Let’s review a project with an Aerospace client. The outcomes of this project have been so successful that the test system enhancements we developed in an initial few test systems is now being pushed out to many test systems at facilities around the world.
This client is a high-mix, low-volume producer of parts for aircraft and space vehicles. As such their test systems are manual or semi-automated with complex assemblies. The enhancements made to their test systems are as described earlier with electronic docs and test data coupled to their MES/ERP business data.
The table below shows the areas of waste reduction and the associated average gains in production capabilities. The charts in the upper right show the Value Stream Map for various products.
|Test executive & data management
|Unified Report Generation
As you can see, the client saw an average of 30% reduction in waste. Plus, the enhanced automation has allowed this client to manage seven times the production volume as 10 years ago without significant increase in production personnel.
Perhaps the biggest improvement in identifying waste has been their ability to understand WIP status and problem areas. In the past, some production problems were never addressed due to the attention required by the immediate “fire fight” of the day. Now, with rapid access to the test and assembly data provided by these automated database transactions, the client has a dashboard which can identify issues in real-time.
Assembly errors have reduced and traceability has been improved to such an extent that they have received accolades from their customers.
The payback for the original enhancement effort has been estimated to be about 1.5 years. After the initial development push off and on over the past several years, enhancing other test systems now takes about between 1 to 4 weeks for each test system, depending on the complexity of the part being tested. So, the payback time is much less than 1.5 years for these incremental enhancements.