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By Cyrus H. Gordon

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Mechanical pacing is retained within sections . Cycle times are only 2-3 minutes . The line is less susceptible to disruption (because of the buffers) and there is reduced final adjustment and repair work (because inspection is carried out in the buffers at the end of each section) . Some job rotation is possible but the new line balancing system means that work intensity increases . Throughout the system central pacing is maintained . Berggren suggests, however, that particularly within the commercial vehicles sector, alternatives to the assembly line are emerging which could be described as new production concepts .

In part this can be related to altered work requirements as a result of technical change : for instance a higher level of automation might mean that job cycles are lengthened to allow multi-machine minding of the kind common in Japanese plants . 88), are widely publicised, there is no evidence that they represent the norm in UK industry . Flexibility in production work can draw on the most basic Japanese methods . This appears to represent the most transferable aspect of Japanese work methods as Wickens account of Nissan in north-east England makes clear .

1989) . In Japan, line foremen and even quality circle members can receive training in method study techniques . The elimination of buffers (described earlier) and the principle of making visible all waste, especially wasteful labour, places extraordinary pressure on workers to comply in the rationalisation production . As Abernathy et al . (1983) put it : The determination to make all problems visible is not an unmixed blessing . It offers the hope of thoroughly efficient operations by substantially raising the social costs and consequences of failure .

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