production processes that could produce more refined products.

Streamlining is the shaping of an object to reduce the amount of drag or resistance to motion through a stream of air -  a curved shape allows air to flow smoothly aorund it.

"teardrop" shape - this aerodynamic form began the new aesthetic direction and guided the design of modern materials



-first steamlined train

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Art Nouveau - 1890 - 1905

Art Nouveau was an international style of decoration and architecture that developed in the late 19th Century. It was developed by a new generation of artists and designers who sought to fashion an art form appropriate to the modern age.

  • the concept of a unity and harmony across various fine arts and crafts media and formulation of new aesthetic values.


  • Nature
  • The female form
  • Cultures


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Rapid Prototyping - Prototyping


The primary use is to quickly create prototypes for communication and testing purposes. Prototypes dramatically improve communication as most people find 3D objects easier to understand than CAD drawings. Prototypes are also useful for testing a design to deteermine whether it performs a certain function.

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Rapid Prototyping - Rapid Tooling


The automatic fabrication of production - quality machine tools using RPT techniques. Tooling is one of the most expensive steps in the maufactuing process because of the extrememly high quality required. CNC and manual machining have traditionally been used to make machine tools but these are both expensive and time consuming. Rapid tooling enables the manufacture of standard machine tools in prototype lead times.

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Rapid Prototyping - Rapid Manufacturing


The automated manuacture of saleable products directly from 3D CAD data. Cost effective for low volume and small components where the unit cost is high as it eliminates the need for expensive tooling. It can also provides custom-made components to the customers exact specific specifications.

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Rapid Prototyping

Models that have historically taken days or weeks to construct through traditional modelling methods can be made in just a few hours using a rapid prototyping system, such as stereolithography. This allows designers, production directors and marketing personnel the ability to review the fuction, ease of manufavture and marketability of a product within days of the initial designs, shortening design and development cycles, enhancing design quality and accuracy and reducing development costs.

RPT machines have the capability to produce solid models from a variety of materials including numerous plastics, ceramics, woods and metals by taking thin horizontal cross sections from a 3D computer model layer by layer. Compared with traditional machining methods, which form by wastage, rapid prototyping offers advantages as complex and intricate models cn be produced without the need for complicated machine tool set up.

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Electronic Point of Sale

By using EPOS systems, a business is able to supply and deliver its products and services fasterr by reducing the time between placing the order and the delivery of a product.

Each product can be electronically identified using its unique barcode. When passed over a barcode reader or scanner, the barcode is read by a laser beam. The laser scans the bar code and reflects back on to a photoeletctric cell. The bars are detected because they reflect less light that the background on which they are printed. Each product has its own unique 13 digit number. The first two numbers indicate where the product was made, the next five are the brand owners number, the next five are given by the manufacturer to identify the type of product and the final digit is the check digit, which confirms that the whole number has been scanned properly.

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EPOS and the associated management software provides manufacturers with:

  • a full and immediate account of the financial transactions involving the company's productions
  • data that can be input into spreadsheets for sales/ profit margin analysis
  • the means to monitor the performance of all product lines, which is particularly important in mass production as it allows the company to react quickly to demand
  • accurate information for identifying consumer buying trends when making marketing decisions
  • a full and responsive stock control system by providing real-time stock updates
  • a system that endures sufficient stock is available to meet customer needs without over-stocking, which ties up capital.
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Internet marketing and sales

The development of the internet as a means of competing in a global marketplace has revolutionised the marketing and sales of products and services. Through the gloabal networking of computers, the internet provides and effective means of accessing a wealth of information and entertainment for anyone with a computer connected to the internet.

The dramatic rise in e-commerce has led to virtual communities being formed, which businesses are eager to explore. The possibilities for innovative marketing techniques are endless due to the simple identification of target groups by user preferences. Marketing can be 'tailor made' to suit these markets, so a marketing message can be sent directly to potential customers as opposed ti 'blanket' advertising in traditional media.

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Advantages of Internet sales & marketing

To manufacturers and retailers:

  • world-wide reach and access to new markets and increased customer base
  • increased company profle on a world wide base
  • faster processing of orders and transactions, resulting in efficiency savings and reduced overheads
  • detailed knowledge of user preferences and market trends by tracking sales
  • cost savings due to reduced sales force and need for retail outlets
  • less expensive than traditional advertising media such as TV or magazines
  • innovative marketing tactics can be employed that target specific groups

To the consumer:

  • access to a wide range of products and services
  • availability of product information to inform purchasing decisions
  • online discounts through price comparison websites
  • convenience of shopping at home
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Disadvantages of Internet sales and marketing

  • security concerns regarding input of personal bank details when purchasing goods
  • personal infomation can be shared with other companies without customer consent
  • diffficult to find websites without exact details, resulting in a need for other expensive marketing ads
  • slow internet connection can cause difficulties in accessing information
  • difficulty in navigating complicated Web pages
  • does not allow 'hands on' experience of a product
  • access to innapropriate material
  • spread of 'junk' mail and threat of computer viruses
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Blue/ Green Screen

This is a popular and widely used effect as it enables actors or scale models to be imposed on a separate filmed or computer generated background. This technique can be used to create scenes that would be impossible or too dangerous to film or impose actors in a futuristic computer-generated scene. Many 'virtual' news studios are now set up in this manner, with the newsreaders sitting in front of blue screens with headlines and graphics imposed behind them.

The background and foreground of a scene are shot seperately as two pieces of film and then combined in a process known as compositing. This is achieved using digital technology where the two films are digitised and the composite image made on a computer before being processed as a film. First, the background is filmed or created using computer-generated images (CGI) - this is called a background plate. Then the actor is filmed against a blue screen, which can be passed through a red filter to make it appear black. Silhouttes or mattes are created of the actor from the blue screen footage; one is black on a white background, and the other is white on a black background.

These four layers are combined to make a composite image. The black silhouette is placed on the backgrround plate, creating a 'hole' into which the footage of the actor can be accurately placed.

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Computer-generated images are now commonplace in films, where they are used to crete visual effects that would not be possible using traditional methods. CGI mixed with live action gives rise to some extremely dramatic effects but many films are not entirely computer generated. The techniques used to manipulate existing images are part of a stage called post-production.

3D modelling - is the process of developing a wire frame representation of a ny 3D object using specialised software. This wireframe is then rendered with both colour and textures and lighting effects added.

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Motioon Capture - CGI

Motion caputure involves a performer wearing markers near each joint to identify the motion by the positions or angles between the markers. The motion capture computer software tracks the movement of the markers and records the positions, angles and speed to provide an accurate digital representation of the motion.

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Rotoscoping - CGI

Rotoscoping is another animation technique in which animators trace over live-action film movement, frame by frame, for use in animated films. It was originally used by animators to mimic real-life movements by pre-recording live-action film images that were then projected onto a frosted glass panel and redrawn. The rotoscope projection equipment has now been replaced by computers and is referred to as interpolated  rotoscoping.

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Advantages of CGI

  • The director can choose any angle for a scene, including angles that would have beeen impossible in live action movie.
  • Eliminates need for excessive and time consuming green screen filming and set construction.
  • Limitless possibilities for rotating effect.
  • Costumes, make-up, body size and age can be changed to whatever is needed.
  • Characters blend in seamlessly with their digital environments.
  • Light, colours and filters are added digitally after filming.
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Disadvantages of CGI

  • Expensive hardware and special programmes are required to obtain and process the data.
  • Highly skilled technical animators required.
  • The technology becomes obsolete rapidly as bettter software and techniques are developed/
  • Movement that does not follow the laws of physics generally cannot be repeated.
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Biotechnology - GM trees

The paper and board industry is placing greater demands on existing plantations and forests producing wood pulp because of the rapid growth in paper products. Only 10% of land in the UK is forested; as a consequence, timber products, including wood pulp and paper goods, represent the UK's fourth-biggest import.

Biotechnology is at the forefront of research, experimentation and field trials into genetically modified (GM) trees for producing high yeilds of wood pulp. GM trees are the result of gene manipulation. This involves artificially inserting a gene from one plant into another, producing a change in the tree's biological characteristics.The main advantages to the paper and board industry from GM trees are:

  • quicker-growing trees to provide a sustainable supply of wood pulp
  • resistance to disease and insect attack to provide high-quality products.
  • reduced strength of lignin fibres enabling a reductiion in the amount of chemicals needed in the paper making process.
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Biotechnology - Biodegradable polymers

Biodegradable polymers are materials derived from from renewable raw materials that will decompose in the nature environment. Biodegradation of polymers is achieved by enabling micro organisms in the environment to break down the molecular structure of the polymer to produce an inert material that is less harmful to the environment.

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Advantages of genetically modified trees

  • Aids resistance of trees to disease.
  • Reduction of lignin in tree growth.
  • Reduces the toxic chemicals used in the paper industry needed to break down lignin
  • Produces trees with increased growth rate
  • Better forest management, which reduces deforestisation
  • Trees grown specifically for the paper industry
  • Enzymes break down timber fibres more effectively
  • Paper fibres can be more effectively bonded
  • Recycled paper can be treated more effectively/ easily.
  • Paper treated to biodegrade more easily and quicker.
  • Efficient and fasster production.
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Disadvantages of genetically modified trees

  • Long-term side effects not yet apparent
  • 'Escape' of modified genes into natural ecosystems
  • Development of tolerance to the modified trait by insects or disease organisms.
  • Rapid growth could cause shorter, more intensive rotations, resulting in greater wter demand and reduced opportunity for nutrient recycling
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Advantages of biodegradable polymers

  • Fully degradable in suitable conditions, e.g. sun, moisture and oxygen.
  • Reduction of time in landfill and the associated harmful effects.
  • Starch-based plastics are formed from carbon that is already  in the eco-system so does not contribute to global warming.
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Disadvantages of biodegradable polymers

  • Degradation of some plastics still contributes to global warming through the release of carbon dioxide as a main end-product.
  • Damages recycled plastics when mixed and reduces their value.
  • Fully biodegradable polymers are more expensive as they are not widely produced to achieve large economies of scale.
  • May not be as energy efficient to produce as synthetic polymers.
  • Semi-biodegradable polymers remain in the environment for years.
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Applications of biodgradable polymers

  • Packaging, e.g. blow moulded bottles.
  • Disposable products used in the food industry, e.g. utensils and dishes.
  • Plastic wrap for packaging, e.g. moisture barrier films for hygienic products.
  • Coatings for paper and board.
  • Agricultural uses, e.g. slow-release pesticides and fertilizers, mulches that degrades over time
  • Medical uses
  • Pharmaceutical uses
  • New natural fibres for the textiles industry
  • Replacement for expanded polystyrene.
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Biopol is a trade name of the british chemical company ICI for the first fully biodegradable polymer, developed commercially in the 1990s. Its first uses were in the packaging industry to produce blow moulded shampoo as the material is water resistant and provides an effective barrier to air.

Biopol is produced in nature through the fermentation by the bacterias of sugars (glucose) and other carbohydrates that are collected in their cells as reserve materials. Once this reserve material is separated and refined from the bacteria, a white powdered polymer is extracted. This polymer can then be used in the usual manufacturing processes to produce plastic products. The signifcance of this is that Biopol is produced naturally by renewable agricultural resources and, most importantly, it is fully biodegradable.

Biopol is stable when stored in air and is quite stable when stored even in humid conditions. Degradation to carbon dioxide and water will only occur when the polymer is exposed to micro-organisms found naturally in soil, sewage, river bottoms and other similar environments. The rate of degradation is dependant on the material thickness and the number of bacteria present.

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Robots in automated manufacturing systems

The vast majority of robots in use today are found in the manufacturing industry on automated production andassembly lines and in manufacturing cells. Auntomation is the use of computer systems to control industrial machinery and processes, largely replacing human operators.

The basic robotics technology in modern industrial robots is similar to CNC technology, but most robots have many degrees of freedom. In manufacturing applications, robots can be used for assembly work, processes such as painting, weelding etc. More recently, robots have been eqquiped with sensory feedback through vision and tactile sensors.

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Advantages of robots for manufacturing

  • Ideal for repetetive, monotonous, mundane tasks requiring extreme precison.
  • Can be used in hazardous environments not suitable for human operators.
  • Able to carry extremely heavy loads
  • Highly flexible when responding to change as they are re-programmable
  • Do not tire or suffer from lack of concentration and stress during repetetive tasks over long periods.
  • Cost effective as robots can operate continuously resulting in increased productivity.
  • Produce high-repeatability, high-quality products using highly accurate inspection and measurement sensors.
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Disadvantages for robots in manufacturing

  • Robots do not have an impressive array of sensors as humans (touch, vision, hearing, pattern recognition)
  • Robots do not have the ability to learn and make decisions when the required data does not exist
  • Robots are not as flexible as humans and are harder to program to perform specific tasks
  • Robotics technology is extremely expensive to purchase and install in automated manufacturing
  • Human operators have to be excluded from robot working areas due to safety issues
  • High cost of making robot cells safe, including collision sensors.
  • Maintenance issues as different brands of robots use different control systems, so maintenance  crews need different specialist training.
  • No standard robot programming language implemented, which can cause operating problems between different brands.
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design for the future

A machine with artificial intelligence is one that exhibits human intelligence and behaviour and can demonstrate the ability to learn and adapt through experience. Research undertaken in the 1980s focused creating super computers that could solve problems using reasoning skills like humans. However, humans have a consciousness that gives us feelings and makes us aware of our own existence, and scientists have found it extremely difficult to get robots to caarry out simple thinking tasks.

Expert systems are so called because of their ability to process large amounts of information and seemingly make decisions which are 'similar' to humans, in fact they are based  upon logic systems. A very good example of an expert system is a computer controlled chess game which constantly processes the options available before making a move. This way it appears to be operating like a human.

Autonomous robots, in manufacturing the goal is to enable robots to learn the skills needed for any particular environment rather than programming them for a specific repetetivee task. Intelligent machine vision systems are key to this as cameras are not as good as human optics .Humans can rely on guess work, but robots must comprehend an image by examining pixels and attempt to develop conclusions using expert systems.

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The global marketplace

The need to be competetive means that many companies sell their products all over the world. It can sometimes be a problem to design for unfamiliar markets or design products that will sell across different countries. Many countries employ design teams situated throughout the world so they can design for a particular local market or culture. Other companies use focused market research to discover the needs of specific markets.

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Offshore manufacturing of multinationals

Offshore manufacturing is a driving force in the global marketplace. Therre is an increased awareness by multinational companies based in developed countries of the value of offshore manufacturing as a vital stategic tool. Many companies will draw upon the individual expertise of other companies to develop new products, especially in the field of technology.

Companies are relocating to less-developed countries such as India, China and former Soviet nations and outsourcing their work. Modern corporate buildings and industrial estates are sprouting up in these countries to supply the new demand for outsourcing and offshore manufacturing.

The driving forces are digitisation, the Internet and high speed data networks that cover the entire globe. Design data can simply be sent to another country for manufacture or localised expertise can provide the design and development of new products.Multinationals manufacture offshore or outsource because it costs them less. It is now possible to recieve the same quality work at a fraction of the cost than if Western companies manufactured in their own countries. This then calls into question ethical issues such as large scale unemployment in developed countries and exploitation of labour in developing countries, however workers in developing countries may not be given the opportunities for promotion, pay rise and company benefits that the developed country employees demand as basic human rights.

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Advantages of global manufacturing in developing c

  • Economic regeneration of local areas through increased employment in manufacturing and service industries.
  • Improvement in living standards through career developmeent and multi-skilling of work force.
  • Physical regeneration of local areas through development of infrastructure, transportation and/or local amenities.
  • Widening of the countries economic base and enabling of foreign currency to be brought into the country, which improves their balance of payments.
  • Enabling of the transfer of technology that would be impossible without the financial backing of multi nationals.
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Disadvantages of global manufacturing in developin

Environmental Issues:

  • increased pollution and waste production as a result od manufacturing activities
  • destruction of local environment to build factories, processing plants, infrastructure etc.

Employment Issues:

  • lower wages than workers in developed countries where a minimum wage operates
  • promotion restrictions as managerial roles occupied by employees from developed countries
  • no unions for equal rights including unfair dissmisal/ hire and fire
  • lower safety standards when using 'sweat shops'
  • devaluating of traditional craft skills, replacement by repetetive 'machine minding' tasks
  • local community can become dependant on multinations, leaving communities devestated if the multinational pulls production.
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