Development of an Analysis Methodology
for Functional Communication at INSTRON
The packing Department and its environment
With reference to INSTRON Ltd.,
High Wycombe, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
Dissertation submitted as part of the Master of Science in
Advanced Manufacturing Systems under the
supervision of Mr. Jean-Noel Ezingeard
Department of manufacturing and Engineering Systems
Over the last century, Manufacturing and Office functions have been organised as a series of specialised departments. As products and activities have become more complex, the need has been felt to add an increasing number of communication links to coordinate the activity of these centres.
Nowadays, it is increasingly recognised that the effectiveness of the coordination function is the main limiting factor in the growth of productivity.
The aim of this dissertation is to contribute to the analysis and design of the coordination function by developing an Analysis Methodology for Functional Communication. We define Communication as "The process of organising", and the term "Functional Communication" pertains to the processing of work-related information by organisational networks within the company.
As no specific literature exists on Functional Communication, the dissertation advocates a multidisciplinary approach to the problem; Elements from Manufacturing Systems Design, as well as from Industrial Organisations and Management Sciences are exploited.
After a presentation of the sponsoring company and a description of the project definition phase, an Industrial Product Design method, Value Analysis, is adapted to characterise the Functional Information needs of the main functions of the Packing department., which has been used as a case study.
Systems analysis provides the framework for this approach.
In the next chapter, some basic elements of Communication Networks Theory are featured and the Mintzberg theory of coordination is portrayed in order to characterize the mechanisms for coordination in the organisational network.
A detailed study is also undertaken of the appropriateness of the communication links (the media) vis-à-vis the nature of the information conveyed. Information requirements are depicted in terms of uncertainty and equivocality reduction. Additional data collection is undertaken through a questionnaire, which design is also detailed.
While the first steps of the study feature a "static approach", centred on the information needs of the Packing function, the following chapter emphasize a dynamic approach focused on the study of a Circuit (Spares Orders Processing) of which Packing is but one element. The adoption of this perspective, inspired by Shigeo Shingo Non-Stock Production thinking brings forth major developments in the study. Data Flow analysis and Paper Flow charting are the main tools used in this last chapter, along with a dynamic approach to the communication network.
Finally, the whole Analysis Methodology for Functional Communication is reviewed and conclusions are drawn on the strong points and weaknesses of the proposed approach.
CLAMPITT, PG. (91)
Communicating for managerial effectiveness
FARACE, RV. ; MONGE, PR. ; HAMISH, HM. ('77)
Communicating and organising
Addison-weysley p 178
GORE, M. ; STUBBE, J (1983)
Elements of systems Analysis
C. Brown Co, Third edition
KATZ, D. and KAHN, RL. (1966)
The sociology of organisations
Wiley and son
as quoted in WOFFORD, JC. Organizational communication (Mc Graw-Hill 77) p347
KREPS, GL. ('90)
Longman, second edition
LEAVITT, HJ ('73)
Organization in the future: interaction with the external environment, with others
LITTERER, JA. ('73)
The analysis of organisations
(John Wiley & son, 2d edition)
as quoted in WOFFORD, CW. Organizational communication (Mc Graw-Hill, 77) p344.
MCCLURE, CR. ('78)
The information rich employee and information for decision making: review and comments
Information processing and management (78) vol 14 pp.381-394
as quoted in GROSSER, K. Human networks and information processing Annual review of information science and technology (91) vol 26 pp 349-402
Structures in Five
A framework for comparative analysis of organisations
American Sociological Review
vol 32, pp. 194-208
RACE, P. ; SLACK, N.
Part 1, module 1, Advanced Manufacturing System M. Sc. (Brunel University, 90).
Figure 2 and 3 as in REASON, PJ. Forecasting at Instron using quotation-based information, BME4, (Brunel University, 92)
SHINGO, S. (88)
Non-stock Production, the Shingo System for continuous improvement
SMITH, A. 1776
Wealth of Nations
WILD, R. (1989)
Production and Operations Management
Chapter 1, Cassel, fourth edition.
WOFFORD, JC. ; GERLOFF, EA. ; CUMMINS RC. (1977)
WOFFORD, JC. ; GERLOFF, EA. ; CUMMINS, RC. (78)
- Chapter 19: "Formal Organisation and Communication"
FARACE, RV ; MONGE, PR ; HAMISH, MR (77)
Communicating and organizing
A very comprehensive book on the topic of organisational communication oriented toward diagnosing and solving practical problems; chapters 8 (Macro networks in organisation) and 9 (Tools for diagnosing communication problems) have been especially useful.
KREPS, GL (90)
Longman, second edition
Chapter 10: "Internal communication system" pp. 201-224
AUVINET, JM. (91)
Organiser la communication en milieu industriel
Les éditions d'organisation
Based on internal communications at Renault, the french car maker. Chapter 4 (L'audit de communication) deals with network analysis and questionnaire design.
CLAMPITT, PG (91)
Communicating for managerial effectiveness
- Chapter 4: "Information" pp. 103-110
- Chapter 5: "Communication channels" pp. 111-121 & pp.135-145
- Chapter 8: "Interdepartmental communication"
SCHNEIDER, AE ; DONAGHY, WC ; NEWMAN, PJ (75)
Mc Graw Hill
- Preface pp. 9-13
- "Oral communications" pp. 50-54 & pp. 60-63
Organisational Information Processing
This line of research was started when Galbraith suggested that specific organisational characteristics and behaviours could be associated with information requirements. Later studies demonstrated that there is a relationship between task variety and the amount of information processed within work units.
GROSSER, K (91)
Human networks and information processing
Annual review of information science and technology vol 26 pp 349-402
Comprehensive study of the role and structure of informal networks in organisational information processing
DAFT, RL ; LENGEL, RH (86)
Organizational information requirements, media richness and structural design
Management Science Vol. 32 No 5, May 1986 pp.554 571
This paper tries to answer the question "Why do organisations process information ? ". Models are proposed to show how communicational media can be designed to meet the information needs of technology and interdepartmental relations.
OGILVIE, JR ; POHLEM, MF ; JONES, LH (88)
Organizational information processing and productivity improvement
National Productivity Review Vol. 7 Iss:3 pp. 229-237
Three information processors are characterized: Organisational structure, Organisational culture, which is defined as "The interrelated set of beliefs, shared by most people, about how people should behave at work", and Computer Information Systems. The authors claims that a successful coordination arise from the congruence of these three major factors.
STOLOWY, H. (90)
Audit et management
Cahiers francais n 248 (oct-dec 90) pp. 66-67
In this issue, Les Cahiers Francais provides an overall framework for the application of Flow Charting to the description and control of administrative procedures; examples are given of the administrative handling of orders and purchases.
Information systems design
DUPUY, Y. (87)
A quoi sert l'approche système ?
Les Cahiers Francais n 223 (oct-dec 87)
A very good introduction on the application of the systems approach to the business.
GORE, M. ; STUBBE, J (83)
Elements of system analysis
Brown Company publishers, 3rd edition
- Flowcharting pp. 129-154
This book describes the methods used when designing Computer-Based Information systems. Clearly demonstrates the importance of the systems approach in Information Systems design.
WU, B. (91)
Brunel M.Sc. AMS Lecture book
Block 4 investigates the conception of Data Flow diagrams and other representation methods for modelisation. Block 1 gives an extensive review of systems concepts.
DEBRAY, J (91)
Initiation à l'analyse de la valeur
Cours de deuxième année IDN
An introduction to Value Analysis: its origins, objectives and main methods.
LE BRUN, JP (89)
Analyse de la valeur
Séminaire groupe d'animation de la promotion G1
Progressive definition of the concepts used in Value Analysis. Oriented toward design and formulation of the functions expected from a manufactured item.