Case The activity system at Goronwy Numerous organisational actors undertaking coordinated…


The activity system at Goronwy

Numerous organisational actors undertaking coordinated activity transform value in various ways. We use the term ‘actor’ to refer to anything that can act (both people and machines) – that can transform something. Each system of coordinated action performed by actors we refer to as an activity system. An activity system is a social system, sometimes referred to as a ‘soft’ system. It consists of a collection of activities, processes or tasks performed by a group of people in pursuit of a goal. The precedence or order of activities is normally critical, as this determines the flow necessary for the coordination of work.
To achieve the goal of creating value, people and machines must continually perform a series of activities at certain times and in certain places, as illustrated in Figure 1.5. Various visualisations such as this are used throughout the book to unpack the key systems of interest to us. Each box or cell is used to represent one or more actions enacted by one or more actors. The dotted arrows indicate the sequence of action within the pattern or system under consideration. In Figure 1.5 the dotted arrows indicate the coordination (the workflow), which activities take place before certain other activities, and which take place after certain activities. The open circles with dotted arrows emerging from them indicate the start of some pattern of action while the open circles with arrows ending on them indicate the end of some pattern of action.
The ‘black’ material – steel fabricated products of various forms – is delivered to Goronwy on large trailers in bundles referred to as batches. It is unpacked by an inbound logistics operative and checked for discrepancies or problems that would make it unsuitable for galvanising. Such unsuitable material is referred to within the company as non-conforming black material and this is returned to the customer. If satisfactory, the products are referred to as conforming black material and this material is transported to the galvanising plant where it is hung on racks and then dipped into large baths of zinc. The racks are removed from the baths after a few minutes of treatment and then left to dry. An hour or so later the white material is checked and unsatisfactory (non-conforming) white material is sent to be regalvanised. Satisfactory (conforming) white material is then bundled back into batches, loaded onto trailers and eventually dispatched back to the customer.

Case The activity system at Goronwy Numerous organisational actors undertaking coordinated activity...

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