COMPUTER USE IN INDUSTRIALIZED HOUSING SALES, DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING PROCESSES
Brown, G. Z.
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Brown, G. Z.
This paper summarizes a study on the extent of computer use by industrialized housing producers in the U.S., Japan, Sweden and Norway. The study was directed at understanding industrialized housing production and energy decision making processes used by producers in order to set general criteria for new energy software tools and to make projections for future computer use in the industry. Computers' first penetrations into the U.S. housing industry were in component design and manufacture. U.S. manufacturers continue to computerize an increasing number of discrete tasks such as drafting and material resource planning, aware of the difficulties in sharing data between individually automated tasks. Use ofcomputerized energy tools by U.S. industrialized housing producers is low, though manufacturers recognize the need to automate as a means to increase productivity, improve quality control, and speed up communications between the various phases of production and management. As the number of software tools developed for the industry grows, so Will the industries' willingness to accept computerization. Japanese and Scandinavian companies are more sophisticated in their use of computers than U.S. companies-Sweden in the control ofproduction and links between production and design, and Japan in the computerization of the sales process and its links to design. Our analysis of the activities required to make a house and the nature of energy decisions revealed how critical it .is to identify the correct audience to increase acceptance of computerized tools. This study concluded that energy calculations should be computerized and that the computer tools developed should be integrated with hardware and software systems expected to be used in the future by industrialized housing companies. Energy tools must be an integral part ofany other computerized design and sales aids designed to be used with customers. New computerized energy tools should help link manufacturers of energy efficient products and homeowners. Energy tools should be part of expert systems which assist non-professional personnel in housing design.
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