Three kinds of control systems are used by Modern organisations, namely (i) Historical (or) Feedback control (ii) Concurrent control and (iii) Predictive of feed forward control.
(i) Feedback control: In all physical and biological systems, some message is transmitted in the form of mechanical transfer of energy, a chemical reaction, or any other means which is known as ‘cybernetics’. In social systems also, some information is sent back to exercise control. Any good managerial system controls itself by information feedback which discloses errors in accomplishing goals and initiates corrective action. Feed back is the process of adjusting future action based upon information about past performance. Though feedback is ‘after the fact’ it is vital to the control process. Sometimes, input variables are immeasurable (e.g., the values an employee brings to the job) or are not detected at the feed forward control point. Feed back is necessary in any continuous activity as it enables to take corrective action which is essential for the accomplishment of goals of the system.
The concept of feedback is important to the development of an effective control in any organisation. This is also known as ‘post control’ which refers to gather information about completed activity, to evaluate information and to take corrective actions to improve similar activity in future. In other words, it permits the manager to use information on past performance to bring future performance in line with planned objectives and standards. Post control helps in testing validity and appropriateness of standards. To make post-control more meaningful and effective, analysis of post-performance is required to be made as quickly as possible and control reports should have been submitted to the manager without loss of time.
(ii) Concurrent Control: It is known as ‘real time’ or ‘steering’ control. It is concerned with the adjustment of performance before any major damage is done. For instance, the navigator of a ship adjusts its movements continuously or the driver of a car adjusts its steering continuously depending upon the direction of destination, obstacles and other factors. In a factory, control chart is an example of concurrent control. Concurrent control occurs while an activity is still taking place.
(iii) Feed forward control: Feed forward control involves evaluation of inputs. Feed forward follows the simple principle that an organisation is not stronger than its weakest link. For instance, if a machine is not functioning properly, the operator will look for certain critical components to see whether they are working well or not. The same logic applies to feed forward control, it is essential to determine and monitor the critical inputs into any operating system. Preventive maintenance programme is an important example of feed forward control. It is employed to prevent a breakdown in machinery. Another example of feed forward control is formulation of policies to prevent critical problem from occurring. For instance, a policy on absenteeism may be communicated to new employees to help and prevent potential problems created by absenteeism.