A lean architecture for transforming the aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) enterprise

Dennis F.X. Mathaisel (Babson College, Babson Park, Babson, Massachusetts, USA)

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management

ISSN: 1741-0401

Publication date: 1 December 2005



Increasing global competition, free trade agreements, low cost foreign labor, and customer expectations are causing manufacturing enterprises to implement aggressive transformation plans. Should these transformations be incremental or enterprise‐wide? This paper aims to address the question by developing a Lean Enterprise Architecture (LEA) concept for an enterprise‐wide transformation.


The LEA is an architectural framework for enterprise reengineering in the design, construction, integration, and implementation of a lean enterprise using systems engineering methods. The architecture uses a multiphase approach structured on the transformation life cycle phases.


Viewing lean implementation across the entire enterprise minimizes the possibility of overlooking opportunities for further performance improvement. A silo view of lean implementation may allow gaps in performance to persist, with no one assuming responsibility for the entire enterprise. Employing the principles of the LEA will help improve enterprise‐wide quality, on‐time delivery, and customer satisfaction by eliminating waste in the entire organization and supply chain.

Research limitations/implications

Applications and benefits are cited in the paper, but additional case studies are needed to benchmark the performance of the LEA against incremental lean implementations.

Practical implications

The LEA was created for the US military aerospace industry, but it is now being adopted in other commercial sectors for major transformation designs.


The LEA is the first known integration of lean thinking, enterprise architectures, and systems engineering principles in a design framework for the transformation of an enterprise.



Mathaisel, D. (2005), "A lean architecture for transforming the aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) enterprise", International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, Vol. 54 No. 8, pp. 623-644. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410400510627499

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