Original Date: 03/06/2006
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : Phalanx Fleet Reliability Improvement Team
Creation of the Phalanx Fleet Reliability Improvement Team and surrounding processes has enabled life-cycle reporting of reliability and failure data for the Phalanx system. It has also aided closed-loop quality and mission assurance. With the establishment of a cross-functional team to provide a forum for Fleet reliability and quality improvement, Raytheon-Louisville is able to emphasize the importance of data collection and review and corrective actions. The Phalanx Fleet Reliability Improvement Team and surrounding processes have resulted in a reduction in failures and quality issues for each Phalanx and an increase in operational availability.
At the end of 2002, there was no forum for Fleet reliability and quality improvements. Raytheon-Louisville recognized that they did not have a closed-loop product assurance process and initiated a proposal to establish a Phalanx Fleet Reliability Improvement Team (PFRIT). This was in consonance with innovative warrantees and Phalanx upgrades.
The PFRIT is a cross-functional team consisting of the Navy Program Office, Raytheon-Louisville, the In-Service Engineering Agent (ISEA), the Defense Contracting Management Agency (DCMA), and the TSC Bird Company. The vision was to direct cost-effective, constructive changes in Phalanx manufacturing and designs, to enhance product reliability and quality, and to reduce total ownership cost. A Failure Review Board (FRB) and a Corrective Action Board (CAB) were established to adjudicate failures in final test, Fleet test, and factory data.
Semiannual PFRIT production reviews were instituted to review all data and identify reliability improvement opportunities. Quality engineers assigned to production Integrated Product Teams (IPTs) collected and reviewed metrics from all databases, analyzed trends, and determined cause and corrective actions. After completing CAB reports, monthly meetings assessed effectiveness and corrective actions were shared with the PFRIT. The PFRIT met semiannually for two days to refocus on the data and identify the “low-hanging fruit.” From mid-2004 to date, all data have been reviewed four times. Key suppliers have been identified and integrated into teams where collective improvements in reliability can be developed. In some cases suppliers had no idea that failures were occurring in their components. A life cycle approach has also been established that helps to identify systemic trends and opportunities for design improvements.
Continuing with data acquisition, the team created the Integration Test Log (IT Log) that combines the Failure Reporting and Corrective Action System (FRACAS) and warranty failure data into one database. The CA Web, a “factory concern” database, was developed to reduce hidden rework for items that were not technically failures but that could ultimately produce unforeseen problems (e.g., loose hardware or improvements to work instructions). The CA Web was built on the idea that pictures are good and that fixes needed to be communicated back to the workforce to reinforce positive process improvements. With this system, actual concerns are posted around the workplace. Field service representatives at the Fleet access the IT Log online and now document and detail failures using root cause and corrective action pocket guides. Support training is available, and efforts continue to improve failure communication and language to the factory’s quality engineers.
Results identified from 2002 to date include measurable improvements in first-article test, reduced incidences of factory concern, reduced quality issues for each Phalanx, reduced failures, and reduced warranty returns. Suppliers have reduced non-conformities and perform root cause and corrective actions in some cases. Downtime drivers are also more accurately identified and corrected, aiding overall measured increases in operational availability (Ao). Efficiencies include identification of failure families and enhanced communication with customers and suppliers for mutual defect reduction. Weaknesses in troubleshooting have been identified at the factory level. At sea, tightened processes have reduced average out-of-warranty defects and in-warranty defects.
Companies have the tendency to end aggressive issue tracking when products leave the front gate. Raytheon- Louisville has chosen to take an active ownership role-life cycle approach to capture issues that normally could not be fully documented. This approach has benefited the Phalanx system by exhibiting fewer failures and higher availability. Raytheon-Louisville now shows tighter production processes, lower costs, and improved customer satisfaction.
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