Lean Manufacturing, Design For Manufacturing, PM (Chapter II)

3 May


TIGHitco, had finally succeeded in implementing lean manufacturing, everyone was happy, specially Boeing. The training manager from Boeing was impressed enough with my work to call me an “eagle”, she said that what she really liked was that I had added fun features to my work instructions & visual aids, making them pleasant to work with! That was a real nice complement, specially that this lady was trained in Japan for lean leadership, so I was asked to stay on board a bit longer & help out with other projects.

Design For Manufacturing:

Chris, the engineering manager, asked me to look into customer complaints & rejects from Ford, SAAB, & Cessna. Amazingly enough the root of the problems laid within the customer supplied tools & specifications. Of course, I had to do a complete analysis to identify the root cause, & then I had to provide documented proof to the customer.

Preventive Maintenance:

Next, Chris asked me to look into rework at welding area, they just were fed up with what the manufacturing manager was calling “Operator Error”. I had some welding experience, but their operations were very sensitive (water sealed SST foils!). I told Chris that the operation required certain set up (I could see that much by looking at it), & I needed additional training to understand it, before troubleshooting it. Manufacturing manager offered to train me, but I said no thanks (noting that they had a problem with fixing the problem!). Chris sent me to training, & sure enough, I came back with answers. However, manufacturing manager refused to accept my recommendations, he said “I have been running this operation for 19 years, you cannot walk in here & tell me what to do”! Chris trusted me & allowed me to bring in an expert from whom they were buying machines in, for support to convince the manufacturing manager that they needed to modify a few things around their welding operations. Sure enough we eliminated (significantly reduced) the operator error (!) problem there!

Next I debugged a piece of equipment that was creating one too many rejects, the problem was originally thought to be operator error, but it ended up to be lack of proper preventive maintenance.

Next Chris asked me to help maintenance utilize a computerized Preventive Maintenance schedule that they had purchased, but was not being utilized. I looked the software, it just was not a good match for these people, specially that they had to document all PM work done in the plant. Upon approval from Chris, I replaced the software with Microsoft Excel created forms. I worked with maintenance manager, our solution replaced 2000 pages with 1 page of documentation for some machines.

Installation:

Next Chris asked me to install a welding machine for Boeing, they wanted to switch from spot welding to projection welding, it was a cost reduction project initiated by Boeing Wichita. I looked the machine capability compared it with design specifications & requirement, they did not match! Note that I used to develop specifications for designing customized automated equipment. I started looking into gathering facts to support my concern about changing the process, the problem was that the parts were used in 737, & new process was not reliable enough for the application, meaning that the parts could fail during operation (flight!) & that was a real safety concern. I still have a copy of the package that I put together to support my concerns, Chris sent it to Boeing, they cancelled the project.

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