Suppose we are going to compete to build a new air-to-air missile. The RFP
- 10 prototypes - 65 development
- 300 low rate production
- 4,000 year one full production
- 6,000 years 2-5
- Option, 1000 more years 2-5
Let's see how we would apply Producibility Measurement Tool 1 to determine
producibility of the power supply assembly housing of this missile. It will
have five circuit cards mounted inside with various cutouts, fasteners and
cable connections. That module, minus its innards, has an average production
unit cost of $100 including material, labor, and assembly - total cost of this
portion of the missile for the entire production run $3.2 million.
Tool 1 uses . . . Producibility Assessment
Worksheets (PAWs) to determine the best means of production for components and
the overall item. The worksheets use numeric values to determine the ease of
producibility for the elements that make up the process which when averaged
produce a measure of the probability of successful production, i.e.,
producibility. Depending on the total program being measured for
producibility, tens or even hundreds of PAWs may be needed to produce a valid
measurement of producibility. Here we will just track one of the PAWs.
The PAWs, based on the knowledge and experience of the persons doing the
evaluation, are designed to open communications between management and the
functional disciplines involved in product development and manufacture.
A producibility engineer, manufacturing engineer, or
another appropriate individual is chosen to evaluate the producibility of the
power supply assembly housing. After reviewing the preliminary drawings with
design engineering, the Universal PAW format is chosen for the evaluation (see
Sample formats such as electrical, mechanical, and circuit card are
provided in the Appendix. The formats may be used as given or modified to meet
a particular company's needs.
After reviewing the design, cost goals, schedule, and quantities, the
evaluator selects three possible production methods for the assembly:
- Assemble parts from sheet metal with nuts and bolts
- Sand casting with some secondary machining operations
- Investment casting - near net shape, minor drilling and tapping
and enters them on the worksheet (see fig 1).
The evaluator assesses each production method against
the criteria in sections A1-5 of the PAW. In each instance the evaluator
examines the design and selects one of the five values in each section for
each of the methods, entering that value in the appropriate column indicated
in fig 1.
It is important to remember that the processes selected will not be
measured against each other. They are measured against that which is going to
The effort involved in determining the values for each section of the PAW
will depend on the complexity of what is being evaluated and the background of
Ideally, completion of the worksheet will not be done in isolation, either in terms of one individual in a particular functional discipline such as design, manufacturing, etc., nor should inputs be limited to the collective work of any one functional discipline. Consultations and exchanges of information between individuals in a given functional discipline and in different disciplines are vital to achieving the best assessment possible.
Even an experienced evaluator will need to research certain categories of information to obtain a valid assessment. This research could require coordination with material or subcontract management for cost and availability data and quality assurance for reject and rework data on similar projects, or other centers of experience and expertise as appropriate. The more precise the data used by the evaluator, the more precise the producibility measurement.
It should also be noted that the information gathered in the early stages of the producibility measurement process is the beginning of the product history which will provide the basis for future analysis.