Applicability of the capability maturity model for engineer-to-order firms
Most of the well-known management and improvement systems and techniques, such as Lean Production (e.g. Just-In-Time (JIT) pull production, one piece flow) and Six Sigma (reduction in variation) were developed in high volume industries. In order to measure the progress of the implementation of such systems, companies and consultants use reference frameworks, which contain descriptions of best practice processes. The core principles of these systems are applicable in any type of industry or service (e.g. focus on reliability and minimisation of waste). However, the best practice references and other implementation tools are dependent on the context in which the principles are applied. For the Engineer-to-Order (ETO) industry, many of the traditional practices (e.g. JIT logistics or line balancing) are not applicable. In this paper, it is demonstrated that the Capability Maturity Model Integrated CMMI), a best practice reference framework widely used in the software industry, contains practices which are also widely applicable in ETO companies, but that the original model needs to be enhanced. CMMI provides a philosophy, as well as a set of hands-on guidelines and measurable stages for process improvement. CMMI may provide practical techniques to ETO companies which other companies acquire from systems such as Lean Production and Six Sigma.
Keywords: ETO, engineer-to-order, CMMI, capability maturity model integrated, lean production, process management, construction industry, capability maturity models, process improvement, gas production plants, oil and gas production, The Netherlands