Manufacturing and Industrial Revolution
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Welcome to session 2. If you recall, in the previous session we were talking about background of
the future.(Refer Slide Time: 00:24)
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We looked at what is an ideal system of manufacturing and what should be the goals of
manufacturing. We are looking for fast, cheap, better, and diverse. You should have a high speed
you can talk about, it should come instantly. It should be economical, it should be high quality,
and it should be of high variety. These are the 4 goals when we look for manufacturing, and as
we discussed in the previous that these goals may be conflicting.
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Then we talked about different numbers like what is the contribution of manufacturing during
the industrial revolution and how it has actually impacted the global output.
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Then we looked at numbers for India and US compared those numbers and then we also talked
about the importance of manufacturing for employment.
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We stopped in the previous session somewhere here, when we were talking about manufacturing
in pre industrial revolution. I will continue my discussion here because we were talking about the
(Refer Slide Time: 01:57)
One of the things which you might have seen or you might have heard about it is the iron pillar
in Delhi. This exists maybe for more than 2000 years. I think it was located somewhere else and
it now sits somewhere close to Qutub Minar. There are some goodness properties that it has
survived for more than 2000 years in an exposed environment. It is does rust resistance
and infect the metal they use as maybe the wrought iron, where the carbon content is very small.
It is used by using forge welding of pieces of wrought iron. So, a lot of people have worked on
finding what is the metal composition, what kind of technology which allowed it to survive for
so long. I know one of my earlier colleagues at IIT Kanpur was significantly working on mainly
this iron pillar.
If you just look at this particular pillar, it is said standalone pillar. So, you do not see many
replicas of it. You do not see this may be in a mass production kind of setting. You can replicate
them but I do not see it is that easy to replicate and you may not get the replica of it, you may
always get a variant of it. We are talking about this product as a unique product, and this process
through which it is manufactured, we call those processes job shops, so we will discuss those
I am now integrating some bit of manufacturing and some bit of operations management. Now if
I just compared to those 4 classical goals. When we talk about standalone products, they may not
be economical at all. If I just think in terms of the scale part, I have to get all the resources only
for this particular product or for this particular piece and even the speed part may not be there
because this is a unique product. There would be a lot of learning as we start making it.
You rule out the speed part, you rule out the cost part, you can talk about diversity here because
if assume that someone wants a pillar, not just iron maybe something else or maybe a different
height or a different shape. I can always do customization of this. You can talk about maybe
diverse or high variety and maybe high quality because this product in fact has the time is the
proof in this case.
If the objective is to keep it rust-resistant for maybe more than 2000 years, it certainly has served
that purpose. It is not cheap, it is not fast but it is diverse or it may be diverse and it is of high
quality. That is something which we normally associate with job shops but where the question
here is can we improve on these objectives. Is it possible for me to maintain this diversity to
maintain this quality but improve the speed and improve the cost also? You actually can produce
something which is cheap, fast, better and diverse.
(Refer Slide Time: 06:10)
This takes us maybe to about 1500 years later than this iron pillar even more than that. So, I am
coming to medieval times and I am moving from India to the city of Venice. There is an arsenal
in Venice, which is used to build navy ships. The origin of this Arsenal is coming from an Arabic
word which is a dar-as-sina, which means, a workshop.
If you see this, we are talking about another kind of manufacturing process which is nothing but
the assembly line. I can say it is a moving assembly line, you would see a variant of it as we go
into the automotive moving assembly line mainly for companies like Ford. So, you may start
building something here, it keeps on moving, the mass will put weapons, ropes, anchor.
What do you see is that the goods are moving? All the other things remain stationary. That is
why it is called a moving assembly line. The similar thing that you see in the automotive as I
mentioned earlier. Now we are talking about low volume standardization, what it means is that
you are improving the variety. When I say improving it means that when we talk about a as I talk
about earlier about the Ford assembly line when I talked about mass production.
There was no variety at all but in this case, there is some variety and what it is doing is that there
would be interchangeable parts. It means that mass is (08:20) put at one point. This particular
operation will be they are only experts in this. Someone, who is putting the weapons they will be
expert only in this. So, we are actually observing what we may call as a learning curve, we will
talk about that.
There could be some cost savings because of replication. Someone who is doing the things, again
and again, the cost would come down, but this is still a low volume because the volume of the
number of ships was not very high. When I go to an automotive assembly line, I will say that it
becomes a high volume standardization. This is the first documented assembly line and this idea
of learning curve will extend into modern times also.
Now, if I just ask the same question that what is happening in terms of cost, in terms of speed, in
terms of quality, in terms of diversity, suddenly the speed would be higher because people are
now experienced. As I mentioned in the iron pillar example, there would be learning as you start
manufacturing something but in this case that learning has come already. So, the speed would be
higher as the cost will come down because of this learning.
There would be a learning curve effect, so cost may also be lower. Diversity suddenly has come
down because now we are talking about low volume standard products. So, you cannot make all
kinds of products. Quality will be reasonable. They may not be that could be debatable but for
timing let us just believe that this has survived more than 2000 years.
We are not sure whether we can say the same about the quality in this case. Quality may be
reasonable but certainly, the cost and the speed has improved, diversity has come down. You can
start looking at the tradeoffs already. All these 4 things cannot be achieved at the same time. As
of now, we are not saying that these 4 are impossible to achieve together.
I think the flow of the course would go in the direction where it is possible to start thinking that
all these 4 goals can be achieved on the same day. One thing which comes again, here is, so in
the Chinese example when we talk about the blast furnace, we were talking about economies of
scale and now we are talking about the learning curve.
(Refer Slide Time: 11:13)
I will just show you one ship which is coming out of this Arsenal. Interchangeable parts and it
permits variation, so this becomes important. When I talk about low volume standardization I am
talking about interchangeable parts and I think the Americans have expertise complete in this
when they go to the modern assembly line. This is a manufacturing in the pre Industrial
revolution; I will continue with this, we will give you one more example.
(Refer Slide Time: 11:49)
This is from a battle which was fought between the Britishers and the French. This was in 1805
and this canon is called as the 32 pounder canon. In this battle in terms of the numbers, the
Britishers were on the lower side compared to the French but eventually the British won the
battle because of this particular canon. This is an advantage because it is a higher rate of fire.
This concept is crucial because the setup time for the next fire was very small in this particular
case. So, the technology became relevant again that you actually can reduce the setup time for
the next fire. This concept of setup time, we are going to see significantly in this course, that
whether the technology can reduce the setup time substantially.
Then there are some laws of manufacturing which relate the setup thing to how much inventory
would be there. Setup time reduction is important in the context of manufacturing. It will impact
inventory, it will also impact the speed. When it reduces inventory it will improve the cost, when
the setup times goes down, the speed also goes up.
All these, if you just start building the concepts, we have economies of a scale, we have a learning
curve, we have the setup time. All these things keep coming together. So, I am going to combine
all these ideas, all these concepts together and we start looking into how we can improve
manufacturing by using these concepts.
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