TRANSITION FROM DEVELOPMENT TO PRODUCTION IS THE
In the acquisition process, first evidence of weapon system problems sometimes does not become apparent until a program transitions from full-scale development (FSD) into production. This transition erroneously is thought to be a discrete event in time. Most acquisition managers seem to recognize that there is a risk associated with the transition, but perhaps do not know the magnitude nor the origin, because the transition is not a discrete event but a process composed of three elements: design, test, and production. Many programs simply cannot succeed in production, despite the fact that they’ve passed the required milestone reviews. These programs can’t succeed for technical reasons, notwithstanding what is perceived as prior management success related to DoD acquisition policy. A poorly designed product cannot be tested efficiently, produced, or deployed. In the test program there will be far more failures than should be expected. Manufacturing problems will overwhelm production schedules and costs. The best evidence of this is the "hidden factory syndrome" with its needlessly high redesign and rework costs. In addition, field failures will destroy operational and training schedules and increase costs.
The transition process is very broad and it is impacted by activities that are, or more accurately, are not done in the early design and test activities. For contractors who have been successful in designing and producing acceptable products, it generally is recognized that the control techniques needed to successfully complete the design, test, and production elements dictate the management system needed to direct the overall effort. In fact, the current management systems in today’s industrial processes had their origins in these design, test, and production requirements.