Original Date: 03/06/2006
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : Parts Presentation
The Raytheon-Louisville plant has developed and expanded a proven method for efficiently moving production parts to the shop floor. Parts Presentation Vehicles are used to increase production efficiency at the Louisville facility. The use of Parts Presentation Vehicles has enabled Raytheon-Louisville to meet schedule delivery times for the last 85 months.
The Raytheon-Louisville facility has instituted a change in the way material is issued to the production work areas that has resulted in benefits to Raytheon, its customers, and its employees. Using a concept first initiated by the Tucson Missile Systems division, the Louisville team recognized several inefficiencies in the way their plant formerly issued material to the shop floor, which included the use of pallets and forklifts as a primary mechanism to store, pick, and move material. The movement of material and assembled parts back and forth to the storeroom also wasted production personnel and inventory controller man-hours transporting, issuing, and marking parts. The practice of storing material on pallets in the work areas created a waste of valuable production space and an unorganized parts situation. Workers within the area would spend the first few hours sorting through the material on pallets and in bins by organizing and identifying needed parts. The method for transporting parts to the work area and storage in the work area promoted more chances for material to get lost or damaged, increasing production cycle times.
Raytheon-Louisville benchmarked parts presentation practices by visiting local automotive plants such as General Motors and Saturn to learn how this could be institutionalized and enhanced at its own plant. The new process uses a rack that is lightweight and built to a unique specification for each work cell on the shop floor to store, pick, and move material. The racks, or Parts Presentation Vehicles (PPVs), are designed to optimize every available space for holding every part used in a specific assembly work cell unit. Vertical placement of larger pieces and specialized horizontal containers for smaller parts increase the use of floor space and organize parts in a visual manner. The PPV concept minimizes damage or loss due to unnecessary material handling as well as the time shop workers spend looking for a part. PPVs are also designed to capture optimum ergonomic benefits by designing a space for heavy items or most used parts where they can be easily retrieved. In some cases, such as a harness rack used in one of the production lines, the cables are prehunghung. With the connectors at working height, the cables can be tested without being removed from the rack prior to installation on an assembly (Figure 2-5).
Increased safety considerations for this new and enhanced process benefit Raytheon-Louisville and its employees. The reduced potential for injury has been minimized with improved ergonomics by decreasing the need to bend and lift. The potential for injury due to tripping and falling has also been reduced with the elimination of pallets holding material and crowding the workspace. The PPVs further allow for assemblies to move directly to the next work center, eliminating the transportation, packing, and marking for assemblies back and forth to the storeroom. Since every item needed for an assembly has a preassigned space on the PPV, the time spent to pick and transport material to the work area on the PPV has been reduced from 4 to 5 days to less than 1 day. If a part to complete an assembly is missing, it is readily noticeable by inventory personnel, the work area team, and the supervisor (Figure 2-6). This enables a rapid resolution to the issue of parts availability.
Raytheon-Louisville has also realized cleaner work cell areas using the PPVs. The PPV concept has not only increased production space by reducing material holding space and creating an organized inventory system, but unwanted packing material never makes it to the shop floor. Raytheon- Louisville employees, now empowered to think of even better ways of enhancing the agile and visual factory concepts, continue to improve the PPV designs for each area and the process for populating and moving the PPVs to the work area. Inventory personnel now unpack all parts and place them in prelabeledlabeled, specialized storage areas for each part within each PPV. This reduces waste dunnage in the shop and keeps recycled packaging materials where they can be more readily used, creating a more efficient process in both areas.
Other ideas for making better use of the PPVs are continually being created and used by the workforce. The materials used to construct the PPVs are such that disassembly and redesign to incorporate modifications into any given PPV is an easy process; therefore, PPVs are constantly being upgraded and improved to incorporate employee ideas and increase efficiency in any given workspace.
Figure 2-5. EXL Harness Rack
Figure 2-6. Final Assembly Pick
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