Principles of Control

Certain basic ideas are useful in the development of a control system.

1. Strategic Point Control: Optimum control can be achieved only if critical, key, or limiting points can be identified and close attention directed to adjustments at those points. An attempt to control all points tends to increase unnecessary efforts and to decrease attention to important problems. This principle of control is closely related to the exception principle of organization. Both emphasize the discrimination between important and unimportant factors. Good control does not mean maximum control, for control is expensive. For example, the development of a good fire control program in a forest depends upon the strategic placement of towers on hills. The haphazard addition of a large number of devices and people in the forest cannot yield an equal degree of control.
2. Feedback: The process of adjusting future actions on the basis of information about past performance is known as feedback. Although applications of the idea date back to controls on windmills, the fly-ball governor of Watt’s steam engine, and the steering of steamships, recent developments in electronic hardware of automatic control have reinforced the importance of this principle. The electrical engineer refers to a closed loop system of feedback when the information of actual performance is fed back to the source of energy by electrical or mechanical means in an endless chain. An open-loop system of feedback involves human intervention at some point in the flow. Management has many uses of the feedback principle in areas that, at first, appear to be unrelated.
3. Flexible Control: Any system of control must be responsive to changing conditions. Often, the importance of a control system demands that it be adaptable to new developments, including the failure of the control system itself. Plans may call for an automatic system to be backed up by a human system that would operate in an emergency; likewise, an automatic system may back up a human system.
4. Organizational Suitability: Controls should be tailored to fit the organization. The flow of information concerning current performance should correspond with the organizational structure employed. To be able to control overall operations, a superior must find a pattern that will provide control for individual parts. Budgets, quotas and other techniques may be useful in controlling separate departments.
5. Self control: Units may be planned to control themselves. If a department can have its own goals and control system, any of the detailed controls can be handled within the department. These subsystems of self-control can then be tied together by the overall control system.
6. Direct Control: Any control system should be designed to maintain direct contact between the controller and the controlled. Even when there is a number of control systems provided by staff specialists the supervisor at the first level is still important because of having direct knowledge of performance.
7. Human factor: Any control system involving people is affected by the psychologist’s manner in which human beings view the system. A technically well-designed control system may fail because the human being reacts unfavorably to the system. For example, a dynamic and imaginative leader tends to resist control. Controls for such a person demand special attention to the human factor.

The essentials of any control system and the principles of control provide a sound basis for a manager; planning is a prerequisite for this important managerial function.
In the current context of international business manufacturers implementing controls in various functional areas must evaluate the costs of control through the concerned managers so as to determine the direct financial implications on the entire manufacturing operations of the production set up for a particular control. If the financial implication is cost advantageous then certain controls of this nature must be introduced.