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Competitive Excellence

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Systemic Change Management

Abstract

When you visit any company, formally or informally, whether as an individual or part of a group, or as a customer, supplier, or in some other role, you are bound to discern certain characteristics of the facilities, how employees present themselves, and the way the organization operates. Some people go beyond noticing what’s obvious and recognize a system in place. As seen in the enterprise cases we have described, our set of high performers all did “benchmarking,” or visiting other companies to compare themselves with others, assess their processes, and learn from their improvements, changes, and operations. One of our favorite insights about learning from high performers comes from Steven Spear and Kent Bowen in their article “Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System.” These authors ask, why, with Toyota being “extraordinarily open about its practices,” have manufacturers been unable to replicate its performance? Their answer is that “observers confuse the tools and practices they see on their plant visits with the system itself.”1

The information and descriptions in this chapter are taken from research and case studies supported by the Air Force Research Laboratory (under agreement number FA8650-05-2-5706) and a consortium of other government and aerospace industry members. MIT faculty and students made visits to various UTC companies and facilities. The working papers of the case studies associated with these research activities include G. Roth, “United Technologies Corporation: Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Operating System Case Study,” unpublished working paper, Lean Aerospace Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. November 30, 2010; G. Roth, “United Technologies Corporation: Internal Audit Department (IAD) Case Study,” unpublished working paper, Lean Aerospace Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. August 11, 2008; G. Roth and P. Colatat, “Pratt & Whitney Homogenous Metals, Inc. (HMI) Case Study,” unpublished working paper, Lean Aerospace Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. October 6, 2009; and P. Colatat, “Process Improvements in Pratt & Whitney’s Deficiency Report Investigation Process,” unpublished working paper, Lean Aerospace Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. June 17, 2010. An article based on this research appeared in the 2013 Autumn edition of strategy + business (G. Roth, “A n Uncommonly Cohesive Conglomerate,” strategy + business 72 (2013), 56–67.

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© 2015 George L. Roth and Anthony J. DiBella

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Roth, G.L., DiBella, A.J. (2015). Competitive Excellence. In: Systemic Change Management. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137412027_12

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