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Empirically testing the impact of manufacturing system complexity on performance

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As the increase in manufacturing competitiveness forces organizations to use more sophisticated and complex software, system performance depends on clever systems design, efficient planning and scheduling of the related processes. For these advanced manufacturing systems the dependence on human competence is greater. However, previous studies indicate that the human aspects for successfully implementing such systems have been neglected. The objective here is to test the hypotheses that system complexity is inversely related to performance, and that training of system operators, and the quality of the man/machine interface reduces the negative impact of system complexity. A sample of discreet manufacturing systems from 128 organizations was used to test these hypotheses empirically. Moderated multivariate regression indicates that man/machine interfaces are significant contributors to reducing the negative effect of systems complexity. With a lower level of significance, operator training has a similar impact. For complex manufacturing systems software, it behoves managers to insure that the man/machine interface provides the desirable features outlined in this study.
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Keywords: Human-computer interface; Manufacturing systems; Systems analysis; Training

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 1999

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