ABC and boundary objects –the story of implementing ABC in Alroll

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ABC and boundary objects –the story of implementing ABC in Alroll

Introduction of the topic with outlines objective

The essay emphasizes on how the accounting system of an organization functions can be changed for heterogeneous actor-network and local global actors and actants. In particular, focuses on the role of border were able to stabilize and mediation of the different interests.

• Change in accounting policy was anti-heroic effort of many-as opposed to a less powerful had to be parked.

• The change was cyclical, as new technologies accountancy was adopted in faith, is to "work / success" temporarily then abandoned.

How the accounting change occurs or more specifically, how adopted the change?

• Change in accounting policy suggests particularize and predictable context can be driven, universal imperatives.

• What are the conditions and processes change? Because some companies are taking a

Innovation to leave later than some way, how can we characterize the "success" and accounting change "without success"? They are commonly used loosely structured, and become highly structured local use. They object may be abstract or concrete. They have different meanings in different social worlds but its structure is common to most of a world that is recognizable, a means of translation.


The purpose of this work is to use the network of actors theory to illustrate how networks of heterogeneous machines boundary objects, actors and cosmopolitan locals may change accounting activities and production of the organization. Of particular interest is the way in which the connections between local and global, for example, how the local discourse organization and action by influenced and actions of others invisible claimed. Unfortunately, little is known about the process of change in accounting method. As of now, we have only limited conditions that have the potential for private craft designs represent the understanding of the forces that set in motion the accounting, development of accounting support processes.

The organization Alroll

Alroll, a manufacturer of aluminum rolled products, is an operation Alco downstream of a vertically integrated aluminum company. Alco, in turn, is the majority (67%) owned by a large Australian mining company, Minecorp. Since its inception in 1960, Alco has developed an international network of treatment and time of the study included eight of the nineteen Minecorp operating business units. Its structure reflects the main stages of aluminum production. This is a provider significant bauxite (aluminum ore), alumina, primary aluminum and fabricated aluminum products in the domestic market and is one of the leading exporters of Cheat Tralia.

The results of each step of the production is sold or transferred (at market prices) to other business units within the group Alco for further processing (downstream). The largest proportion of revenues Alco production and sale of aluminum rolled products in Australia and the United States, followed by primary aluminum sold to third parties, and mineral products.

Alroll produces and sells approximately 4000 multiples aluminum rolled products and beverage can recycling (UBC) and `other 'lost internally. The three main categories of products are Canstock, Foil and general sheet and plate (GS & P), which contribute about 65, 10 and 25%, respectively, of total annual sales Alroll approximately 80,000 tons (see for other key features of the product). Scrap metal recycling (including cans) the tributes about 50% of the needs of production business unit with the rest in the form of blocks and rolling ingots obtained (at market prices) Alco foundries.

The ABC model has been developed after the decision of the plate was taken. Finally, has also been replaced by a system of innovation. Ment; According to one of the oldest sponsors and stronger model, he and his accountants had his hands full late `'implementation' a` integrated financial management information "system" that has been linked to '' ABM '. (Active Based Management).

Alroll management sees its business as “metal tap water Minecorp.” The mining core Minecorp and production of semi-finished aluminum, surrounding a support function were considered. The main objective of this strategy is to ensure the existing aluminum products maintained or increased market share and new pipelines have been developed continuously. a continuous increase in sales volume in tons of semi-finished metal products during the period 1960 ± 1986 reflects this strategy, as well as the increasingly wide range of rolled products in 1986 nearly 5,000.


Industrial Engineering (IE) has been institutionalized experience Alroll principles. General plant managers had earlier IE scores and created a centralized unit IE. This group controls a key input device and object-border standard cost system for integrated plant" (PISCs), which began operations in 1966, the heart of PISCs composed of thousands of technical standards representing various elements via the factory, machine performance or human process and consumption of materials and the use of primary metal. These standards were very high limit object for general managers, production managers, sales managers, designers pro ducts accountants, etc to discuss portability or a complex set of products. Engineers computerization and thus stabilization (by reducing the loss of corporate memory, error, etc), these rules have allowed cost Alroll quickly recombine the data to compare the world of new products not yet done with modern rental world. Standards provided were accurate; the elective PISCs accelerate time to market for new products while controlling costs. This meant that the system and its designers have managed to align themselves with the individual concerns of management development to expand the range of products without sacrificing control costs. This alignment gave the authority and legitimacy of the IE within the organization to the extent that, although the PISCs embody both engineering expertise and cost accounting industry, was subordinated to the first. AEs were recognized as owners and cost accounting systems have played a secondary role in providing inputs to the system and aid in the interpretation of cost reports. In addition, changes can not be made without the approval PISCs. EI, the machine was very clear to them. The system, however, was based on the effort many others to keep their "faithful representation". For this to be the cost of products made durable and visible Alroll, computer center must be informed of all prices and changes in the relevant processes.

There were translations of the border of the object. Alco rolling and extrusion operations at the site of Sydney had already been accounted for as cost centers. In 1979, these operations have been designated as a port and center Alroll born in 1985 and blushed as a strategic business unit within the Division of Minecorp Mill Products. A new Executive Director (MD) was appointed in 1986, came from mining operations Minecorp, reported directly to the central office in Minecorp and was responsible for achieving `portability 'satisfactory performance in autonomous funds and the development of the strategy. In addition, in early 1980 Minecorp launched a restructuring of the organization or organizational development (OD), as they came to be known in each of its operations. This initiative was influenced by the work of a cosmopolitan Elliot Jaques (Jaques, 1989) and was an attempt to fully apply his theory of tense systems. The program was to establish a team of DO in each of the reporting units. This team is responsible for a comprehensive program of broad unity interview. The information thus obtained is used to construct the `bottom-up" structure in 'exit' identifying` equipment (Jaques). Executive General Manager of Engineered Products Division has commissioned a study of such DO in late 1984 section of the rolled products division, which eventually became Alroll.

The view of the worth cosmopolitan relationships lead to a plurality of included as separate entities cultures. A true cosmopolitan is primarily an orientation, a willingness to engage with the other. It is an intellectual and aesthetic stance of openness toward divergent cultural experiences, looking for contrasts rather than uniformity (Hannerz, 1990, p. 239). Cosmopolitans are rich in three intangible assets, three C’s that result preeminence and power in the global economy C: concepts of the best and latest knowledge and ideas; competence the ability to operate under the highest standards of any place anywhere and connections the best relationships, which provide access to the resources of other people and organizations worldwide. Cosmopolitans carry with them the three C at all locations in which they operate. As they do, they create and are part of a universal culture that transcends the particularities of place and, to some people, threatens the distinctive identity groups and communities (Kanter, 1995, p. 23).

These two views are clearly deferential to overly mean as they do cultural openness to the expertise and power globally connected. However; both are stronger than cosmopolitan global players in the sense that they are able to penetrate the spatial and cultural boundaries; they possess this skill and particular orientation. We emphasize that the two are global cosmopolitan additional meaning.

The basic principle of the system is in its principle, began a research report on the problems pro with standard costs Alroll system. The report, prepared by the Department of IE in response to concerns of team OD recommends maintaining the system, but the use of accounting not IE, administer PISCs:

System administration expenditure rules should be done by the cost accounting section. Qualified and experienced staff is not required for this function. A basic knowledge and a little training should allow anyone to perform this task. In addition, most of the documents in the system are administered by the accounts. It will be convenient if the administration is also driven by cost accountants.

The cost of the system was formally handed accounting of the following year (1987), however, have not changed most of the other recommendations of IE for new hardware and software, and procedures applied registration. So while, counters allowed administratively a machine that has been increasingly private resources and is considered problematic experience of industrial engineering has been used more effectively elsewhere that Alroll kissed the philosophy of kaizen or continuous improvement (Imai, 1991).

Throughout the 1980s, the innovativeness of Japanese management techniques captured the imagination of the West. Objects boundaries Ideal as Kaizen, JIT and TQM have traveled far and fast, adopted by the media and the electronic and print humans. They reached Alroll while, studying the OD was still ongoing. In late 1985, the new MD arranged for six Canstock operating region (including both industrial engineers) to attend a series of seminars JIT / TQM conducted by the Council of Australian technology transfer (TTC). In the mid 1980s, the TTC has tried to encourage local manufacturers to adopt the new "improved performance" Technical sponsoring a series of Alroll and may, in particular the participation of the actions of this program, according to a mechanical Engineer: planted the seed that makes us think of a management group in inventory reduction and quality improvement. We have made a lot of mistakes, but we learned a lot from this (pilot study) that measures are important process stability is important, (Statistics) -process Control, inventory days are important, but the real driver was the cycle time.

Through this link Alroll-government sponsored institution and exposure to ideas TRAVEL- ling QUID TQM (quality up, inventory down) equipment Alroll formed. EI dispersed played a key advisory role in these teams, especially in the field of process measurement. During the OD survey, the new MD Alroll had apparently questioned the need for the centralized IE group and the OD team finally recommended that the role of decentralized IE. AEs were reassigned to the new organizational structure, focused in class and became accountable to several operations managers.


For over two decades, was PISCs Alroll is durable? It captured the business like no other technology of its time and was a computer center par excellence. What were the strengths pointing? And then, how did it fail?

PISCs was powerful because it summarizes the diverse and complex operating environment of the company as an "integrated.” embolism also died and enhanced cost control and bed management product proliferation concerns. System could be very large range of products in a standardized manner and cost control through detailed reports of cost variation. As the strategic vision of the management has changed, business analysts build an alternative that has been linked to the new strategy products to streamline Alroll industrial engineers have positioned near the emerging strategy of continuous improvement and accountants, who have a detailed understanding of the inner workings of PISCs, tried to disengage from PISCs link their credibility in the construction of an ABC system. Only a few scattered marks and isolated industrial engineers and accountants still believed that the system could be saved by simply improving the team and parts of the software.

PISCs not ultimately failed, both because, It was a poor or bad strategic efficient? But because it is not made to be good efficient? In the context of the evolution of organizational circumstances for a long period of time when the players come and go (some facts making the technology with them) technology has become less known. As mobile immutable, requires mobility and combination, and the stability (reliability). PISCs, however, became increasingly unstable as it could not discipline other important elements of the network. The rules are not updated as often as they should and coding costs have discipline.

Last ABC, why was approved and pro claimed a success? ABC has not been adopted because there was a universal consensus on strategic good or useful. It was not bought because people knew for sure he was going to give the answers they sought. Nor was it to change the outcome of the broader ideas and concepts of discursive regimes that were somehow used in the heads of the local participants. These explanations are both too much and too wise not subjective. However, this study showed that the answer to the question why eccentric scientist, heroic actor is more down to earth. Change was caused by a variety of actors (local and cosmopolitan, human and non-human), each struggle to strengthen their networks of actors association has strengthened their claims / beliefs of the nature of reality. There is a lot more faith than a little knowledge in this fight. At the trial of four, cosmopolitan consultants willing to sell the "value added services", "had faith in the ABC model adapted given to them by their American counterparts.


Briers, M. Chua, Wai Fong. (2001) 'The role of actor-networks and boundary objects in management accounting change: a field study of an implementation of activity-based costing ',pergamon press,(), pp. .

Hannerz, U. (1990). Cosmopolitans and locals in world culture.In M. Featherstone, Global culture: Nationalism, globalization and modernity. Sage Publications. (pp. 237±251).

Kanter, R. M. (1995). World class: Thriving locally in the global economy. Simon & Schuster.

Imai, M. (1991). Kaizen: the key to japan's competitive success. New York: McGraw-Hill.