Original Date: 05/01/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Integrated Management Control System
Previously, Northrop Grumman Defensive Systems Division (DSD) used a manual, paper-intensive system for requirements planning, inventory control, purchase orders, requisitions, and shop floor management. In 1974, the company implemented an enterprise-wide, paperless system for Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II), known internally as the Integrated Management Control System (IMCS). The IMCS is designed to synchronize production and delivery throughout the value chain.
The IMCS (Figure 2-6) is a hybrid collection of integrated, high-end, commercially-available software which Northrop Grumman DSD tailored to its unique management and customer requirements. With its closed-loop Material Requirements Planning (MRP) features, the IMCS implements just-in-time (JIT) policies that automate tools to establish and monitor planning, program performance, material management, supplier management, shop floor, capacity planning, and financial activities. The IMCS also has key capabilities to communicate electronically to customers and suppliers. Electronic commerce methods include electronic data interchange (EDI), electronic data faxing, e-mail, and file transfer protocols.
The planning system modules within the IMCS are the front and back ends of the MRP II process. The system establishes and tracks the Master Sales Plan to meet the contract requirements; the Master Production Schedule for manufacturing shop orders; and Material Requirements Plan to ensure that program objectives and schedule deliveries are met on time. Full visibility, accountability, and performance are provided within the system for closed-loop planning and decision making. Key subsystems within the IMCS include:
The Automated Customer Order Tracking System (ACOTS) is a full contract entry and tracking system which provides electronic notification of new and modified contract activities. Implemented in 1995, the ACOTS drives the Master Production Schedule and automates the invoice process via EDI with the customer. The contract performance tracking system has automated signature approval, generation of packing tickets, and warning of contract delinquencies. The system processes over 10,000 transactions per month, and has reduced the sell-off/shipment process by 64%.
Bills of Material can automatically be converted from an Engineering Bill of Material to a Manufacturing Bill of Material (MBOM) from any file format to the mainframe. Mass change updates, as well as date effectivity are also permitted. This module allows the MBOM to be used as the basis for MRP while achieving a very high accuracy rate as required for the government’s Material Management Accounting System (MMAS).
MRP systems create time-phased material requirements with automated weekly schedule and requirement adjustments to ensure that supply equals demand. These systems also perform capacity planning simulation to ensure critical path parts and material availability are identified, and to optimize the plan to meet the schedule. A MRP system focused at the parts’ levels enabled Northrop Grumman DSD to reduce its total lead time by more than 70% since 1996.
The AutoBuy module, part of the IMCS procurement subsystem, automatically generates requisitions for requirements, approves requisitions based on set criteria, and creates purchase orders for master agreement parts. The module also eliminates manual order entry for repetitive buys. Key to the success of AutoBuy is the Procurement Master Agreements which can reduce cycle time by seven weeks. By using this system, Northrop Grumman DSD has reduced quote cycle time to zero days for more than 25% of its hardware line items.
The IMCS Material Pooling provides the capability for combining inventory tasks based on defined objectives (e.g., requirements, cost, location, usage). Cost savings are achieved by reducing the required storage space; material handling and picking cycle times; and incoming inspection lots. Additionally, this system decreases the handling of multiple receipts; controls the inventory transfer process; improves the efficiency of requisition and purchase orders; and reduces supplier expediting and schedule change notification activities. By using Material Pooling, Northrop Grumman DSD reduced the planning analysis for introducing new jobs from four weeks to one. The overall pooling savings provided approximately 6% of the total overhead savings.
The Storage Tracking Automated Retrieval System (STARS) is an inventory system that provides on-line, real-time transaction processing. Parts are stored and retrieved in horizontal and vertical carousels which utilize barcode technology and automated trackbots. The STARS features first-in-first-out (FIFO) logic, lot control, serialization, visibility of shelf life, product by program, and off-site stock locations. By being integrated with the IMCS Shop Floor Control System, the STARS can pick parts to the latest MBOM or other requirement. Shop orders released, based on the MRP JIT release date, initiate the automated STARS to pick the shop order components.
The IMCS Shop Floor Control System modules operate as an integrated, on-line, real-time system that tracks hardware, sets priorities, and generates routings. Controlled, detailed work instructions (available on-line) provide the system with manual, semi-automated, and automated operations. These instruction packages include drawing and procedure references; parts, bin, and tool lists; manufacturing order traveler sequences, and visual aids. Labor information and work measurement are collected electronically at the workstation for use by management and the Finance Department. The IMCS Shop Floor Control System also uses Statistical Process Control (SPC) with on-line data analysis graphical interfaces.
Test Result Notices (TRNs) are a key element of Northrop Grumman DSD’s functional test capability, providing on-line, real-time data collection and analysis capabilities. The TRN system allows chain- up/chain-down linkage between assembly numbers, and permits the issuance of TRNs for multiple assemblies at once. Failure thresholds and integrated corrective actions (both process and supplier) are also part of the TRN system. As a result, abnormal conditions are immediately recognized and special causes of variation are investigated and eliminated.
Since implementing the IMCS integration, Northrop Grumman DSD reduced support costs by 50%; increased transactions by four-fold; held early deliveries of purchase orders to less than 1%; and processed purchased orders to stock at more than 80%. The reduction in manufacturing risk has also enabled the company to meet on-time contractual deliveries for more than 65 consecutive months on the AN/ALQ-135 program. The IMCS has been rated green and compliant under the MMAS since 1991, and has received the Computer-Aided Acquisition & Logistics Support’s Electronic Commerce Award in 1996.
Figure 2-6. Integrated Management Control System
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.