Dramatic changes in world competition have resulted in a major re-evaluation of how American industry develops and manufactures products. In the 1980s and the early to mid-1990s, there was a determined attempt to emulate Japanese manufacturing procedures. This led to the adoption of such concepts as Just-in-Time in which, theoretically, no one maintains inventory; each item needed at each step in the production and distribution chain arrives just in time and is exactly what is needed at that time. Total Quality Management (TQM) was another technique adopted. Based on the ideas of an American, W. Edwards Deming, and on earlier U.S. statistical quality control activities, TQM became the slogan for improvements in every aspect of the U.S. industrial environment. In 1990, the book, The Machine That Changed The World, focused attention on what the authors called "the Japanese auto industry's secret weapon" and on how and why lean manufacturing should be applied in U.S. industry in place of mass production. The application of these and many other techniques to enhance producibility is having a dramatic effect on U.S. industrial competitiveness.
Over this same period, the Department of Defense (DoD) began to recognize that the military services would be required to continue to produce state-of-the-art defense equipment, but that they needed to do so with significantly reduced funding. Today, the DoD is undergoing reform of the processes by which it acquires this equipment and is seeking to reduce the time it takes to develop and produce the equipment. It is attempting to adopt the best practices that have been developing in commercial industry. The DoD can no longer rely on mass production processes because it now purchases most items in only limited quantities. There is a major attempt to procure commercially available equipment whenever possible and to adopt commercial technology for military use. Of particular concern to the DoD is the need to service, support, and upgrade equipment over increasingly long product lifetimes. New equipment must be designed to accommodate rapid changes in technology and the resulting obsolescence of parts, especially in electronics.
In order to remain competitive and realize these objectives, both commercial and defense industries must continuously improve their ability to effectively and efficiently develop and manufacture products that will satisfy the customer. To achieve this in an environment in which technology is changing rapidly, it is impractical to delay consideration of manufacturing until after a product concept has been developed. Indeed, the producibility of the product must be part of the development process and, in some cases, may drive that process. Many commercial and defense companies have recognized that enhancing producibility throughout the product design and development cycle is the most effective way to reduce costs and improve the quality of manufactured products.
The importance of addressing producibility early is
illustrated in Figure I.1. As a product concept matures, the ability to influence producibility and resulting product costs decreases. In contrast to the typical producibility activity profile shown on the figure, the goal is to reduce producibility activity during the production phase of a product and increase that activity during the initial concept and design phases. The producibility guidelines presented in this document are focused on the consideration of manufacturing issues throughout the design and development of a product.
Approached in 1989 to help research information on producibility, the Navy's Best Manufacturing Practices (BMP) program produced two technical documents coauthored with experts from industry and government. "Producibility Measurement for DoD Contracts" was published in 1991, and "Producibility Measurement Guidelines" in 1993. Over the years, these documents have proven invaluable in helping many companies apply specific producibility measurement tools. Although they contained detailed descriptions of techniques and methodologies, the documents did not emphasize the specifics of integrating producibility into a total design and manufacturing program. This need was at the heart of industry's 1997 request to the BMP program to update the earlier producibility guidelines to include a clear explanation of how best to establish and maintain a successful producibility system.
In response to the industry request, a Producibility Task Force (PTF) was formed. The PTF determined that a traditional, comprehensive, and complex approach had to give way to a simplified and more concise, common-sense perspective. This new guidelines document had to define, in a straightforward manner, the steps and techniques required to build a successful producibility system. These guidelines are based on PTF deliberations and on each
of the members' personal experiences with improving producibility.
The Producibility Task Force was comprised of representatives from the following industry, government, and academic institutions:
Robert Barazotto, University of Maryland
Michael Barbieri, Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems
Richard Crispo, The Boeing Company
Richard H. Dewey, U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command
Erich Hausner, TRW
Robert Hawiszczak, Raytheon Systems Company
Jerry Knoski, Raytheon Systems Company
Swee Leong, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Roger Lindle, GE Aircraft Engines
Michael Malone, Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems
Frank Mazza, Lockheed Martin Government Electronic Systems
Charles McLean, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Charles Minter, Best Manufacturing Practices Center of Excellence
Gregory Morano, ITT Aerospace/Communications
Jerry Norley, Motorola, Inc.
John Priest, University of Texas at Arlington
Ernie Renner, Best Manufacturing Practices Center of Excellence
Gene Wiggs, GE Aircraft Engines
Roy Witt, Best Manufacturing Practices Center of Excellence
The PTF thanks the following people for their contribution:
Art Froelich, Motorola, Inc.
Scott McLeod, Pioneer Manufacturing, Inc.
Terry Patterson, Raytheon Systems Company
Paul Zimmerman, Raytheon Systems Company