Industrial Metrology: Getting In-Line?

Posted: 30 Jan 2012

Date Written: September 7, 2011


Metrology plays a key role in the manufacture of mechanical components. Traditionally it is used extensively in a pre-process stage where a manufacturer does process planning, design, and ramp-up, and in post-process off-line inspection to establish proof of quality. The area that is seeing a lot of growth is the in-process stage of volume manufacturing, where feedback control can help ensure that parts are made to specification. The Industrial Metrology Group at Carl Zeiss AG had its traditional strength in high precision coordinate measuring machines, a universal measuring tool that had been widely used since its introduction in the mid-1970s. The market faced a complex diversification of competition as metrology manufacturers introduced new sensor and measurement technologies, and as some of their customers moved towards a different style of measurement mandating speed and integration with production systems. The case discusses the threat of new in-line metrology systems to the core business as well as the arising new opportunities.

Learning Objective: Apply modularity theory and jobs-based segmentation to the evolution of an industry, and try to foresee important changes that are coming.

Suggested Citation

Shih, Willy, Industrial Metrology: Getting In-Line? (September 7, 2011). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Case No. 612-004, Available at SSRN:

Willy Shih (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States


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