The New EA Paradigm 1: The Toyota Illustration

Written by John A. Zachman on Monday, 08 February 2016. Posted in Zachman International

I'd like to put some posts together about what I think "The New Paradigm" for Enterprise Architecture is. I will break this up into 5 or 6 blogs that deal with this in terms of Enterprise Architecture expenses vs. assets, cost justification of Enterprise Architecture, providing from stock vs assemble-to-order strategies, mass-customization of EA and some cultural implications of this new paradigm. 

That said, I need to set some context for you. I usually use the Toyota illustration to make the New Paradigm point:

A few years ago, Toyota announced in North America that if you give Toyota the specifications for the automobile you want to take delivery on, they will deliver your automobile, custom to your specifications, in 5 days! Five days is not zero, but it is pretty close to zero as those automobiles these days are pretty complex. When I grew up, I worked on my own car... but when you opened the hood, all that was in there was a four cylinder block and a carburetor. Today, I will buy a car and drive it until either it or I die... and never open the hood! There is so much stuff in there that I can’t even find the dip stick anymore! I can’t even change my own oil!

How do you think Toyota is delivering custom cars in five days?

  • Do you think they wait until they get your order before they start engineering and manufacturing your car?... Impossible.
  • Do you think they have already manufactured every possible car that anyone will ever order and already have them all in inventory and it takes them five days to find the one you want?... Impossible.

They MUST have something in inventory before they get your order... but it is NOT finished goods. It IS parts. But, those parts have to be engineered such that they can be assembled into more than one finished good. How do you engineer parts that can be assembled into more than one finished good? You have to know the total set of finished goods you have to produce at any given point in time. Then, engineer the parts Toyota-wide (Enterprise-wide) so the parts can be assembled into more than one Toyota. Then, they can pre-fabricate the parts and have them in inventory before they get your order. It takes them five days to connect up the parts in your order with the parts in inventory, pick the parts off the shelf and assemble them into your custom automobile.

Toyota changed the Automobile Manufacturing Industry strategy to an “assemble-to- order” strategy. In fact, they changed the Manufacturing Industry strategy in general to an “assemble-to-order” strategy... because in the Information Age, the customer (every customer) wants a “custom product, mass-produced in quantities of one for immediate delivery.Mass-customization is a pre-requisite for staying in business in the Information Age!

I was in Stockholm at Scania. They manufacture big, semi-trailer trucks. They say “oohhhh yeah, we invented all of this stuff!”

I was in Munich at Volkswagen. They also say “oohhhh yeah, we invented all this stuff.”

Actually, I think it was the Japanese that changed the concepts of Manufacturing to an assemble-to-order concept. They decided about 35 or 40 years ago that they wanted to own Manufacturing. It took them 35 or 40 years but they own it! If you want to know how to do it, they will tell you. If you want them to build and run your plant, they will do it. They changed the face of Manufacturing. If you want to get into Manufacturing in the Information Age, you are going to embrace “Mass-Customization” because the customer wants what they want when they want it... that is, custom products, mass- produced in quantities of one for immediate delivery!

There is a lot of room for creativity... and I am sure no one Manufacturer knows everything and therefore I am sure Scania and Volkswagen and every other Manufacturer have invented a lot of stuff... but I think the basic strategy was developed by the Japanese.

About the Author

John A. Zachman

John A. Zachman

John A. Zachman is the originator of the “Framework for Enterprise Architecture” (The Zachman Framework™) which has received broad acceptance around the world as an integrative framework, an ontology for descriptive representations for Enterprises. Mr. Zachman is not only known for this work on Enterprise Architecture, but is also known for his early contributions to IBM’s Information Strategy methodology (Business Systems Planning) as well as to their Executive team planning techniques (Intensive Planning).

Mr. Zachman retired from IBM in 1990, having served them for 26 years. He is Founder and Chairman of his own education and consulting business, Zachman International®. He is also the Executive Director of the Federated Enterprise Architecture Certification Institute (The FEAC® Institute) in Washington, D.C., as well as the Chairman of the Zachman Institute™, a non-profit organization devoted to leveraging Zachman International's vast network of professionals and resources to offer services to small businesses and non-profit organizations as they prepare for and experience growth.

Mr. Zachman serves on the Executive Council for Information Management and Technology (ECIMT) of the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) and on the Advisory Board of the Data Administration Management Association International (DAMA-I) from whom he was awarded the 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award. In August 2015, Mr. Zachman was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for “recognition of his long term impact and contribution to how people think and practice Enterprise Architecture today, leaving his mark on generations to come” by the Global University Alliance and LEADing Practice. He was awarded the 2009 Enterprise Architecture Professional Lifetime Achievement Award from the Center for Advancement of the Enterprise Architecture Profession as well as the 2004 Oakland University, Applied Technology in Business (ATIB), Award for IS Excellence and Innovation. In August 2011, he was awarded the Gen. Colin Powell Public Sector Image Award by the Armed Services Alliance Program. In November 2013 he was acknowledged for Achievement and Excellence for Distinguished Innovative Academic Contribution by the IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society Technical Committees on Enterprise Information Systems and on Enterprise Architecture and Engineering.

Mr. Zachman has been focusing on Enterprise Architecture since 1970 and has written extensively on the subject. He has facilitated innumerable executive team planning sessions. He travels nationally and internationally, teaching and consulting, and is a popular conference speaker, known for his motivating messages on Enterprise Architecture issues. He has spoken to many thousands of enterprise managers and information professionals on every continent.

In addition to his professional activities, Mr. Zachman serves on the Elder Council of the Church on the Way (First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, California), the Board of Directors of Living Way Ministries, a radio and television ministry of the Church on the Way, the President’s Cabinet of the King’s University, the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Citywide Children’s Christian Choir, the Board of Directors of Heavenworks, an international ministry to the French-speaking world and on the Board of Directors of Native Hope International, a Los Angeles-based ministry to the Native American people.

Prior to joining IBM, Mr. Zachman served as a line officer in the United States Navy and is a retired Commander in the U. S. Naval Reserve. He chaired a panel on "Planning, Development and Maintenance Tools and Methods Integration" for the U. S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. He holds a degree in Chemistry from Northwestern University, has taught at Tufts University, has served on the Board of Councilors for the School of Library and Information Management at the University of Southern California, as a Special Advisor to the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University, on the Advisory Council to the School of Library and Information Management at Dominican University and on the Advisory Board for the Data Resource Management Program at the University of Washington. He has been a Fellow for the College of Business Administration of the University of North Texas and currently is listed in Cambridge Who’s Who.

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