Original Date: 06/05/2006
Revision Date: / /
Information : Airborne Miscellaneous Products Self-Managed Work Team
In late 2005 Rockwell Collins piloted a new self-directed production group responsible for scheduling, building, requesting new kits, tracking part shortages, and other varied administrative activities. Operators within the group cross-train one another and monitor safety and quality issues. Improved morale and process flow changes within the group have resulted in a 30% reduction in cycle time within the work cell and 100% on-time deliveries.
Prior to November 2005, all manufacturing work teams at Rockwell Collins required assembly operators, test technicians, and inspectors as well as a production manager or supervisor. All problems with assembly line schedules and material were handled by designated schedulers and production managers, respectively. Administrative issues such as overtime and vacation schedules were handled strictly by the area production manager. Operators on the teams had limited visibility regarding their individual contributions to overall line output and productivity. In cases where operators were not comfortable voicing concerns to their managers about difficulties they encountered, build issues often took a long time to resolve.
There is now one self-managed work team at the Rockwell Collins Cedar Rapids facility. An assembly team of operators working on three mature production lines was chosen to pilot the process. At the onset, the team was trained in and conducted a value stream mapping lean event, after which they developed a new process flow and layout for the area. The group also began using a whiteboard to track both daily output goals versus. actual quantities achieved and backlogs from previous months. The work team is responsible for scheduling and building products on their lines, resolving build issues that occur, releasing new kits to the floor, and tracking part shortages. The operators within the group hold regular standup meetings to review the status of the production schedule and discuss new problems. In addition, operators within the cell cross-train one another, which enables cross-trained operators to cover where needed in the case of vacation or illness. Members of this group have also been trained to monitor their own safety conditions and perform quality audits regularly. Leadership roles within the team are voluntary.
Due to the success and self-motivation of one particular work area, management initiated the Self-Managed Work Team whose members possess a great sense of pride and ownership in their work. Decisions within the group are made as a team. Initial results of the team include a steady rate of production, a high rate of schedule realization, and a reduction in workmanship defects found in test. Schedule and process layout improvements have resulted in a 30% reduction in cycle time. The team has had 100% on-time deliveries since its inception.
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