Original Date: 11/12/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Electronic Production Work Order
A streamlined process for releasing production work orders to the manufacturing floor has resulted in significant savings in cycle time and rework costs for Frontier Electronic Systems. The in-house developed Electronic Production Work Order release system takes advantage of existing data resident within the company, and enhances production documentation configuration control.
In early 2001, Frontier Electronic Systems (FES) identified the need to streamline its process for releasing work orders to the production floor. Analysis revealed that the release of drawings, procedures, and parts lists to production was a burdensome and inefficient process. It was prone to errors because work orders were prepared manually. Work orders included the entry of drawing numbers, parts list numbers, and test procedure numbers, which in some cases totaled hundreds of numbers. Maintaining configuration control of documentation within the production floor was also difficult as only one controlled copy of a document was allowed on the production floor at any given time. Any changes to a production document, procedure, or process required manual intervention and personnel action. FES streamlined its release process by developing an Electronic Production Work Order (PWO) release system.
The Electronic PWO release system utilizes data already resident in other company database files such as previously entered production work order files or, in the case of product structure and bills of material, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets on the company computer network. By using existing data, the work order originator saves the time of entering data each time a work order is originated and eliminates typical data entry errors that may occur. The Electronic PWO release system is further enhanced through electronic notification and approval features. When the work order originator chooses to submit the PWO for approval, all cognizant personnel are electronically notified that the PWO is ready for their review and approval/disapproval. Once the PWO is approved, key production personnel are electronically notified that work can begin. This electronic message also contains a hyperlink to the PWO spreadsheet stored on the company computer network. Further hyperlinks are provided to the drawing files associated with the part numbers being built and to the test procedure documents listed in the PWO. This approach ensures that the production floor has access only to the correct drawings for the items listed on the work order. Any changes made to a released PWO result in the previous version of the PWO being transferred to an archive folder and only the revised version being available to manufacturing. Flags within the system notify the production personnel that the work order has been modified and what the change was.
Since incorporating the Electronic PWO release system, FES has documented a savings of 58% in reduced cycle time from origination of the work order request until the PWO reaches the production floor. Additional savings in rework costs associated with documentation and drawing control have also been realized.
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