The rapid pace of technological innovation and the effects of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) revolution have resulted in dramatic changes on a global scale, from the empowerment of the individual to the spawning of global markets. From the business perspective, the widespread deployment of Information Technology (IT) has resulted in many organisational changes and the development and use of new management and business processes. An important challenge for today's manufacturing organisations is to be able to anticipate the impact of investments in new (frequently IT-based) manufacturing technologies and programmes. Ideally, management needs to be able to identify and articulate the many ways in which investment decisions influence their organisation - in terms of performance across a range of measures. Furthermore, in today's manufacturing environment, it is increasingly necessary that a close relationship exists between manufacturing decision making and corporate business strategy, so that manufacturing decisions complement and are fully aligned with the organisation's strategic objectives.
Strategic Decision Making in Modern Manufacturing introduces and explains the AMBIT (Advanced Manufacturing Business ImplemenTation) approach, which has been developed to bridge the gap between strategic management considerations and the operational effects of technology investment decisions on the manufacturing organisation, so that the likely impact of new manufacturing technology and/or programme implementations can be evaluated, anticipated and accurately predicted. The AMBIT approach focuses specifically on the non-financial aspects of such investment decisions and offers an approach that allows a manager, or more frequently a management team, to understand the impacts of a new technology or a new programme on the manufacturing organisation in terms of manufacturing performance. The prediction of future trends and patterns is a very imprecise and ambiguous activity at the best of times. Yet despite such ambiguity, managers need to be forward looking. They need appropriate tools and approaches to help them anticipate the future.
Thus, whilst the pages of organisational history may be filled with anecdotes about organisations that failed to "predict" the future, it is the challenge of today's organisations to evade such a fate. The AMBIT approach delineated in this book has been specifically developed to anticipate the future by analysing the impact of managerial decisions.