Government support of computer integrated manufacturing in Germany - first results of an impact analysis
Making use of the possibilities of advanced manufacturing technolgies is increasingly regarded as a prerequisite for enterprises to gain competitive advantage in today's changing markets. Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) is one of the most important advanced manufacturing technology elements. The complexity of planning and realizing CIM, however, may exceed the competence of small and medium-sized firms in particular. For this reason, government subsidies have been available in Germany since 1988 to help and stimulate the efforts of enterprises in coping with the CIM challenge. This paper analyses how subsidized firms have been planning and implementing their CIM structures, and whether CIM projects in subsidized firms differ from those in non-subsidized firms. The results of this description and comparision are representative of the CIM situation in Germany as a whole. The findings show that CIM projects are primarily intended to reduce lead-times; objectives such as increased flexibility or improved quality are far less important. In realizing their CIM projects, German enterprises are predominantly trying to reach their goals by implementing technology, and the personnel and organizational dimensions of CIM seem to play a minor role.