Lean is a prevalent concept in today’s
manufacturing and sustainment industries; and
it is often used within the context of Just In
Time production and World Class Manufacturing.
These underlying concepts are not new and derive
from Toyota’s methodology on production.
The lineage can be traced back to Henry Ford and
even to Eli Whitney’s concept of interchangeable
parts. Today, conventional definitions of Lean
classify it as "manufacturing without waste.“
Waste can take the form of material, time, underutilized
machine capacity, and excess inventory.
Limitations of Conventional
Lean Techniques – “Leaning”
the organization to eliminate waste is certainly
an important focus for any manufacturing or sustainment
enterprise, but it has its limitations. Conventional
Lean techniques are focused on “problem
correction,” and aimed at continuous improvement;
a worthwhile pursuit when attempting to satisfy
existing customers within existing products and
within existing market parameters. But, what happens
when some combination of those variables change?
ERA™ was designed with inevitable and continuous
change in mind. It is a customer requirements-driven
approach that is designed to keep customers satisfied
in their continuously changing environment. As
a result, we can say that, rather than focusing
on simply correcting problems, ERA™ is focused
on preventing future problems through the proactive
assessment of threats and opportunities.
A Holistic Versus Cellular
Perspective – Conventional Lean techniques
inevitably focus on individual cells and systems
within the enterprise (e.g. IT, manufacturing,
Inventory, distribution …) Unfortunately,
the best case scenario will be that cells and
systems are made lean while the overall enterprise
remains sub-optimized. ERA™ is an approach
to apply holistic thinking and analysis to the
enterprise in such a way that it can be optimized,
rendering it both Lean and Agile. This presents
significant potential for the enterprise to thrive
in its continuously changing environment.