Original Date: 06/05/2006
Revision Date: / /
Best Practice : Joint Direct Attack Munition High-Rate Production
Rockwell Collins implemented several lean initiatives and systematic changes to significantly decrease the cost and cycle time of producing the Joint Direct Attack monitoring product. The company also incorporated inspection steps into its manufacturing process that have resulted in considerable quality improvements.
The Rockwell Collins Coralville facility produces a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver circuit card used for Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) precision guidance. Prior to 1997, the facility had difficulty producing this item as shown by its large cycle time and high defect rate. The JDAM production process was cumbersome, with high work in process (WIP) at most assembly steps and a lengthy method for inputting product data to track its progress through the facility and provide metrics. Adding to the throughput time was the facility’s need to ship to a larger sister facility before having the product reach the customer.
To address these issues, the manufacturing team conducted several lean initiatives over a 6-year period that resulted, in part, in the use of a kanban/pull system to decrease WIP. The manufacturing team used value stream mapping to develop a takt time of approximately 3 minutes per work station. Other outcomes of the lean exercises were successive inspection (or audits) throughout the build, cross-trained operators, and increased automation. The facility also changed its layout and made other systematic changes in order to begin shipping directly to its customer. The Coralville facility also implemented a SAP enterprise resource planning system to facilitate data collection of the JDAM manufacturing process.
Due to the use of a kanban/pull system, the JDAM product line now operates with minimum WIP. Decreasing the number of hand-placed components from 10 to 3, cross-training operators, and incorporating additional inspection steps into the process has resulted in an 85% decrease in the defect rate – from 2,647 defects per million (DPMs) to 200 DPMs. These improvements, as well as the ability of the facility to ship directly to the customer, have increased the process yield by 233% – from 25 units/day to 150 units/day. The line currently functions with four operators instead of nine, which has allowed for a 56% reallocation of staff. The Coralville facility is now able to produce the JDAM product at less than 50% of its previous cost.
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