DYNAMICS OF CONFLICT BETWEEN PRODUCTION AND MANUFACTURING ENGINEERING
Based on a two-year in-depth case study in an electronics plant in Singapore, this paper examines the interaction between Production (P) and Manufacturing Engineering (ME). This interaction is rather hidden because the roles of P and ME are often consigned or executed within the manufacturing operation. P and ME are responsible for process execution and process development respectively, and for process smoothness jointly; their relationship is asymmetrical from various aspects. These factors, together with the complex market demand and associated multi-prong operational requirements, became the potential sources of short-sighted behaviors and resulting conflicts at the P-ME interface which are illustrated via a system dynamics model. Conflict management would be easier if long-term solutions (operational capability-building and technological innovation) were considered along with short-term solutions (management intervention). A key implication for management is that giving ME an equal bargaining voice and investment in process development can encourage ME to develop more advanced process technologies that enhance the performance of both P and ME.
Conflict, manufacturing engineering, production: process development, technological innovation
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