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The New EA Paradigm
(3) The Provide-from-Stock Pattern

by John A.  Zachman

Last time I developed the Strategy Pattern "Make-to-Order" for you.  This month I will continue this series with the "Provide-from-Stock" Pattern. 

Initially, the customer is willing to accept the limitations we've been exploring … they don't know any better.  But, over long periods of time (50 or a hundred years), they get frustrated and they drive the manufacturer out of a Job Shop into a Standard Production Environment (mass production) in order to solve the problems.  Actually, the problem is the strategy.  As long as the strategy is Make-to-Order … those are the problems.  If you want to solve those problems, you have to change the strategy.  Provide-from-Stock:  manufacture standard products to inventory before you ever get an order and then, when you get an order, deliver the standard product off the shelf.  That will fix some of, but not all of, the problems.

Lead Time — goes to zero.  You deliver the product off the shelf.

Per-unit Product Cost — way down.  You spread the engineering (manufacturing engineering) production costs over many products.

Reliability/Availability — way up.  You reuse the same parts on all the standard products.

Maintenance Costs — way down.  You can make a profit on the spare parts.  In fact, spare parts can be manufactured by Other Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).  Generic spare parts — low maintenance costs.

You know the one I left out? … Product Flexibility"You can have any color you want as long as it's black."  (Henry Ford)  The customer takes the standard product.  They change the use of the product to fit the product.  You buy a Buick off the shelf … and you want to haul chickens in it.  Well … you haul them in the trunk.  What you don't do is, you don't reverse engineer the Buick into parts and then re-engineer it into a Toyota pick-up truck!  That will take longer and cost more.  You would be better off going to a job shop and getting them to custom build a pick-up truck for you than to reverse engineer a standard product into parts and re-engineer them into a different product!

Changing the strategy from Make-to-Order to Provide-from-Stock fixes a lot of the problems … not all, but a lot — BUT it is a different kind of business.  Now you have to have a capital investment in plant, raw material, machine tools, people, operating money … you have to have product forecasting because you don't want to manufacture finished goods that the market won't buy.  You have to have material management because you have a large investment in in-process inventory and finished goods inventory.  You have to have production scheduling, quality management, marketing, distribution, product support, and a bunch of other things … BUT you stay in business.

You have probably already figured out the Data Processing parallel to Provide-from-Stock … Commercial Off the Shelf Software (COTS).  Management says, "Why are we building these applications??  Buy them!  We get immediate delivery, low per unit product cost, high reliability, low maintenance cost.  Buy them … don't build them!

But remember … you take the standard product off the shelf.  "You can have any color you want as long as it's black."  You change the use of the product to fit the product … that is, you change the Enterprise to fit the package … don't start changing the package to fit the Enterprise … if you start changing the package to fit the Enterprise, all the reasons you bought the package will evaporate in about 13 milliseconds!  To reverse engineer the package into data elements and instructions and re-engineer it into a different package … it would take longer and cost more.  You would be better off to go to your old Data Processing shop and get them to build you a custom application than to take a standard (COTS) application off the shelf and change it into a different application.  And, by the way, the moment you touch that COTS application, you own it!  The warranty no longer applies.  If the original manufacturer ever changes the application (which they will about every three months) YOU are now responsible for all changes.

So, don't buy the package unless you have an architectural 'fit' … but that presumes that the package has an Architecture … and that you have an Enterprise Architecture to which to compare the package.  Otherwise, just do yourself a favor and change the Enterprise to fit the package.

So, you can see the strategy pattern:

"Make-to-Order" ===> "Provide-from Stock"

But … what happens to the supplier when the customer doesn't know or can't define the characteristics of the product they want to take delivery on until the moment they want to take delivery?  Now what?

... You can't wait until you get the order to engineer and manufacture the product.

... You can't anticipate every product that any customer will ever want to take delivery on — the "killer" product — and already have it in stock.

Next time I will develop a final pattern, the Strategy Pattern Assemble-to-Order, for you.

This article can also be viewed on John's blog — presented here, with permission.

standard citation for this article:
John A.  Zachman, "The New EA Paradigm:  (3) The Provide-from-Stock Pattern," Business Rules Journal, Vol. 17, No. 6 (June 2016), URL:  

January 2017
By John A. Zachman

October 2016
Strategy Spectrum for Enterprise Engineering and Manufacturing
By John A. Zachman

July 2016
The New EA Paradigm
(4) The Assemble-to-Order Pattern

By John A. Zachman

June 2016
The New EA Paradigm
(3) The Provide-from-Stock Pattern

By John A. Zachman

May 2016
The New EA Paradigm
(2) The Make-to-Order Pattern

By John A. Zachman

April 2016
The New EA Paradigm
(1) Expenses and Assets

By John A. Zachman

March 2016
The Information Age: (3) Powershift
By John A. Zachman

February 2016
The Information Age: (2) The Third Wave
By John A. Zachman

January 2016
The Information Age: (1) Future Shock
By John A. Zachman

December 2015
Defining Enterprise Architecture: Economics and the Role of I.T.
By John A. Zachman

November 2015
Enterprise Physics 101
By John A. Zachman

September 2015
A Historical Look at Enterprise Architecture with John Zachman
By John A. Zachman

August 2015
Cloud Computing and Enterprise Architecture
By John A. Zachman

June 2015
The Zachman Framework Evolution (Part 2)
Special Guest: John P. Zachman

May 2015
The Zachman Framework Evolution (Part 1)
Special Guest: John P. Zachman

April 2015
Architecture is Architecture is Architecture
By John A. Zachman

April 2013
John Zachman's Concise Definition of The Zachman Framework
By John A. Zachman

November 2004
The Zachman Framework and Observations on Methodologies


November 2003

Framework Fundamentals: Frameworks, Reference Models, and Matrices


August 2003

Framework Fundamentals: A Dialog With John Zachman


June 2003

Framework Fundamentals: Miscellaneous Enterprise Engineering Concepts


April 2003

Framework Fundamentals: Framework Fundamentals: Level of Detail is a Function of a CELL


February 2003

Framework Fundamentals: Responding to Questions from the OMG


May 2002

Enterprise Quantum Mechanics (Part 2)


March 2002

Enterprise Quantum Mechanics (Part 1)


January 2002

"What" Versus "What"


November 2001

Security And The "Zachman Framework"


September 2001

Fatal Distractions (Part 2)


July 2001

Fatal Distractions (Part 1)


May 2001

You Can't "Cost-Justify" Architecture


March 2001

Conceptual, Logical, Physical: It Is Simple (Part 2 of 2)


January 2001

Conceptual, Logical, Physical: It Is Simple (Part 1 of 2)


September 2000

Building The Enterprise - An Infusion Of Honesty


July 2000

All the Reasons Why You Can't Do Architecture or ("We Has Met the Enemy and He Is Us")


May 2000

Enterprise Architecture Artifacts vs Application Development Artifacts (Part 2)


March 2000

Enterprise Architecture Artifacts vs Application Development Artifacts (Part 1)


November/December 1999 & January/February 2000

Enterprise Architecture: Issues, Ingibitors, and Incentives

July/August & September/October 1999

Packages Don't Let You Off The Hook

By John A. Zachman

January/February & March/April 1999

Life Is a Series of Trade-Offs and Change Is Accelerating!

November/December 1998

"Yes Virginia, There IS an Enterprise Architecture"

July/August 1998

Enterprise Architecture: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

January/February 1998

The Framework for Enterprise Architecture (The 'Zachman Framework') and the Search for the Owner's View of Business Rules



 about . . .



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 Chief Executive Officer of his own education and consulting business, Zachman International®.

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. 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.

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 College 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 Managementat Emporia State University, on the Advisory Council to the School of Library and Information Managementat Dominican University and on the Advisory Board for the Data Resource Management Programat 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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