Producibility Elements Highlighted:
Understand Current Process Capabilities (Company and
Several years ago, Raytheon Missile Systems Company (RMSC) realized its manufacturing capabilities were not meeting the customer's cost expectations. As a result, the company began efforts to improve its processes and turned to metrics as a way to drive process and quality management. Initially, process owners and general managers tracked the deployment of engineering disciplines across their programs as a way to increase the awareness and use of process improvement metrics. Now, metrics are required for all programs as a part of RMSC's Integrated Process Architecture (IPA).
RMSC starts every program with standard IPA processes, and tailors them to individual needs. Laboratory managers review the tailored processes to ensure that critical elements of each process are maintained. The Integrated Product Team program, responsible for the tailored process, identifies and collects standard and Six Sigma metrics on the key processes for continuous assessment across various engineering disciplines. Standard metrics
include cycle time, defect detection, design-to-cost, risk mitigation, design reviews, top production issues, design reuse, staffing, and training. Although all processes do not require a Six Sigma level, RMSC uses these metrics to
identify sources of defects, and to increase producibility, design for manufacturability, and communication among engineering disciplines. This approach reduces cycle time and improves costs, performance, and schedules for
individual programs. Monthly process reviews are used across the enterprise.
In addition, RMSC tailored the Software Engineering Institute's Capability Maturity Model to be applicable to all mechanical, electrical, and software design processes. By identifying the maturity level of a process, RMSC can determine the associated estimates for risk level, producibility, and quality capability. Maturity of processes is another way for the company to benchmark against the rest of industry. RMSC also measures and analyzes in-process defects to identify defect type, occurrence pattern, and trends at the project and organization levels; identifies and resolves
systematic problems; and addresses project-specific problems early in the life-cycle to reduce rework costs. By using process sigma levels and in-depth understanding, designers can develop new processes and estimate sigmas. Actual
sigmas are compared to predicted ones, which enable RMSC to quickly resolve new issues. Although existing programs may not reach the maturity levels of newly planned ones, RMSC's continual use of metrics enables all programs to address process improvement and achieve reduced cycle times and/or defect levels.