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Computers and Industrial Organization: Early Sources of 'dust Time' Production in the Dutch Steel Industry

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129878D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 17 page(s) / 68K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

JAN VAN DEN ENDE: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

This article focuses on the growth of production planning in the Dutch Hoogovens Steel Company. In response to market changes in the 1950s, production facilities and capacity were enormously expanded, and a decentralized just-in-time system of production planning was developed. Punched-card machines were introduced to process the necessary data. In spite of these efforts a control crisis emerged in the company resulting in large order backlogs and long delivery times. In response, production planning was centralized and digital computers introduced. This article will demonstrate that me choice of computing technologies was intimately related to the organization of production planning. Although the introduction of just-in-time systems is normally considered a consequence of the evolution of computing technology, in this case such a system appears to have contributed to the demand for digital computers. The question that wig be posed is, to what extent do these views corroborate those expressed in James Beniger's book The Control Revolution ? Computing is generally associated with the ";third"; service sector. For instance, banks and insurance companies are large data processing organizations. Furthermore, in the history of computing, the military and the field of science and technology are traditionally considered important applications of computing equipment. The information processing activities in the second, or industrial, sector have received far less attention. Nevertheless, in the course of this century, information processing activities within this sector have increased very significantly, creating a third sector within the second.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1995 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Computers and Industrial Organization: Early Sources of 'dust Time' Production in the Dutch Steel Industry

JAN VAN DEN ENDE

This article focuses on the growth of production planning in the Dutch Hoogovens Steel Company. In response to market changes in the 1950s, production facilities and capacity were enormously expanded, and a decentralized just-in-time system of production planning was developed. Punched-card machines were introduced to process the necessary data. In spite of these efforts a control crisis emerged in the company resulting in large order backlogs and long delivery times. In response, production planning was centralized and digital computers introduced.

This article will demonstrate that me choice of computing technologies was intimately related to the organization of production planning. Although the introduction of just-in-time systems is normally considered a consequence of the evolution of computing technology, in this case such a system appears to have contributed to the demand for digital computers. The question that wig be posed is, to what extent do these views corroborate those expressed in James Beniger's book The Control Revolution ?

Computing is generally associated with the "third" service sector. For instance, banks and insurance companies are large data processing organizations. Furthermore, in the history of computing, the military and the field of science and technology are traditionally considered important applications of computing equipment. The information processing activities in the second, or industrial, sector have received far less attention. Nevertheless, in the course of this century, information processing activities within this sector have increased very significantly, creating a third sector within the second.

This article looks at these activities. It focuses on computing for production planning purposes at the Dutch Hoogovens Steel Company between 1924 and 1965. Production planning includes the programming and control of company production; it determines what is produced, when, and by which of the company's plants. It includes order entry, scheduling, progress control, and stock control. The aim of production planning is to maximize customer service while optimizing the use of production facilities and minimizing stocks.

Hoogovens was established in 1918, but actual production started in 1924. This article focuses on the period after the Second World War, when Hoogovens enlarged both production facilities and computing activities considerably. Separate production planning departments were established at each plant, which generated a lot of data processing facilities; as a consequence, Hoogovens was also an early and important user of computing equipment for production planning within the Netherl...