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Recently, the increased severity of the business environment has resulted in demands for reform and speed. In addition, the market and production places have both expanded beyond national borders, making involvement in global competition a necessity. At the same time, information technology has progressed greatly over the years, and the environment required to realize a highly information-oriented society continues to fall into place. This environment includes the spread of information machines on the personal level, the expansion of multimedia, and the spread of the Internet and intranet.
CALS (Commerce At Light Speed/Continuous Acquisition and Life-Cycle Support) is now in the spotlight as a means to realize speed and attain certain business goals, such as cost reductions, lead time reductions, and quality improvements. CALS is expected to be an important business structure of the 21st century. Hitachi, Ltd. is currently involved in several CALS-related activities, including the planning of practical tests outside the company and in the industry, as well as the promoting of standardization. Hitachi is also promoting extensive product and technology development aimed at making it easy for users to enter the system and sharing with them the results and know-how from its development experience.