The following points highlight the three main processes involved in production of goods. The processes are: 1. Mechanisation 2. Automation 3. Specialisation.
Process # 1. Mechanisation:
Dominant technology also includes mechanisation. The production in the industrial system depends upon the machinery. The machines came into being due to so many factors. The machine was a device, which indirectly performed some industrial task without human intervention.
Men ‘tended’, ‘fed’, ‘operated’ or ran the machine, but it was the loom which wove the cloth, the press which embossed the leather, the locomotive which handled the train. Sometimes man supplied the energy to run the machine but more often some other agency was used: animal, wind, water, steam, and later electricity and atomic energy.
All these developments are described in one phase industrial revolution. It was a continuous process which brought about rapid changes in the volume and technique of production. The capitalist system was adopted and goods were produced in anticipation of demand.
The favourable conditions may be grouped into several categories. First, mechanisation was strongly favoured by the same factor which had led to increasing rationalisation of production through division of labour, that is the expansion of domestic and foreign markets. Mechanisation greatly increased the efficiency and effectiveness of industry.
The machine raised output levels, often improving the quality and durability of the process. Further-more, the machine cut costs by displacing labour and increased profitability of the industry as well as improved commercial and larger amounts of capital available for further investment in mechanisations.
Technological and scientific advances supplied the necessary conditions for mechanical development. Techniques for the working of metal had been so refined that construction of complicated machinery became possible. Similarly, tools had been developed to the point where the accurate work necessary for machine production could be made.
The laws of machines had reached a stage of development at which this knowledge could be applied to the solution of technological problems. Another factor favouring the development of mechanisation was the refinement in the division of labour.
The machines have an impact on the roles of the workers in the following ways:
(i) Reduction of Human Energy:
As the machines are capable of producing more within a short duration, human energy has become considerably reduced. The worker has become an observer of the functioning of the machines. His role during the course of production has become very minimum. Thus machines have made the worker more insignificant.
(ii) Division of Labour and Routinisation:
Machines have made the process of production routinised to a great extent. To put it correctly, machines have changed men into machines. Routinisation is found in almost all systems of production. For increased production in factories, routinisation becomes a must.
(iii) Creation of Physical Conditions at Work:
Mechanisation also creates a specialised physical environment. This affects the role of workers in many ways. During the operations of the machines, the workers keep themselves to the constant place. The worker’s spatial mobility is very limited.
Hence the social relationship is affected and it leads to more routinisation. The noise coming from the machines leads to tiredness of workers. In the noisy atmosphere, communication among workers is also affected, so the workers get isolated. The workers have to adjust themselves both physically and psychologically.
Process # 2. Automation:
Automation is a term which has quite frequently been used by the economist and industrialist but so far no clear or precise definition of the term has been given.
According to some, automation is only rationalisation of work, while others feel that it is nothing else but adoption of such methods which reduce the number of persons at present engaged in doing a specific type of work. Still others feel that it is wrong to think that automation is only technology of electronic devices but according to them it is the philosophy of production.
Definitions of Automation:
(i) According to A.B. Fillipo, “In its simplest meaning the term automation is applied to machine work process that are mechanised to the point of automatic self-regulation”.
(ii) According to Encyclopaedia Americana, “Automation is an advanced technique of industrial manufacturing and scientific investigation which has evolved from the basic concepts of the machine and mass production”.
(iii) According to John Debawld, Automation is a new word denoting both automatic operations and process of making things automatic.
(iv) According to Kuchhal, “Automation has often been described as an advanced technology or high level of mechanism characterised by specific desires of communication and control in self-regulation without human intervention”.
Steps in Automation Process:
The automation process involves the following steps:
(i) Selection of Automation Machines:
Firstly, we have to select those machines which are self-regulated and the finished or semi-finished product should be passed out to next machine without the touch of hand.
(ii) Control of Quality:
Secondly, after the selection of machine we have to decide what product is to be manufactured and in what form. If it is determined, the machine is accordingly fitted and the products of uniform quality are produced.
(iii) Use of Computer:
Previously the automatic machines were looked after by men but now even the control and operation of machines is done by the computers.
Process of Automation:
In the process of automation two things are to be remembered. In the first system human actors are not involved. Every activity is done automatically. Secondly, information about what is to be done is fed to some central agency. The central agencies may make adjustments and carry out the activities as expected.
Effects of Automation:
The positive effects of automation are the following:
(i) It is with the help of automation that the society’s needs and necessities can be quickly and effectively met.
(ii) Growing demand is always responsible for bulk production, which in turn results in reduction of price of commodities.
(iii) Process of industrialisation gets accelerated by automation.
(iv) When goods are produced with the help of machine it is possible to maintain uniformity and quality.
The negative effects of automation are the following:
(i) It will lead to unemployment.
(ii) It is always a costly affair.
(iii) When automation is introduced the love for the job is completely lost.
(iv) The growth of expertise receives a serious set-back.
Process # 3. Specialisation:
Specialisation means that a group effort performed by a group is divided into a number of particular operations and that each individual in the group gets and does one operation.
In the process of specialisation, when a function is divided into a number of operations, each operation is set as a specialised job. The individual who gets an operation, specialises in it and improve his skills. Consequent upon the improvement of the skills of the operations, the operations become specialised and the total output increases.
Definition of Specialisation:
(i) According to Jaisolar Tuma, “Specialisation consists of concentration of intellectual attention and physical efforts on specific problems.”
(ii) According to Kimbal, “Specialisation is concentration of attention and effort in a limited field.” Thus in the opinion of Kimbal specialisation has two characteristics: concentration and centralisation of effort and that too in a limited field.
Characteristics of Specialisation:
(i) It is based on modern industrial technology
(ii) It encourages industrial and scientific progress
(iii) It is based on division of labour
(iv) It is based on specialised know-how.
(v) It also takes into account the results of practical experience.
(vi) It encourages interdependence in the place of self-reliance.
(vii) It aims at the maximum use of available resources.
Forms of Specialisation:
Specialisation may be of the following types:
(i) Horizontal Specialisation:
Horizontal specialisation is usually a characteristic of organised activity of a group. A work is divided into a number of parts and each part in assigned to an individual. The work may be divided into specialised jobs in terms of process or tasks. In the case of specialisation by process, each operative gets one function and becomes specialised in the process of that function. In the case of specialisation by tasks, a work is divided into different tasks involved in it. The operatives in that work get a bit of the work.
(ii) Vertical Specialisation:
It is a characteristic of the modern industrial production. The decision for the operations of a mill or a factory are made by one group, i.e. the management. The operations are supervised by supervising personnel. The operations are performed by the operatives.
There is a hierarchy of rank among these industrial personnel. It requires effective cooperation.
(iii) Extra Group Specialisation:
There may be different work teams connected with different operations in an industry. There may be some external groups connected with the industry. When the specialisation in an industry is supplemented by specialisation by extra groups it is known as extra group specialisation.
(iv) Labour Specialisation:
It aims at training the workers for specific jobs.
(v) Specialisation of Occupations:
These days there is specialisation of jobs every-where. In olden days medical practitioners used to treat all kinds of diseases. But now a days we have specialists to deal with the different parts of the body.
(vi) Industrial Specialisation:
Modern industrial units instead of making the whole machines make some parts only it is known as industrial specialisation.
(vii) Geographical Specialisation:
Various industries are established in different regions depending upon the availability of natural resources. Dispersement of industry according to regional availability of resources is called geographical specialisation.
(viii) Technical Specialisation:
There are 200 technical processes in a shoe industry. The particular industry requires technical specialisation.
Merits of Specialisation:
Specialisation has the following advantages:
(i) The foremost advantage of specialisation is standardisation.
(ii) It leads to increase in production.
(iii) It reduces the cost of production.
(iv) It improves the quality of product.
(v) It leads to mechanisation and thereby the benefits of mechanisation can be reaped.
(vi) It increases the efficiency.
(vii) It facilitates training.
(viii) It develops interdependence.
(ix) As a worker operates in a very limited sphere, he gets new ideas and devotes his energy to research.
(x) It leads to large scale production and widens the market structure.
(xi) It has led to increase in trade and has created goodwill for the industrial products.
(xii) It makes men more responsible.
Demerits of Specialisation:
However, specialisation has certain disadvantages:
(i) In the specialisation process the operatives have to repeatedly perform the same operations. It produces serious personal disturbances.
(ii) The society where specialisation is in full swing is non-integrated and lacks in solidarity.
(iii) Under specialisation one operative has to perform only a part of work. As he has no chance of doing other sequence, he becomes ignorant of them.
(iv) The greatest drawback of specialisation is psychological. As a result of specialisation, the self-confidence and self-reliance of man is rudely shaken.
(v) It has led to social disintegration. It has led to an exodus of population from the villages to the cities. The industrial strife has increased and slums have appeared.
(vi) It has led to exploitation of workers especially women and children.
(vii) Due to specialisation new highly sophisticated machines have been invented. There is need to train men in operating these machines. This involves investment of lump sum.
(viii) As a result of specialisation, the cottage and village industries have suffered. They cannot withstand the competition.
Change of Structure of Relationship:
Long back the workers in factories were regarded as objects, no better than the machines and tools used in it. Behaviour towards them did not qualify as human. In many cases the workers were no better than slaves. Exploitation was the rule of the day. In industry, human relations are in evidence in two spheres, that of administration and welfare.
In the field of administration, it is the relations between the authority and the worker which are important. A labour is not a machine, nor a cog in a wheel. He is replete with such human elements as motives, emotions, feelings, hopes, desires and needs. Administration involves proper and systematic organisation of the factory, besides human treatment of the workers.
Atmosphere at home and in the office or factory should be congenial. Workers should get adequate opportunities of intellectual, material, moral and economic progress. It is now conceded that besides paying wages to the worker, it is essential to attend to his welfare also.