Original Date: 10/20/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Shrink Wrapping Parts Kits
Parts kits are typically stored loose in plastic bags. This method can make it difficult to verify the completeness and accuracy of the kits. As a result, the parts distribution process can decrease the efficiency of the production floor. Northrop Grumman implemented shrink-wrap technology for routing the parts kits onto its production floor. By shrink-wrapping the parts kits, in lieu of the traditional plastic bags, the company has improved several aspects of its parts kits distribution process.
Shrink wrapping allows for easier identification of parts kits. The parts for each kit are arranged on a cardboard backing. Each part has a designated location on the cardboard and an identification label. The cardboard is then enveloped in plastic and shrink wrapped to hold the parts in place. Since all of the parts are now simultaneously visible, mechanics can verify the completeness and accuracy of the kits at a glance. The efficiency of the production line improves because mechanics will not have to stop unexpectedly because of an incomplete kit. In support of Corporate strategy, Northrop Grumman can also task this operation to its contractors. Corporate policy dictates that contracting activities should be used, where possible, to support the production floor.
Shrink wrapping technology improves the visual accuracy of the kits and verifies their completeness. Prior to this technology, Northrop Grumman had approximately a 94% accuracy of parts going onto the production floor. By shrink wrapping the parts kits, the company has now increased its parts accuracy up to 99.78%.
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