Machine operator

Production theory and economics for automation decisions for managers

The purpose of the course is to provide professionals with valuable knowledge considering automation decisions as it provides you with the tools and concepts needed to make informed and profitable decisions in an increasingly automated work environment. It helps you maximize the benefits of automation while minimizing the risks.

Target group

Decision makers, production leaders and operators.


The course includes the following elements:

  • Short-term/long-term/marginal costs in production
  • The production factors labor and capital or combinations of production factors to generate the same amount of output and cost respectively (isocost lines, isoquants)
  • Substitutability between the production factors labor and capital, i.e. given the same output, can we replace one/several operators with one/several machines/tools (technical substitution ratio)?
  • Profit planning and analysis (break-even, contribution margin analysis) with a focus on the impact of production development
  • Investment calculation: capital value, present value, pay-back, internal rate method
  • Optimal production program with one, two or more narrow sections
  • Case study: Production Technology in the Wooden Single-Family House Industry – A Case of Reasoning against Automation
  • Analysis of decision factors before an investment decision


The goal for the course is that you will have the understanding and ability to:

  • see the difference between short-term, long-term and marginal costs in production
  • evaluate the interaction between the production factors labor and capital and the consequence of changes between them
  • have insight into different methods for investment calculation
  • have insight into the consequences of investments and production efficiencies on the associated cost picture and the critical point
  • use knowledge and make judgments about varying numbers of narrow sections in production as a basis for decisions to model an optimal production program
  • have insight into the possibilities and limitations of automation as a basis for decision-making

For more detailed information about the course see:

This course is developed within the project Smart Industry phase 2 and funded by the Swedish Knowledge Foundation (KK-stiftelsen).

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