Original Date: 04/28/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Design Assurance
Lockheed Martin Electronics and Missiles (E&M) has implemented a unique, three-part preemptive methodology discipline to ensure quality design of its products. Because it is difficult to correct less-than-optimal designs already produced, Lockheed Martin maintains that applying the preemptive discipline maximizes quality designs.
In 1987, Lockheed Martin acknowledged that improved methods and techniques in building products positively affect quality, and began to employ an enhanced methodology to build quality into the design process. Unique to the design assurance program was the focused, integrated approach to preempting problems. Emphasis was on establishing good design methods based on well-established standards and practices to consistently reflect well- researched and current lessons learned. Design assurance personnel were involved full time, had good working knowledge of the design communities' capabilities and techniques, and were well versed in program requirements, schedules, and problems. Also unique to the process was the detailed design assurance reviews held regularly at the working level.
Key elements to the design assurance process include continually generating and/or updating the theory-rich engineering practice manuals, comprehensive training of the design standards throughout the design engineering community, and the systematic approach to follow-up with thoroughly prepared review teams to ensure that standards are met.
Design assurance has proven a guiding effort to a better design process, more efficient reviews, and a focal point for lessons learned. The performance of design assurance personnel is measured by program (project) personnel with a single criteria -- release of a quality design the first time. The effectiveness rating has been excellent to outstanding. Early avoidance of potential design defects has provided major cost avoidances.
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