Original Date: 01/23/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Transitioning Existing Weapon Designs into Manufacture
The withdrawal of commercial suppliers resulted in the need for Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) to develop their own capability for manufacturing War Reserve active ceramic components. Although the design and development activities had been performed at SNL, production experience was minimal. To meet the customers' needs, a TQM approach was taken to develop a production team.
The overall project planning focused on goals and establishing roles and responsibilities for each team member. The formation of a high performance team required dedication and buy-in of all those involved. Managers whose employees were part of the team were asked to sign contracts allowing for full participation of their employees. A key factor in the development of this team was having customers, in particular the DOE, as team members. Significant time was saved by having these customers on board and available for clarification of requirements when necessary.
The development of this team was a dynamic process. New members were added when the need for other personnel was identified by the core group. Team building exercises and a class on social styles were used to build the group's strengths.
Weekly reviews of the project plan were held. Integral to this review was the tracking of critical path tasks that had an impact on the project schedule, and each task owner identified and defined his tasks. Several quality tools such as Product/Quality Management Information style process flow charts, SPC, and root cause analysis were used throughout the project and led to improvements in the team's performance.
The results were impressive. Although it was determined that the ceramic components were not needed for immediate DOE production, the project was completed ahead of schedule and the parts were eventually used for research and development work. A DOE QAS-2.0 audit was conducted, and the production processes were found to be equal to or better than those of other audited suppliers. The team also received the highest scoring in the Sandia's President's Quality Award which is patterned after the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award.
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