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EA Manufacturing versus Engineering

Written by John A. Zachman on Monday, 18 May 2015. Posted in Zachman International

Manufacturing descriptive representations are holistic descriptions of individual parts such that the part (system) can be manufactured quite independently of the entirety of the Enterprise. The description of the part must be complete, “holistic,” because any characteristic that is requisite to the existence of the part, if not made explicit, is potentially defective. That is, any characteristic not made explicit is implicit and therefore, assumptions are being made which may be right ... or may be wrong. Erroneous assumptions are the sources of defects.

Manufacturing descriptive representations can conveniently be classified in ONE dimension; a taxonomy, a hierarchy, a decomposition, which is, reductionism, (“analysis”). It is convenient for manufacturing to reduce the size of the parts through decomposition because the smaller the part, the less costly and more quickly each part can be manufactured. However, the smaller the implemented parts (systems) the more potential disintegration of the Enterprise as a whole.

Engineering descriptions are the converse of manufacturing descriptions. They are descriptive of the whole object, partitioned not by reduction but by intrinsic characteristic. The engineering descriptions are classified in a TWO dimensional structure, a schema, an ontology, such that the whole object is depicted in the context of each single, intrinsic characteristic. The descriptive classifications for engineering employment are “normalized” ... “one fact in one place.” This is important for engineering so that redundancies, potential discontinuities, inconsistencies, incompatibilities, erroneous assumptions are identified and eliminated and therefore, every relevant characteristic is “integrated” in the context of the whole Enterprise (“synthesis”). In this fashion, if the implemented parts reuse components having characteristics that are integrated in the context of the whole Enterprise, the parts (systems), when implemented, will fit together, that is, the Enterprise will be "architected."

See figure above for a comparison of Manufacturing Work and Engineering Work.

engineering v manufacturing

This engineering : manufacturing dichotomy can be seen the older disciplines. In Chemistry, the Chemical Engineering work is scientific, theoretical, focused on the single-variable theoretical elements as defined in the ontological structure of the Periodic Table. Chemical Manufacturing work is pragmatic, focused on assembling chemical products from multi-variable, holistic (in their own right) compounds (parts) that exist in nature or that can be created experientially. If no Chemical Engineering is done, alchemists can manufacture chemical products from compounds (parts) only if, by chance, the compounds (parts) “fit together,” that is, if they will “integrate.” Since the alchemists’ work is pragmatic, experiential, not theoretical, all progress is made by time-consuming, trial and error, (“best practices”) which severely limits the complexity and alacrity of the end results.

This can be seen in engineering and manufacturing of electrical and mechanical products as well. The engineering artifacts are descriptive of the whole object in the context of each single, intrinsic characteristic of the object. The manufacturing artifacts are descriptive of the total set of characteristics required for the implementation of a single “part” of the object.

I happened to discover the ontological classification of the Engineering Design Artifacts of an Enterprise, the “Zachman Framework,” by observing this pattern of descriptive representations in Architecture and Construction (buildings), and in Engineering and Manufacturing (airplanes, computers, ships, automobiles, etc.). I have written numerous articles and made a myriad of presentations about this experience and about the logic of the Framework for Enterprise Architecture, the Enterprise Ontology, the “Zachman Framework”.

About the Author

John A. Zachman

John A. Zachman

John A. Zachman is the originator of the “Framework for Enterprise Architecture” (The Zachman Framework™) which has received broad acceptance around the world as an integrative framework, an ontology for descriptive representations for Enterprises. Mr. Zachman is not only known for this work on Enterprise Architecture, but is also known for his early contributions to IBM’s Information Strategy methodology (Business Systems Planning) as well as to their Executive team planning techniques (Intensive Planning).

Mr. Zachman retired from IBM in 1990, having served them for 26 years. He is Founder and Chairman of his own education and consulting business, Zachman International®. He is also the Executive Director of the Federated Enterprise Architecture Certification Institute (The FEAC® Institute) in Washington, D.C., as well as the Chairman of the Zachman Institute™, a non-profit organization devoted to leveraging Zachman International's vast network of professionals and resources to offer services to small businesses and non-profit organizations as they prepare for and experience growth.

Mr. Zachman serves on the Executive Council for Information Management and Technology (ECIMT) of the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) and on the Advisory Board of the Data Administration Management Association International (DAMA-I) from whom he was awarded the 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award. In August 2015, Mr. Zachman was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for “recognition of his long term impact and contribution to how people think and practice Enterprise Architecture today, leaving his mark on generations to come” by the Global University Alliance and LEADing Practice. He was awarded the 2009 Enterprise Architecture Professional Lifetime Achievement Award from the Center for Advancement of the Enterprise Architecture Profession as well as the 2004 Oakland University, Applied Technology in Business (ATIB), Award for IS Excellence and Innovation. In August 2011, he was awarded the Gen. Colin Powell Public Sector Image Award by the Armed Services Alliance Program. In November 2013 he was acknowledged for Achievement and Excellence for Distinguished Innovative Academic Contribution by the IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society Technical Committees on Enterprise Information Systems and on Enterprise Architecture and Engineering.

Mr. Zachman has been focusing on Enterprise Architecture since 1970 and has written extensively on the subject. He has facilitated innumerable executive team planning sessions. He travels nationally and internationally, teaching and consulting, and is a popular conference speaker, known for his motivating messages on Enterprise Architecture issues. He has spoken to many thousands of enterprise managers and information professionals on every continent.

In addition to his professional activities, Mr. Zachman serves on the Elder Council of the Church on the Way (First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, California), the Board of Directors of Living Way Ministries, a radio and television ministry of the Church on the Way, the President’s Cabinet of the King’s University, the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Citywide Children’s Christian Choir, the Board of Directors of Heavenworks, an international ministry to the French-speaking world and on the Board of Directors of Native Hope International, a Los Angeles-based ministry to the Native American people.

Prior to joining IBM, Mr. Zachman served as a line officer in the United States Navy and is a retired Commander in the U. S. Naval Reserve. He chaired a panel on "Planning, Development and Maintenance Tools and Methods Integration" for the U. S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. He holds a degree in Chemistry from Northwestern University, has taught at Tufts University, has served on the Board of Councilors for the School of Library and Information Management at the University of Southern California, as a Special Advisor to the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University, on the Advisory Council to the School of Library and Information Management at Dominican University and on the Advisory Board for the Data Resource Management Program at the University of Washington. He has been a Fellow for the College of Business Administration of the University of North Texas and currently is listed in Cambridge Who’s Who.

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