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Computers and industrial organization: early sources of 'just in time' production in the Dutch steel industry

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1 Author(s)
Van Den Ende, J. ; History of Technol. Unit, Delft Univ. of Technol., Netherlands

The article focuses on the growth of production planning in the Dutch Hoogovens Steel Company. In response to market changes in the 1950s, production facilities and capacity were enormously expanded, and a decentralized just-in-time system of production planning was developed. Punched-card machines were introduced to process the necessary data. In spite of these efforts a control crisis emerged in the company, resulting in large order backlogs and long delivery times. In response, production planning was centralized and digital computers introduced. The article demonstrates that the choice of computing technologies was intimately related to the organization of production planning. Although the introduction of just-in-time systems is normally considered a consequence of the evolution of computing technology, in this case such a system appears to have contributed to the demand for digital computers. The question posed is, to what extent do these views corroborate those expressed in James Beniger's book The Control Revolution?.<>

Published in:

Annals of the History of Computing, IEEE  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 2 )