Original Date: 07/21/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Process Reengineering
Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility created a process engineering group to specifically improve performance in manufacturing and modular construction. The group’s scope includes design and engineering, material management, material control, planning, operations, facilities, and quality assurance.
At the outset of the Virginia Class submarine program, Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility (EBQP) relied heavily on experienced personnel skilled in modular construction techniques, to plan detailed manufacturing and assembly operations. Lessons learned during that early phase indicated that further improvements might be achieved by revisiting many accepted practices. In 2002, EBQP created a Process Engineering Group to reengineer current processes with a specific objective of improving performance in manufacturing and modular construction. This group received a broad scope that included design and engineering, material management, material control, planning, operations, facilities, and quality assurance.
The process reengineering effort incorporates lean manufacturing and process modeling techniques. Key to the success is the formation of teams of personnel from directly affected and supporting functions with subject matter experts and facilitators. Prior to any team session, the affected department managers agree on the mission, specific objectives, strategy for proceeding, and metrics to baseline the process and measure success. Process engineers are assigned to help facilitate the process. The team is then selected, trained, and tasked to map and document the “as is” process, identifying any non-value-added elements for elimination. The team then uses brainstorming sessions, problem solving, simulations, engineering analysis, and other techniques to confirm the validity of the retained elements. Alternatives are proposed and their potential benefits assessed. At the conclusion of the study, an implementation plan is developed, evaluated, and approved.
Specific projects were accomplished that addressed fast flow (or relatively quick jobs), and the significantly larger outfitting of the Command and Control System Module (CCSM). Alternatives that included material control, facilities, tools, fixtures, work platforms, office areas, and tool cribs were considered and implemented. Improvements were documented in construction time, labor cost, and efficient modular construction.
The generic process has shown the benefits of a structured problem-solving approach. The team approach has also improved communications and planning efficiency. Team dynamics have demonstrated the propensity to identify follow-on improvement projects that bring previously unrecognized benefits.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.