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Applications of Scientific Management

Scientific management involves an ideal system because it ensures the


fulfilment of objectives of the company while at the same time advocating for the
wage interests of workers by considering competitive wage as the primary
incentive for the cooperation and enhanced performance of workers. The
scientific approach also enables business firms to gain control over the
production and fulfilment of orders through clearly communicated guidelines and
standards. However, in practice, application is varied largely because of the
differences in the contexts of different business firms, even companies belonging
to the same industry such as the production industries. As such, scientific
management has no single application or results when applied by actual
business firms in the US or in other regions. There are business firms that
adopted only aspects of scientific management while others merged scientific
management with other strategies. Regardless of the means of utilising scientific
management, the important thing is for business firms to determine the effective
ways of applying this strategy to meet their needs and objectives and achieve the
desired results. Moreover, companies implementing scientific management
experienced successes and problems alike. The cases discussed below express
the application of scientific management in actual business settings.

In many ways McDonalds is the archetypical example of an organization


employing Scientific Management in production. Within this restaurant chain,
uniformity is complete; no matter what country you are in every branch of
McDonalds is the same, as are the methods used to prepare food, clean floors,
promote staff and lock up on closing. It is this ability to efficiently supply standard
food and service throughout the world that has allowed McDonalds to become
the biggest restaurant chain on the planet .

Scientific management developed as an alternative system for large


manufacturing companies so that best studies on the application of scientific
management include Ford and Toyota, with Ford as the earlier model for the
application of scientific management. Ford applied scientific management in its
mass production plants through division of labour and specialisation of tasks. In
the completion of tasks, Ford applied strong hierarchical control so that workers
performing tasks in the production line were assigned to a single repetitive task.
Scientific management had a number of manifestations in Ford’s employment
policies. First is the mechanisation of its mass production processes so that
management is highly technical and separated from humanistic consideration. In
a way, scientific management propounded the view that workers constitute
instruments or tools of production subject to allocation, control or direction.
Second is the fragmentation of work into clear stages and the assignment of
people to these stages to complete the tasks. Since the assembly line constitutes
a single process divided into phases, there is need to ensure that the people
assigned in each phase are able to complete their work efficiently in order to
prevent delays in the production process. Third is the specialisation of tasks in
order to provide unskilled workers with the experience they need to be able to
accomplish their work efficiently. (2003)

Ford applied scientific management by establishing a strong


management group and providing guidelines and standards for its workers so
that there is a defined authority and task requirements forming part of the
management plan of the company. Moreover, Ford provided basic technical
training to its workers based on their specialisations. However, there are also
deviations in Ford’s application of scientific management including the
dehumanisation of the workforce so that the focus is only on the interests of the
firm. This is different from scientific management because this process provides
that through cooperative employment relations, both the interests of the company
and the workers can be achieved through detailed plans. This means that
workers cannot be treated merely as tools for production. Nevertheless, Ford’s
management strategy applied the general approaches of scientific management
to achieve positive results such as the speeding up of the production process to
allow the company to gain higher revenue.
Another large manufacturing company that patterned its management
strategy from scientific management is Toyota. The company established Toyota
Production System, which finds basis on the idea that plans and organises not
only the manufacturing process but also dual relationships with its suppliers and
end consumers. The purpose of the production system is to address the
overburdening of aspects of production and relationships, the prevention of
inconsistencies in the work or phase alignments, and the elimination of wastes or
delays. As such, the production system was intended to address a number of
objectives including: 1) the continuity of motion of workers and machine; 2)
minimisation of the waiting period of workers and machine; 3) conveyance or
logistics to transport raw materials to the plant and finished products to
distribution channels; 4) processing of orders and keeping schedules; 5)
organising inventory of raw materials to ensure that resources are available to
meet sudden surges in demand without resulting to waste in case of decreases
in demand; and 6) making efficient the correction of errors through the reworking
and scrapping of resources to prevent wastage by recycling parts. (2004)

Toyota applied scientific management with managers taking charge of the


processes and workers through thoroughly applied standards and guidelines in
order to ensure that whenever the products are sold there are always new
products as replacement in order to always have products that meet demand. As
such, through strong leadership and direction, Toyota was able to minimise lead-
time as well as reduce cost while at the same time enhancing product quality.
The scientific aspect of Toyota’s production system involves the correlations
arising between certain events and processes that enable the company to take
charge of present production as well as derive expectations of future levels of
production. As such, other companies have used Toyota’s production system as
a model, although no other company has achieved the greatest results more than
Toyota.

It is the early experiences and successes of Ford and Toyota that urged
Jim Beam to adopt scientific management. Jim Beam is a bourbon whiskey
brand produced in Kentucky established in 1795. The company addresses
international demand so that the bulk of production needed required the
company to consider management strategies that enabled the company to meet
international demand. As such, the firm applied work standards that allowed
workers three bathroom breaks, including one before lunch, one during lunch,
and the last one after lunch. Workers are also given one bathroom break that is
unscheduled. The failure of workers to meet with these limits is subject to
warnings, fines and even dismissal in case of frequent infractions. These
guidelines were implemented as part of the organisation of the production
process intended to meet scheduled demand. As such, scheduled and limited
bathroom breaks was necessary to ensure control of production process and
ensure that workers are able to effectively meet the targeted quota. ( 2002)

Applied scientific management system that adhered to Ford’s application


of scientific management by having a planned production process that includes
the expected actions of workers so that even bathroom breaks are regulated. By
controlling processes, ensured the achievement of its goals. However, similar to
the other companies, Jim Beam applied scientific management without its
humanistic factors.