WCI Chapter III (Product Lifecycle Management, PLM)

25 Apr

When I started working at WCI, I was supposed to focus on development projects, however, I got involved with troubleshooting & maintenance of old equipment as well, but I still was spending some where around 60% of my time on initiating & implementing new projects, that I will review in next chapter IV.

I was aiming for cost reduction & quality control, managing automation projects, when I got involved with evaluating products’ designs. First I noticed the inconsistency of fabricated parts & how it was complicating the assembly operations. So I started backtracking the quality issues, evaluating fabrication operations. Looking for root cause, I got involved with materials handling, tooling design & maintenance, as well as product design (tolerances & materials).

Then my vendors got back to me stating, that too many variations among our models would complicate the equipment design, making it overly expensive, if not impossible. So I got involved with designers as well as marketing, figuring out why we had to have so many variations. Bottom line was that no one had a definite answer, & many said that it was a good idea to find out if we could standardize parts as much as possible.

My directions were to identify all operations that could feasibly be automated, so I found myself studying the entire Bill Of Materials, trying to identify the specifics on what parts were problem & why. I rewrote the BOM for all 300 models, (there were over 300 parts in each), in a matrix that visually  showed the specific variations among models. I tried to get help from our data processing, but they claimed that no one else in company needed that information, & they were overwhelmed with work.

Thank God, my manager had hired me, expecting me to do exactly what I was doing.

To make a long story short, back in 1985, may be 1986, I started my own Product Life-cycle Management project, analyzing 300 models, for 3 major sizes from; Studying anything from marketing demand end, through design configuration, through manufacturing needs/limitations, & of course all the way through quality assurance for customer satisfaction. I also got involved with vendors for purchased materials / parts to evaluate tolerances, & their ability to control/tighten them, as well as to standardize packaging methods.

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