Oniqua Intelligent MRO Blog

DevOps = less waste, happier customers, better products

Posted by Carlos Fairgray

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11/24/15 2:08 PM

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Introduction

Muda is a Japanese word meaning "futility; uselessness; idleness; superfluity; waste; wastage; wastefulness" [1]. Lean manufacturing (or simply "lean"), is a systematic method for the elimination of waste ("Muda") within a manufacturing system [2].

Waste can be defined as anything that does not deliver value to a customer who consumes your product or service. In asset-intensive companies, waste often manifests itself as surplus inventory or unnecessary maintenance. In developing software, it could include developing features nobody uses or reworking software due to product defects. At home, for me it’s all that stuff I have in the garage I bought for that project that I have not yet gotten around to, despite my wife’s protest.

Regardless of industry, we are probably all well aware that waste reduction is a great way to increase business performance. When Toyota implemented lean principles in the 1980s, they focused on reduced batch sizes, reduced work in progress and shortened and amplified feedback loops. This achieved dramatic increases in plant productivity, product quality and customer satisfaction — and ultimately made Toyota the world’s second largest automobile manufacturer by revenue [6] and largest by number of units sold worldwide [5].

DevOps

DevOps

In my current role at Oniqua Intelligent MRO, I have a big focus on waste reduction - both for our customers and within our development processes. DevOps is a business practice for software companies that has emerged, relating to the way software is built, delivered and operated. When you combine lean software development with automated and high-frequency release of software (known as “continuous delivery”), you get higher quality, shorter cycle times with quicker feedback loops and lower costs. These practices also contribute to cultivating a culture of innovation, by enabling quick customer feedback, and ultimately delivering a more valuable product to customers. Today in software development, it is the use of DevOps practices that sets the top performing companies apart from the pack. [3]

Benefits of DevOps

Let’s have a look at why DevOps is so great, and why software companies are moving away from the traditional approach of releasing large accumulative version releases.

  • Less disruption to customers - With traditional methods of software development, deployments are often infrequent, painful, and disruptive events. In organizations practicing DevOps, deployments are regular, small, pain-free and dependable [3].
  • Higher quality – Continuous delivery uses automation to construct a new product release, test it, and deploy it to customers. Automation guarantees changes pass all quality control tests, and that processes are followed without variation. Continuous delivery tests repeatedly before deployment to production. High-performing organizations implementing DevOps experience 60 times fewer failures, and recover from failure 168 times faster than their lower-performing peers [3]. This results in greater consistency for customers and greater stability of the product.
  • Better product - Frequent releases let software development teams obtain user feedback more quickly. This allows them to learn from what has been delivered, and make important decisions as to how new features should be further improved or, if not useful, removed. This helps them build a great product for the customer.
  • Faster responsiveness - Failures are unavoidable, but how quickly software companies detect and recover from failure greatly impacts the customer. Companies who implement DevOps can deploy new software 30 times more frequently with 200 times shorter lead times to problem resolution. [3]
  • Greater product innovation – DevOps provides a great platform for software companies and their customers to collaborate on product ideas. Whether they are big or small, having the ability to take what has been learned from customers and rapidly convert it into working product elevates the level of product innovation. If customers can see visible progress, they will stay engaged, they will feel their input is valued, and it is likely they will continue to contribute to making products better.

DevOps is a journey

If you are a start-up, it is generally recommended you put DevOps platform in place and build your product upon it to allow for rapid iteration and innovation. If you have an established product in the market, adopting DevOps will be a more complex journey. It will be challenging, there will be culture barriers and mindsets to change, and your product may have to change to meet operational requirements.

At Oniqua, we decided to implement DevOps over a year ago and already we are starting to see great leaps forward in our quality and ability to respond to customer. With DevOps in place, we have started collaborating deeply with our customers on new product design.

I am personally finding this an extremely rewarding process; being able to work alongside our customers, and help bring to life changes that will help them eradicate waste, and find new efficiencies.

Oniqua Intelligent MRO provides Intelligent MRO materials management technology that removes the complexity, cost and difficulty of sophisticated data analysis.

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References

  • [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muda_(Japanese_term)
  • [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_manufacturing
  • [3] https://puppetlabs.com/2015-devops-report
  • [4] http://www.toyota-global.com/company/profile/figures/vehicle_production_sales_and_exports_by_region.html
  • [5] http://www.forbes.com/sites/andreamurphy/2015/05/06/2015-global-2000-the-worlds-biggest-auto-companies/
  • [6] Bloomberg Business (3/29/2015).

Topics: DevOps

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