Original Date: 09/14/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Flexible Work Cells
Before Raytheon Missile Systems Company (RMSC) could implement agile manufacturing concepts into its Standard Missile program, the company needed to make major changes to a factory floor that had been designed around a rigid, linear flow storage and retrieval system. Starting with a proven overhead utility grid design, the Standard Missile Agile Implementation Team developed and set up flexible work cells. These work cells provide RMSC with rapid response and reconfiguration capabilities to meet changing requirements with minimal disruption to production. All workstations within a cell are mobile which promotes a small lot production strategy, and improves production flow across multiple product types. The use of these work cells also improves communications between IPT members, and provides immediate problem-solving responses.
By redesigning the area for the Standard Missile program, RMSC freed up more than 15,000 square feet of valuable factory floor space, and positioned three additional production programs into this area. Flexible work cells enabled the company to consolidate the entire missile assembly at Tucson. Three major subassemblies and all of the guidance section activities, previously produced in separate locations, were incorporated together by RMSC.
The implementation of flexible work cells allowed RMSC to change its Standard Missile program from an outdated, rigid linear line flow process to one that meets today's needs and has the flexibility to meet the changes and challenges of tomorrow. The company can modify the production work areas, as necessary, to facilitate a more efficient workflow as product types change. With these improvements, RMSC can rapidly respond to and meet its global customers’ changing needs.
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