Original Date: 04/20/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Technology Roadmap
Prior to 1992, ITT Aerospace/Communications Division’s (A/CD’s) Operations Engineering department had no formal method to track its needs for programs relative to the Manufacturing for Design (MFD) initiative. Instead, the department relied on reactive practices to handle opportunities and preparations (e.g., capital budgets, independent research and development [IR&D] budgets) of the new programs being released for manufacture. Strategic planning was limited to a one-year period, and had minimal interaction with the design, systems, and business development aspects of programs and the overall company. ITT A/CD lost many opportunities for long- term advantages, and often failed to meet its customers’ needs. Decisions were based on feelings and personalities rather than business requirements. As a result, short-term solutions could not satisfy long-term requirements or accelerated product development cycle times. In 1992, Operations Engineering introduced the Technology Roadmap as a vehicle for tracking technology trends, requirements, and execution.
The Technology Roadmap is an integrated master plan to track the critical manufacturing and test technology needs for current and future programs relative to the MFD initiative. Updated and maintained in real time, the roadmap documents where technology is going relative to business requirements for a three- to five-year period. This data- driven tool captures and charts internal and external technology trends through numerous sources such as surveys, literature searches, benchmarking, conferences, and the Internet. The Technology Roadmap also tracks requirements by customer, business development, strategic planning, program management, and engineering needs as well as addresses technology execution and implementation; next-generation products and processes; and feedback. As a living document, the roadmap easily communicates technology trends, needs, and progresses of ITT A/CD’s programs, and serves as a vehicle to share technologies among the company’s avionics, aerospace, and communications divisions. This approach helps avoid duplication of capabilities and typically provides solutions for hard-to-solve manufacturing problems.
Operations Engineering’s Technology Roadmap is an essential tool for planning, budgeting, and implementing the company’s next generation processes at the right time and at the best value. Since implementing this tool, Operations Engineering makes better decisions on which technologies to pursue and stronger justifications for budgeting capital improvements and IR&D projects. The Technology Roadmap also provides the basis for improved coordination between ITT Avionics (New Jersey) and ITT A/CD, resulting in the exchange of surplus capital equipment and the coordination of long term capital procurement.
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