The author has been through Terminal 5 at Heathrow three times since it opened. Although in each case the plane was late arriving and leaving, the flow of passengers through the building is impressive. Everything arrived through one access road to the site, with up to 1,000 tightly scheduled deliveries a day and many parts of the building were actually fabricated in two on-site factories, just prior to erection. But one thing that let everyone down at Terminal 5 was the IT driving the baggage system. This signals an unnecessarily complicated and unproven prototype that will not be ready on time and cost twice as much to fix. It seems that the core process in IT that needs to be leaned is the basic business model itself -- how both parties negotiate and manage projects to mutual advantage. Once this is cracked, it opens up all the lean opportunities in planning, developing, installing and maintaining IT systems.
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