Original Date: 04/20/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Advanced Process Development
ITT Aerospace/Communications Division (A/CD) implemented Advanced Process Development (APD) as a structured approach to process development which addresses critical and complex manufacturing process development tasks. This approach also provides a structured and proven methodology to ensure that processes operate efficiently, effectively, and at the best value. Prior to this system, no formal process existed. Young engineers lacked training in successful methods, and most process development efforts were shortsighted. Solutions neither satisfied long term requirements nor supported accelerated product development cycle times. Revising process planning was common. The process was inefficient and ineffective because tools of quality were not applied, solutions came before understanding, and planners did not capitalize on previous knowledge.
As a well-defined and structured process, APD (Figure 2-3) sets the stage for responsibility because it is customer driven and multifunctional. The process encourages innovation, and requires planners to learn by investigating existing knowledge bases, benchmarking, teaming, and interfunctional brainstorming. However, pioneering can be costly, so emphasis is placed on modifying existing processes that work, rather than developing new and unproven processes. Tools of quality (e.g., Taguchi methods, design of experiments, fish bone diagrams, brainstorming) are relied on extensively, and ensure that engineers address essential factors such as life cycle cost; voice of the customer; quantitative measurement; budget and schedule constraints; and risk management.
In developing the process, ITT A/CD learned that APD requires a flexible but structured approach. Since the process is designed to be tailored, APD acts as a guide and does not stifle innovation and creativity. However, APD is neither an alternative to project management nor an intuitive method. Employees must have effective management skills and training in the tools of quality to make the process work. ITT A/CD has achieved excellent results with this process. Application of APD in major programs resulted in significant and continuing reductions in the average time to develop advanced processes from 44 weeks in 1996 to 33 weeks in 1997.
Figure 2-3. APD Flow
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