Read the following excerpt from Rethink, Chapter 6: Understand What Can (and Can’t) Be Predicted.
In the course of rethinking, you have learned how to identify your “whats,” determine their value and performance level, and figure out their connections to one another. The next step is to train the lens of predictability on your stakeholders--customers, suppliers, and partners--to anticipate their responses to the plug-and-play changes you want to make.
One of the more dramatic--and potentially traumatic--examples of “what” unpredictability occurred some years ago, when Chrysler decided to examine the vendors supplying parts for its Jeep Cherokee. The analysis of the company’s Manufacture-Product “what” started with the V-8 engine assembled by Chrysler, focusing first on the rollerlifter valve. The valve was manufactured by Eaton, which, in turn, contracted with a neighboring factory to provide unfinished metal castings. That factory, it turned out, relied on yet another supplier for the special clay used in making the castings.
When the Chrysler team contacted the owner of the clay company, he dropped a bad-news bombshell. Selling clay to the castings maker was a losing proposition, he told them, so he was switching into a new business--kitty litter. Had he mentioned his plans to Chrysler’s castings supplier? Uh, no. Suppose Chrysler had never surveyed its Jeep Cherokee Manufacture-Product “what.” A for-want-of-a- nail scenario could have played out: no clay, no castings, no roller-lifter valve, no V-8 engine, no Jeep Cherokee.
Predicting how a “what” will behave under a new set of circumstances can be as difficult as it is essential. A case in point: the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
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