Lean Implementation: A Three-Pronged Attack
Defense Acquisition University -Midwest Region Kettering United States
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The first lines of A.A. Milnes classic, Winnie the Pooh, read Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows the only way, but sometimes he feels that there is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. That classic line sums up what the DoD acquisition leadership is asking us to do. Our military systems will cost what they historically have unless we take the time to stop bumping for a moment and think of it. Dep. Sec. Ashton Carter, Ph.D., and John Mueller, DAU professor of program management, in their Defense AT and L article, Should Cost Management Why How SeptOct 2011 rightfully state that program managers should call in the assistance of Lean Six Sigma experts to assess your processes and trim the fat. Encourage your contractors to similarly self-evaluate and jointly look at inefficiencies in processes you engage in together. In addition, DAU professors S.L. Dusty Schilling, Gordon Hagewood, Harry Snodgrass, and Peter Czech wrote in their Defense AT and L article, Manufacturing Affordability SeptOct 2011 the most fundamental truth is that early and persistent planning during design is critical to enabling manufacturing affordability during production. That also is absolutely true. Nevertheless, if you are managing a program that is post-CDR, there are still positive steps you can take andor encourage your contractor to take to achieve should cost goals. Employing lean is one of those tools. Inopportunely, most PMs I have talked with think of lean only in a tactical sense value-stream map a process, look for the non-value added, and trim the fat. While this approach may grant some short-term gains, long-term success of lean requires a three-pronged attackadding cultural and strategic to tactical.