The decision process that organisations utilise when evaluating technology investment opportunities is a complex and even political process; however, the correct decision can provide the organisation with considerable operational and competitive benefits. The research presented in this paper presents the findings of a postal survey of the benefits provided by technology investments to large German manufacturers. It was found that only where middle management generated the idea for the advanced manufacturing technology (AMT) investment was success in that investment significantly more likely. Respondents who established a project team to plan the technology proposal, regardless of the department which generated the ideas for technology investment, were not significantly associated with a greater likelihood for success.
The respondents typically took between 3 and 12 months before making the final decision to invest, irrespective of the department generating the idea for the AMT, and a further 6 months to implement the AMT. Respondents who utilised a discounted cashflow analysis took significantly longer to make the final decision to invest. The greatest number of manufacturing outcomes of significantly higher importance was identified for respondents where Engineering, IT or R&D generated the AMT ideas. It was also determined that the respondents most frequently considered AMT investments in computer hardware or software and technical training for process workers to be necessary at the time of considering the investment. Middle management were found to be significantly more concerned than managers on other levels about opposition of workers to the AMT, while the process workers were significantly more concerned about interruptions to the process during installation.
Available online 28 January 2004.
Field of Research
150307 Innovation and Technology Management
Socio Economic Objective
970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services