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Why It's Good To Be in OR in 2003!
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Why It's Good To Be in OR in 2003!


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  • 1. Why It’s Good To Be in OR in 2003! Mark L. Spearman Factory Physics, Inc. Texas A&M University
  • 2. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, It was the epic of belief, it was the epic of incredulity, It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, It was the Spring of hope, it was the Winter of despair. Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities
  • 3. The Age of Wisdom
    • Enterprise Resources Planning—ERP
    • Supply Chain Management—SCM
  • 4. The Age of Foolishness
    • MRP in ERP (and SCM) assumes INFINITE capacity!
    • Many Advanced Planning and Optimization systems have been turned OFF!
    • After ERP, companies are wary of the promises of “Supply Chain Management”
  • 5. The Epic of Belief
    • Since 1970, a Blizzard of Manufacturing Buzzwords
      • MRP, MRP II, BRP, ERP, SCM
      • JIT, CFM, ZI, Lean
      • CIM, FMS
      • TQM, TPM, 6 
      • BPR, Balanced Scorecard
      • Factory Physics
    • Which is the right “silver bullet?”
  • 6. The Epic of Incredulity
    • While management holds firm in its faith that the next magic pill, ...
    • Those in the trenches know, “this too shall pass.”
  • 7. It was the Season of Light
    • Lean Manufacturing
      • Eliminates waste
      • Reduces inventory
      • Reduces cycle times
      • Focus is on customer
  • 8. It was the Season of Darkness
    • Lean Cannot Handle Complex Environments
      • Reduce inventory at expense of excess capacity
      • Rudimentary implementation strategy
      • Cannot handle tradeoffs
    • Lean consultants can only believe because they do not understand .
  • 9. It was the Spring of Hope
    • TQM
      • “ No one has ever hurt profits by improving quality.” --Galvin
      • “ Quality is free.” –Crosby
    • 6  :
      • Well defined implementation strategy
      • Well defined training (e.g., Blackbelt)
      • Support from top management
  • 10. It was the Winter of Despair
    • No direct linkage of Quality to bottom line.
    • Cannot have good quality without good logistics (e.g., short cycle times).
    • “ Reducing cycle times with 6  is like using a diamond saw to drive in a nail!”
  • 11. It is the Worst of Times
    • Each Buzzword wants to:
      • KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid
    • Problem:
      • It’s Not Simple, Stupid!
      • People need to understand!
  • 12. It is the Best of Times
    • Each buzzword
      • Has a kernel of truth
      • Works very well in some situations
    • Learn ...
    • What works
    • When it works
    • and why it works
    • Apply to your particular environment
  • 13. It is the Very Best of Times!
    • Lean provides the correct incentives
    • Six Sigma provides the analysis and implementation strategy
    • ERP/SCM provide the data
    • IE/OR provide the methodology and knowledge base
  • 14. Great Opportunities
    • Information Technology is EASY now
    • Data is available
    • Algorithms are available
    • Computers are powerful
    • The understanding is there
    • All that is missing is the integrating element—YOU!
  • 15. Four Steps for Success
    • Understand the problem domain
    • Use the right data
    • Use robust (but not necessarily optimal) methods