Original Date: 03/06/2006
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Program
Raytheon-Louisville’s Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Program has established a well-integrated Diminishing Manufacturing Source Team with members from all engineering backgrounds, including members from industry, key suppliers, and government to ensure the success of the program. Although the company has experienced a large production ramp-up and an aging fielded system, Raytheon-Louisville has been able to increase the operational availability of the Phalanx system and to continue uninterrupted production of its product by identifying potential obsolescence issues and mitigating risk.
Raytheon-Louisville’s Phalanx system provides defense against both air and surface threats and is currently entering a time of change. Overhauling deployed Phalanx systems and upgrading them to new configurations are now presenting new challenges to the Louisville facility as its 25-year-old weapon program matures and experiences a ramp-up in production. In addition to the Phalanx systems deployed in the U.S. Navy (USN), there has been an increase in orders from many international countries. Revitalization of the Phalanx program poses many challenges to the supplier base, and Raytheon-Louisville has adopted a Diminishing Manufacturing Sources (DMS) process to help increase the operational availability (Ao) of the system and support continued production of its product.
Raytheon-Louisville realized that to increase the Ao and support the continued production of its Phalanx system, obsolescence issues would have to be solved. In 1994, Raytheon-Louisville established a truly integrated Diminishing Manufacturing Source (DMS) team with members from all engineering backgrounds that included system and design engineering, components engineering, product and life cycle support, and program management. In addition to the engineering disciplines, Raytheon-Louisville knew that the integrated team would need members from industry, key suppliers, and government to ensure the success of the DMS Program. Key item suppliers, supply chain managers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and second-tier suppliers, and the USN In-Service Engineering Agent (ISEA) actively participate on the DMS Team.
The DMS Team can take many actions to guard against production delays or setbacks. They are involved in trying to ensure low-cost solutions to problems and to minimize redesign efforts. Sometimes reverse engineering is the only option available, and the DMS Team groups with other programs to share the costs. If obsolescence issues must be addressed, the DMS Team can identify aftermarket manufacturers, brokers, and suppliers. When necessary, the DMS Team initiates bridge- or lifetime buys to support the Phalanx program requirements and forecasts lifetime buys to sustain post-production spares and repairs. Teaming with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) helps the team procure obsolete components and performing obsolescence health assessments on key items and subsystems helps identify potential issues and mitigate risk.
The DMS Team has identified and is now focusing on three major areas. The first area of focus is the continual monitoring of the semiconductor industry. Raytheon-Louisville strives to maintain excellent relationships with its supplier base and works intensely to maintain the suppliers’ support for the Phalanx program. When the Louisville facility receives industry alerts, the DMS Team must review them for any manufacturer’s product discontinuances. All industry alerts automatically trigger a notification through Raytheon-Louisville’s corporatewide DocuShare database. Since all program components are loaded in DocuShare, any affected components and all next-higher assemblies will be listed in the notification along with end-of-life data. If appropriate, the DMS Team will forecast the requirements necessary to support lifetime buys from the supplier. Sometimes identifying alternate sources of supply is needed.
The second area of focus for the DMS Team is maintaining a database of all obsolescence issues. The Solutions Database record for the obsolescence issues contains the obsolete part number, the description, and the OEM information. Last-time buy data is included with the affected next-higher assembly. Solution options are explored on the record, and short-term steps are taken to mitigate the impact of the issue. Long-term steps are also taken or explored to eliminate the issue. A unique Record Locator number for tracking purposes is included in the record, and a permanent chain of events is recorded. Raytheon-Louisville keeps the records indefinitely following the closure and resolution of the obsolescence issue. As obsolescence issues arise, the DMS Team presents the data compiled to program and technical management. Once an informed decision is reached, direction is given to the team as to which option to engage.
The third area of focus is the obsolescence health assessments performed by the DMS Team. These heath assessments are performed on the subassemblies of current production, new designs, and post-production spares and repairs at periodic intervals every 6 to 12 months. The results and recommendations are fed back to the design activity, and follow-up assessments are performed to ensure corrective action has been taken. Some examples of recent obsolescence health assessments include those performed on the Thermal Imager, new subassemblies and CCA designs, the Vertical Reference Unit, and legacy CCA designs. Obsolescence health assessments have been successful in assessing the forecasted availability and identifying high- and medium-risk components.
Raytheon-Louisville’s mature Phalanx program and ramp-up in production have presented unique challenges. The integrated DMS Team’s three areas of focus and available actions to guard against production delays or setbacks ensure that obsolescence issues are addressed to help identify potential issues and mitigate risk. The success of the DMS Program has supported the company in its desire to increase the Ao of the Phalanx system and the continued production of its product.
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