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Computer‐integrated Manufacturing (CIM): Redefining the Manufacturing Firm into a Global Service Business

David Lei (Southern Methodist University, Dallas)
Joel D. Goldhar (Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, USA)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 1 October 1991



The transformation of US manufacturing, led by computer‐integrated manufacturing (CIM) systems, has already begun to take root. This article examines the potential benefits to firms which understand and can exploit CIM technology to its fullest extent. Because CIM simultaneously provides high product variety with low costs, conventional assumptions about competitive strategy and organisation design need reevaluation. As companies must work with increasingly scarce capital, human resources and time, CIM becomes an attractive option not only for highly capital‐intensive industries such as automobiles, but also for fast‐changing areas such as textiles, fashion design, and consumer appliances. CIM combines the benefits of economies of scope with the scale economies traditionally garnered only with large, rigid and dedicated factories. Success with CIM and other new manufacturing technologies depends on new organisational designs and incentives that foster fast innovation and cross‐functional integration. CIM′s promising role in transforming the manufacturing firm into a service business across many different industries will spur many US firms′ efforts to enter a global marketplace.



Lei, D. and Goldhar, J.D. (1991), "Computer‐integrated Manufacturing (CIM): Redefining the Manufacturing Firm into a Global Service Business", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 11 No. 10, pp. 5-18.




Copyright © 1991, MCB UP Limited

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