Theories of scientific management

The common problems of having to queue for long at the immigration office, and baggage issues had started to surface in the 1980's, in order to remedy this the idea for Terminal 5 (T5) was born. T5 was developed so that Heathrow Airport could accommodate the increased level of congestion in the airport by means of mass Automation. It cost £4.3 million to build and it occupies a space of 260 hectares. T5 was used as a means to enhance the UK aviation industry, and set a precedent on the structures involved in air travel globally.

On the first day that T5 was opened, there were 34 flight cancellations, by the end of the first weekend, 243 of the flights would have been axed out of a total 1320 since the launch. British Airways was the only airline with flights into and out of T5, they made an estimated £16M loss in the first 5 days of T5 being open. The reason for their losses was because they had to pay large amounts of money to lodge their passengers whose flights had been cancelled, in any form of residence that was affiliated with the airline. The main reason for this disastrous start to T5 can be linked to their Baggage handling system which didn't seem able to cope with the large amount of luggage, hence leading to delays and flight cancellations.

Scientific management can be defined as the administration of a business or industry based on experimental studies of efficiency; the application of the principles of the scientific method to managing a business or industry. The use of the scientific management method could potentially have avoided the baggage handling problems encountered in T5 for the following reasons. Scientific management involves the labour force becoming more accountable for their work as each task is separated into different groups and analysed by their respective governing bodies i.e. the managers for that job, in this case. Because of this, it is likely to lead to increased efficiency, because workers would be aware that they are being scrutinized. Scientific management would also involve a hierarchy being established, which would organize the labour force, as everyone would be aware of who exactly would be accountable to who. Because a scientific method is being used it means that most decisions and outcomes will be recorded to improve on the current way in which things work. Scientific Management also shows that management within the organisation is different from ownership. For this reason the Managers would make decisions for the organisation for the better of the business and without sentiments for the business itself. This proves to be an efficient means of running the business, as decisions are made on the basis of increased profits. In order to achieve these profits, the managers would have to cut costs; the labour force would hence have to strive for perfection in their various fields in order to maintain their job, thus improving efficiency. As regards T5, the labour force may have been more cautious with their work if the scientific management method was being applied. If scientific management had been used in T5 it may have avoided the problems with baggage handling because the checking-in process would have been broken down into many smaller steps. Although this may have increased the waiting time for the customers, it may have avoided the whole fiasco with the machinery that led to very many flight cancellations. Also, because of the hierarchical composition associated with scientific management it may have meant that the labour force would have taken the initiative to check all equipment accurately, because they would have individually been answerable to someone of greater authority. Most decisions and their outcomes are recorded with the scientific method and hence this would provide a platform for the business to make decisions on whether to try and improve some parts of the business, or whether to leave them be. It also means that there would be a direct record of the work being carried out, therefore urging workers to perform at their level best. All in all the scientific method is a dynamic and evolving form of management because the managers would continually try to correct and optimize different aspects of the business such that the level of efficiency would improve with time. Had they used scientific management in T5 the baggage handling problems may have been avoided all together, as the new automated process would have been implemented phase by phase after due testing and scientific analysis.

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