Since Henry Ford first implemented 'mass production' techniques, the layout of large manufacturing plants has remained basically the same. Lines of presses and workers making thousands of parts that finally come together on the production line. But far from being efficient, plants like this suffer from bad quality control, high reject rates and severe industrial relations problems.
In collaboration with CSIRO, GMH's hardware plant at Elizabeth is overcoming these problems by re-arranging the factory into small units called 'work-cells'.
The researchers have devised sophisticated computer programs that make the work-cell approach possible. The same technology may be applied to improve working conditions and efficiency in other industries.
Produced in 1989.