Original Date: 09/14/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Integrated Process Architecture
Raytheon Missile Systems Company (RMSC) developed the Integrated Process Architecture (IPA) as a framework for integrating its core business processes. This unique, project management tool improves communications and metrics, and addresses advances from an enterprise perspective by fostering the segment-wide implementation of initiatives (e.g., IPD, six sigma quality, agility).
Prior to incorporating IPA, RMSC lacked a strategic approach for implementing a process-centered organization. Although stovepipe improvements were certainly occurring, they lacked the impact of a cohesive, company-wide effort. In light of the flurry of mergers and acquisitions, RMSC found itself with a diverse set of legacy processes from Hughes Missile Systems, Texas Instruments, and General Dynamics. As RMSC attempted to merge its operations, it became clear that an integrated, strategic approach to business process improvements was not just desirable, but imperative.
The obvious benefits of IPA were the potential to leverage multiple programs via common processes aligned to enterprise level goals; the creation of a structure within which individual process improvements could be implemented; the provision of a structured approach for planning and executing programs; and the communication of overarching goals at every level. IPA increases discipline in the planning cycle at all program phases, and emphasizes metrics as a means of gauging, maturing, and improving processes.
At its core, RMSC’s IPA flows from the company’s Vision 2000 statement as a necessary means to achieve its goals. Given that those goals would require sweeping changes in business practices, a solid architecture was clearly a requisite for addressing the people, equipment, facility, and technology issues as they arose on an enterprise, vis-a- vis, stovepipe level. IPA’s key elements are its relevance to all program life cycle phases; consideration of business gates (e.g., supplier selection or design maturation); core business processes (e.g., new business development, program management, and product development); enabling processes (e.g., human resources, facilities); and enterprise initiatives.
The heart of the IPA is best viewed through decomposition. The architecture is devolved to a series of processes at increasingly lower levels, and finally documented at the unit of operation level by an activity sheet addressing individual process activities. Integrated as they are, the activities must reflect the overarching enterprise goals. Moreover, the employees, customers, and suppliers can clearly understand how their actions contribute to the overall success of the enterprise. To facilitate this communication and improve implementation, RMSC developed an Intranet website, which provides access to IPA at all levels including the activity sheet.
RMSC’s IPA provides a comprehensive approach to process management and continuous improvements in a large, complex enterprise. This approach addresses all enterprise activities across the total lifecycle in a logical and structured methodology, while fostering communication and understanding among relevant entities. With the advent of the Intranet website, the overall IPA is housed, maintained, and configuration-controlled in an interactive database with search capability, thereby providing easy accessibility to all employees.
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