Industrial management, term applied to highly organized modern methods of carrying on industrial, especially manufacturing, operations. Modern technological devices, particularly in the areas of computers, electronics, thermodynamics, and mechanics, have made automatic and semiautomatic machines a reality. Because of these automation second industrial revolution and is causing vast changes in commerce as well as the way work is organized. Due to this technology the traditional factory systems also changed industrial management practices.
For example, in 1960 the Swedish automobile companies find that they could improve productivity with a system of group assembly. In a contrast to older manufacturing techniques where a worker was responsible for assembling only one part of the car, now the group assembly gave a group of workers the responsibility for assembling an entire car. The same system was applied in many Japan companies. In Japan the managers developed a number of other innovative systems to lower costs and improve the quality of products. One Japanese innovation, known as quality circles, allowed workers to offer management suggestions on how to make production more efficient and to solve problems. In US, the workers were also given the right to stop the assembly line if something went wrong, a sharp departure from U.S. factories.
By the early 1980s, Japanese companies, which had once been criticized for producing for producing low-quality goods, had established a reputation for efficiently producing high-quality, high-tech products. In the 1980s and early 90s many U.S. companies looked to increase their competitiveness by adapting Japanese methods for improving manufacturing quality.