Original Date: 07/25/2005
Revision Date: 09/12/2006
Information : CMMI: A Structured Approach to Implementing Computer-Integrated Manufacturing
An effective and sustainable Computer-Integrated Manufacturing solution requires a governing set of work processes. The Manufacturing Systems Engineering Division of Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems sector is using Capability Maturity Model Integration to provide the needed structure to create cross-functional solutions to meet the growing need of Computer-Integrated Manufacturing applications that decrease the number of software defects and increase customer satisfaction.
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems’ (NGES’) Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) previously consisted of managers and engineers creating a database or spreadsheet using available Microsoft Office applications, then consolidating and evaluating data from the company’s existing data collection software programs. This process worked adequately and provided the manufacturing shops with the information they needed, but as the company’s information technology infrastructure was upgraded and expanded, the result was a fractured and inconsistent way of collecting data pertinent to NGES’ manufacturing operations. NGES recognized the need to have greater control over the data needed by the manufacturing divisions and those in support of manufacturing operations. To address the issue, NGES created Manufacturing Systems Engineering, a division of engineering dedicated to the creation of interfaces between the company’s existing data collection system, the Enterprise Resource Planning, and systems used by the manufacturing divisions.
Manufacturing Systems Engineering was initiated to provide a seamless flow of data in a highly dynamic manufacturing environment. This was accomplished by establishing standards for the creation of CIM software and by implementing Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) as the driver for the expanding needs of CIM. The objective of the CMMI project was to create a set of integrated models and to continually improve upon those models using best practices and lessons learned to establish a framework for the integration of future models. Work product reviews help identify these practices. This has enabled the Manufacturing Systems Engineering Group to integrate organizations that are traditionally separate by trusting the IT Division to ensure that all current security and other measures pertinent to the stability of the company’s IT infrastructure would be incorporated into any CIM solutions. This structured approach to CIM has helped the group focus on solutions that can be implemented across multiple manufacturing areas rather than just creating a point solution for each manufacturing area’s need.
Although the CMMI Program is still in its first year of implementation, it has already proved to be beneficial marked by decreased software defects and increased customer satisfaction measured by a steady increase in requests for CIM solutions. CMMI has significantly reduced the learning curve associated with integrating new employees into the division through the use of documented procedures and work instructions outlining the process for creating CIM solutions. The use of CMMI is ensuring a consistent application of CIM programs across the entire ES sector of NG.
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