In the nineteenth century a number of companies emerged and brought about several industrial developments. Ideas which were becoming ever more practical and refined. This change brought about the need to invest in better organisational methods which were needed to manage these new companies.
A “Scientific Management” movement was set up in the late nineteenth century, which emphasized the right way to approach industrial processes. The mentality to this approach was to keep in mind that every task has to achieve maximum productivity. During these days, Henry Ford reformed production technology, General Motors revolutionised industrial management, whilst honourable universities such as Harvard started to teach these progressive new techniques.
The twentieth century brought about World War II, which eventually led to a technology revolution. Now, the United Stated were dominating the manufacturing industry, whilst Western Europe and countries like Japan had financially failed as a result of the war. Being the best in terms of resources, work force and technology, the US surpassed the rest of the world. One can say that from the 1950s till the late 1970s America was successful in practically every area.
The United States felt superior as companies had a sense of security and in some cases this lead to arrogance. This gave space for European and Japanese companies to be able to compete with US companies. Major industries were seized out of the US corporations by foreign companies which were breaking new grounds. The American automotive industry is a practical example, since the introduction of Japanese products were more in demand as these had better design, were cheaper and more innovative, they were made better and more similar to what the customer wanted, leading to a worldwide dominance in the automobile sector.
“Agile manufacturing” is a heading which takes into account a number of techniques which have to be employed to come up with unpredictable change and improvements which are always more customer-oriented, improving quality, customer care and productivity. Whilst some techniques were available for decades others are gradually developing and will keep on developing by cutting-edge companies such as Toyota, which was a pioneer in agile manufacturing.