Original Date: 07/21/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Employee Designed Work Cells
Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility empowered its work teams to collaborate on the design of work cells to improve the efficiency of their areas. This approach led to employees taking ownership for and pride in the work they do and the space in which the work is accomplished.
In 2002, a process improvement team from Electric Boat Corporation, Quonset Point Facility’s (EBQP’s) Machine Shop Small Assembly area was empowered to redesign their work area. The team was relocating from an existing location within the manufacturing facility which presented the perfect opportunity for the team to improve their current situation where the work area was unorganized, cluttered, and lacked the necessary lighting. The layout of the work area made supervision difficult and increased non-value-added time to gather the necessary tooling to complete the required machining and assembly tasks.
The team, comprised of employees from each of the three shifts, was provided the necessary resources (including Computer Aided Design [CAD] services) enabling the task to be successful. After a series of meetings to discuss workflow and support requirements, CAD mockups were created to lay out the new area. Necessary equipment including workbenches, lighting fixtures, lockers, tooling, and fixturing were acquired, and the work area was completed in accordance with the team’s design. The new work area includes special tooling as well as a KANBAN set up for consumable items.
As a result, the new work area provides employees easy access to all the resources required to perform their jobs in a clean, open, and orderly environment. The new area also provides management with visual controls which enable them to easily observe activity within the work cell. The largest factor attributing to the success of the project is the employees’ ownership of the design of the workspace. The success of this project has also led to similar approaches in the design of EBQP’s new plate processing center and the re-design of the electrical assembly area. The innovative electrical assembly area incorporates the concepts of ergonomics and modularity.
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