The Machine at Work: Technology, Work and Organization
To thrive in the digital age these businesses have an opportunity to re-think talent strategies and drive transformation at speed and scale in order to unlock new ways for humans and machines to work together. By investing in reskilling strategies that combine a strengthened talent pipeline, intelligent technologies, and an agile culture and leadership, companies can expect:. Transform Future Workforce. Mobilize the workforce with new reskilling strategies to boost productivity and long-term growth.
Reinvent Workforce Experience and HR. Apply human-centered design thinking and digital tools such as blockchain, AI, robotics, cloud and analytics to reinvent HR and create the ideal experience for both the internal and external workforce. Drive Agile Organization. Cultivate innovation, enterprise agility and transformation—at speed and scale—with the right leadership and culture.
Working in tandem, these talent principles spark a model employee experience that integrates the extended workforce and fosters a culture that innovates continuously. In an age of automation, people are more critical to competitiveness and disruptive growth—not less. After all, advanced technologies like AI are creating categories of jobs that place human ingenuity front and center. And future world-changing innovation will spring from this generation of talent. In this journey together, we partner to create a competitive and sustainable advantage for intelligent enterprises.
Machines Assisting Humans
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It began as early as , when the Spanish government granted a license to import some 4, African slaves into the Spanish colonies. The plantation system and the consequent demand for African slaves spread during the next two centuries throughout the sugar-growing areas, including the British West Indies. Indeed, the sugar industries of the British islands of the West Indies were so profitable that it made more economic sense to devote nearly all the land to the cultivation and exporting of sugarcane while importing other foods.
Because of this dependence on imported foods, the islands were not self-sufficient. In the temperate zone, where sugar production was not possible, slaves were little used except in tobacco-growing areas.
The Puritan communities in New England engaged in small family farming, while the Southern colonies employed indentured servants white labourers who agreed to work a number of years for some person who had paid their passage to the New World. As a result, slavery and the plantation system became fixtures in the American South. While slaves were employed chiefly as cotton-field labourers, they also worked as craftsmen, factory hands, and domestic servants, creating, in other words, a division of labour on the plantation.
The regional specialization in production led to sectional economic and political differences and ultimately to the American Civil War and to the freeing of the slaves. Mass production is the name given to the method of producing goods in large quantities at relatively low cost per unit. The mass production process itself is characterized by high volume, a highly organized flow of materials through various stages of manufacturing, careful supervision of quality standards, and precise division of labour. Mass production cannot exist without mass consumption. Before the expansion of retailing , the only large-scale demand for standardized, uniform products came from military organizations.
As a result, the experiments that led to mass production were first performed under the aegis of the military. Advances in mass production could not be made without the development of the machine-tool industry—that is, the fabrication of machinery that could make machines. Though some basic devices such as the woodworking lathe had existed for centuries, their evolution into industrial machine tools capable of cutting and shaping hard metals to precise tolerances was brought about by a series of 19th-century innovators, first in Britain and later in the United States.
Intelligent Machines | Rethinking Talent Strategies | Accenture
With precision equipment, large numbers of identical parts could be produced by a small workforce at low costs. The system of manufacture involving production of many identical parts and their assembly into finished products came to be called the American System , because it achieved its fullest maturity in the United States.
Although Eli Whitney was credited with this development, his ideas had appeared earlier in Sweden, France, and Britain and were being practiced in arms factories in the United States. During the years —08, for example, the French engineer Marc Brunel , while working for the British Admiralty in the Portsmouth Dockyard, devised an efficient process for producing wooden pulley blocks.
Ten men, in place of needed previously, were able to make , pulley blocks per year. By the third quarter of the 19th century, the American System was employed in making small arms, clocks, textile machinery, sewing machines, and a host of other industrial products. Load Previous Page.
Division of labour in the workplace The high cost of machinery could be justified only if a heavy and continuous demand existed for its output. Load Next Page. History of the organization of work. Additional Reading. Article Media. Table Of Contents. Submit Feedback.