Olivetti has been one of the most remarkable turnaround stories of the last few years. It has been recognised by Datamation as the second largest European manufacturer of data processing equipment and the 12th largest in the world. It made the first assembly robot in 1974, the first European numerically controlled machining centre, and is a major supplier of Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) and of factory automation hardware. It is at the same time a large user and important supplier of advanced manufacturing technology (AMT). It is in a favourable position to know, from both points of view, the opinions and the beliefs, the hopes and fears, the cultural biases, the economic constraints and all the factors which underlie the process of taking decisions about introducing AMT. This paper is based upon the address given by Mr Debenedetti to the Economist Conference on Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Geneva, October 1986.