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Reference SA/TIH/B/2/4
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Level SubSection
Extent 5 boxes
Title Textile industry cotton mill studies: Ahmedabad Manufacturing and Calico Printing Co. Ltd / Ludlow Mills
Date 1947-1970
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Description The textile industry studies adopted socio-technical methods developed during the National Coal Board studies, and applied these to cotton mills. Working at Ahmedabad Manufacturing and Calico Printing Company (also known as the Calico Mills, a subsidiary of Sarabhai Industries), an examination of the socio-technical system of an experimental automatic loom shed, was carried out. A K Rice introduced experimental changes in work organisation to automatic and non-automatic loom sheds of an Indian Textile Mill, initially introducing experimental changes in the automatic loom shed at Jubilee Mill (1953-1954) and then in the non-automatic loom shed in Calico Mill. The experiments across both automatic and non-automatic looms, involved the establishment of semi-autonomous work groups, with responsibility for production and routine maintenance of a group of looms. Working in the capacity of professional consultants, the Tavistock Institute worked with the Calico Mills in a Development Group (consisting of the Tavistock consultants, the Chairman, Mill Manager, and Works Manager of the Company) to address the general social and production problems of the mills. In each case, semi-autonomous work groups were established with responsibility for production and routine maintenance on a group of looms.

Automatic looms were introduced in one of the mills in 1952, with an experimental shed containing 224 looms established the following year. The weaving process was broken down into component tasks, with workers allocated to different tasks according to work-studies of the separate components. The experiment resulted in the creation of internally-structured and led small work groups, and a reduction in the number of those reporting directly to the supervisors and the withdrawal of higher management from the governing system of the shed. Subsequently, these experimental methods of group working and organisation were extended to other loom sheds in the company's mills.

In 1970, a follow up study of the group system was carried out over four locations, including the two original sites.

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System No. 6dacbff7-551d-425b-be2a-d69955062415

Associated person entries (click number link for details):


Rice; Albert Kenneth (1908-1969)


Trist; Eric Lansdown (1909-1993)