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Another new basis of competition is time-based compe­tition. The old adage of 'time is money" has proven to be true. From a customer perspective, less time to pro­cure goods and services often means less inventory in­vestment, more money available to invest to increase competitiveness and profits, more time to carefully plan, and the ability to be more opportunistic. Some are pre­dicting that time will soon become the most valuable currency in our business and private lives.




Imagine buying a product that is customized to your personal requirements, delivered as quickly as if it was sitting on the shelf of the warehouse of your supplier, at the price of a mass-produced commodity! Well, real­ity is rapidly catching up with "vision" in many indus­tries. On the "heavy iron" side, the automotive industry is in a race to deliver the seven-day car—seven days from your personal design from a dealer's (or personal com­puter?) showroom until delivery to your driveway. Mass customization has been applied to financial services; customize your loan with "instant" approval. Even the Internet has been influenced by mass customization. The whole My XXX offering typified by the My Yahoo offer­ing demonstrates the power of the mass customization concept. What we've experienced to date is just the tip of the iceberg, with more to come.


Just-in-Time (JIT) was the catalyst for lean factory op­erations. Properly and enthusiastically implemented, JIT resulted in low levels of inventory investment, redesign and simplification of product flow through the factory, trained and empowered workers, and a mindset of con­tinuous improvement.

In addition, the move to the virtual enterprise oper­ating model produced trim, "lean," and focused orga­nizations.

Nevertheless, ever-increasing competition has forced many companies to examine the administrative processes supporting the enterprise. Business process reengineer-ing has been applied to administrative processes.

Workflow has been implemented to automated paper and approval flows on redesigned process flows. For many companies the administrative pro­cesses are now lean, just like factory operations. The result has been lower costs, shorter lead times, and improved velocity through the enterprise.


During the mid-to-late 1990s, a num­ber of advanced computing technolo­gies and innovative uses of technology were applied to managing the enter­prise, such as

1.        Artificial intelligence

2.        Workflow messaging

3.        The Internet

4. Adoption of a simple user inter­face—the browser.

To Be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 13


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