Post mass production paradigm
University of Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany
Purpose – The paper intends to contribute to interpretations of present and future developments in
manufacturing and manufacturing research. It designs hypothetical expert consolidated projections
for the future of manufacturing with the focus on social impacts from information and
communications technologies (ICT).
Design/methodology/approach – In order to obtain valid projections, Kuhn’s theory of scientiﬁc
revolutions has been applied to production sciences. Since, the paradigm shift to post mass
production has become evident, it is clear that manufacturing will be of network type. Since, the
point of a “normal science” (Kuhn) is not yet reached, empirical and methodical work is exploited,
especially expert discussion results, technology forecasts and ﬁeld surveys, to draw the baselines
for further developments, focussing on development lines on global, regional as well as company
Findings – The paper sketches organisational set ups and ICT applications for future manufacturing
in order to be able to point out induced effects on other trends and drivers (especially social and
societal). Major changes in role and future behaviour of manufacturing could be veriﬁed.
Research limitations/implications – The paper assumes a speciﬁc driver/impact constellation,
which emphasises socio-technical relations and focuses on organisation and ICT use in manufacturing
environments as decisive and limiting inﬂuences. Other socio/technology interrelations are not
regarded as intensively and could be future research ﬁelds. Implications on the methods and the
instruments to be used for production networks could be sketched.
Practical implications – Some of the methodologies may be downscaled and applied for companies
in order to deﬁne future strategies. On global, on regional as well as on company level, relevant results
may be considered as elements of a future networked manufacturing world.
Originality/value – Trends and drivers for future manufacturing have been newly put into network
interrelations in order to obtain impact priorities and interaction hypotheses. Ongoing developments
are envisioned as embedded in a general paradigm change. The paper draws from extensive research
work on the ﬁeld. It addresses researchers as well as practitioners dealing with manufacturing
companies’ strategy development.
Keywords Strategic manufacturing, Organizational theory
Paper type Conceptual paper
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This work has been partly funded by the European Commission through the IMS Project Gnosis,
the IST Project Adrenalin and the projects of the AMI-Communities as well as the Growth
projects Evolution II and TNEE. The author wishes to acknowledge the Commission for their
support. The author wishes to acknowledge his gratitude and appreciation to all the project
partners for their contribution. BMBF funded the project Stratema – Wachstum durch
higkeit und produktnahe Dienstleistungen, Land Sachsen-Anhalt funded the
project Verteiltes Produzieren. The author wishes to acknowledge the Ministries for the support.
Received December 2006
Revised June 2007
Accepted July 2007
Journal of Manufacturing Technology
Vol. 18 No. 8, 2007
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited