Original Date: 08/10/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Customized Tool Kit Program
Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC), Lakehurst uses a Customized Tool Kit program to design and develop tool kits for the Department of Defense (DoD) and other government agencies. Operating in modern facilities, a core group of dedicated tool control and manufacturing planning control personnel configures the kits to meet the specific needs of the Navy (e.g., aircraft weapon platforms, support personnel), and ensures that world-class quality tool kits are delivered on time and at the right price. Various tool box and cabinet configurations are used in designing the kits, which house specific sets of manually operated and/or automated tools. In addition, the tools are selected based on the customer’s requirements and stored in designated areas inside the kit through the use of slotted locators, shadow/silhouette techniques, and foam inlays. The customized kits provide easy access to the proper tool, offer instant site inventory, and allow quick detection of missing tools to minimize foreign object damage.
When the Navy first introduced customized tool kits, the concept was not immediately developed into a core competency. Instead, various personnel performed the task as a collateral duty, no dedicated assembly area was identified, and no strategic plan to market for additional work existed. In FY96, NAWC, Lakehurst’s Prototyping and Manufacturing Department (PMD) reviewed the Fleet’s needs, realized the market potential, and developed resources offering integrated solutions for various support equipment (SE) requirements. The PMD implemented the Customized Tool Kit program to meet the specific needs of its customers. An Integrated Product Team (IPT), consisting of Engineering, PMD competencies, re-examined the existing processes and procedures. Among the changes initiated by the team were management and operations systems to track job data using Excel; a Manufacturing Planning Control System (MPCS) using Oracle; a procurement request system; a computer controlled water jet cutter; a Federal Logistics Information System for procurement history and pricing data/availability; and CAD/CAM software for design and layout. The program’s tool control facilities consist of 2,500 square feet of dedicated space equipped with table routers, band saws, a drill press, a finger brake, and a mechanical shear.
Documentation accompanies all tool kits, detailing the contents and placement of each tool in the kit and providing re-order information for replacement parts. The procurement request system eliminated the need to order individual tools by part number and, instead, uses a single order stock number assigned to each specific tool kit configuration. This improvement reduced procurement costs by thousands of dollars annually. Tool quality improved by stocking the kits with tools that comply with tool standards (e.g., Standardization and Control Industrial Quality Tools; American National Standards Institute; Aerospace). Smart working relations with top-of-the-line commercial vendors also enhanced negotiations of prices, deliveries, and full commercial warranties of the tools procured.
The entire process, from Request for Quote to shipping, has been streamlined to optimize the use of resources. Turnaround time for Requests for Quotes can be as little as two days; small jobs can be delivered in 60 days. Today, the Customized Tool Kit program at NAWC, Lakehurst is a core competency, and the PMD envisions an increase in the existing market by expanding its customer base to other DoD services and federal agencies.
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