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Lean Transformation

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.


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