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Dave Bergmann hurried back to his office following an extended CIM (computer integrated manufacturing) Task Force meeting where some important issues about the FMS (flexible manufacturing system) scheduling system had come up and needed to be addressed. He was expecting a phone call from division headquarters in Troy, Ohio about the status of the FMS Retrofit Proposal.
Coming down the narrow hall, he squeezed past Ruthie Winters, the plant manager's secretary, who was carrying a new plant for Mr. Daley's office. "A new philodendron for the boss's office?" he asked Ruthie. "Oh, hi Dave," said Ruthie, "Yes, the Boston fern was looking poorly so I'll take it home to nurse it and replace it with this in the meantime."
"Looks nice," said Dave. As he turned into his office he asked his secretary, lohn Shepherd, whether the call had come in yet. "Not yet, but Joan Kart dropped by and Don Morello called—the message is on your desk. Joan said she'd stop by later."
Don Morello was manager of industrial engineering for Dave and, according to his note, was having second thoughts about the overhead allocation procedure for the FMS. Joan Kart, also in IE, was senior project engineer for the FMS Retrofit. Dave himself had Started out in the industrial engineering department here at Medina in 1971, 14 Jong years ago, before vol unteering In 1981 for the position of manufacturing engineering manager for their plant in Italy. Upon returning to the States this July, four years later, he was appointed manager of manufacturing engineering at Medina, a position that had recently been vacated.
As Dave sat down at his desk, thoughts about the retrofit filled his head. While waiting for the phone call from headquarters to come through, Dave took out a pencil to make some notes concerning the project.
The Medina plant, built in 1951, was originally known as the Axle Division of Troy Gear & Axle Company. The building was 379,000 square feet and the site included 61 acres. Original products were transfer cases and axles for military trucks. As the Korean Conflict grew, production in Medina grew until a peak of 2000 employees was reached in 1953. With the cessation of Korean hostilities, the plant then reduced in size.
Also in 1953. Troy Gear & Axle merged with Standard Gear Company and took the name Troy Geartrain Company. In 1955 the Medina plant was enlarged to 750,000 square feet with a S3 million addition in order to consolidate axle manufacturing processes from other plants and enter the civilian truck axle market.
In 1958, the firm changed its name to the Geartrain Corporation and the Medina plant became the Transmission and Axle Division. In 1972, the company name was changed once again, to Geartrain International, and Medina was extensively reorganized. Assembly operations were transferred to a new plant set up specifically for the work in Zanesville, Ohio, and a $14 million expansion and modernization program was instituted in Medina. A flexible manufacturing system (FMS) was purchased and installed for low-volume parts and later a transfer line was installed for high-volume parts. The FMS machining time ranged from 40 to 160 minutes compared to the one minute cycle time for the transfer machine. However, the setup time on the FMS was less than 30 minutes whereas the transfer line required two days to change over to a new part. Other modernization efforts were also undertaken resulting in infrared controlled heat treat furnaces, numerically controlled (NC) machining, and so on.
As of 1985, the Medina plant is operating with 1400 employees, of whom 210 are salaried. The hourly workers are represented by two unions: United Auto Workers (UAW) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Given the age of the plant and its location, the average hourly worker at Medina already has 24 years of seniority, and many of the youngest employees have 12 years.
With its 750,000 square feet of space, the Medina plant is one of the largest domestic facilities in Geartrain. The equipment at Medina includes 1100 various kinds of machine tools, 60 of which are NC, and a chip conveyor almost half a mile long. Most of the operations are arranged in "cellular" form to expedite throughput and reduce lead time. There are over 25,000 detail drawings covering their product lines and 40,000 drawings for individual tooling layout and details. There are also over 10,000 tooling numbers supported in the facility. In 1982, the Zanesville facility was closed and its axle assembly operations moved back into Medina, making Medina a fully integrated manufacturing and assembly facility.
With the spin-off of plants over the years to handle various segments of the high-volume axle business, Medina's main product lines now fall in the area of low to medium volume drive axles and service components, including transfer cases. Current product mix is 45 percent military and 55 percent commercial, all produced to order.
Though it has no sales representatives and all design work is done at headquarters in Troy, Ohio, Medina is organized as a profit center and deals directly with customers when working on their orders. A worldwide competitor, Medina's sales currently run slightly over a quarter of a billion dollars a year. Their primary domestic competitor is Eaton and, offshore, the lapanese. Customer pressures have been toward improving quality while the product itself is becoming a commodity, thereby giving rise to cost pressure. Their capital budget of $5 million is a reflection of the recent recession, having been $13 million in 1982. A typical product's costs would break out about 66 percent for materials, 5 percent for labor, and 29 percent for burden.
In terms of responsibility, the plant is organized as shown in Figure 1. In the most recent reorganization, "Manufacturing" was combined with "Materials"
Plant manager . Fttrrest Daley
Plant manager . Fttrrest Daley
ftb into "Operations." Dave's area of responsibility, manufacturing engineering, consists of four subareas: plant engineering, maintenance, tooling, and industrial engineering. Industrial engineering (IE) consists primarily of two areas: methods and standards, the classical IE function, and project engineering, such as the FMS Retrofit.
When Dave took over as Manufacturing Engineering Manager he pulled the plant's various computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) projects together under one coordinating committee, the CIM Task Force. The aim of CIM at Medina is to improve quality, customer credibility, and productivity through advanced technology. The CIM committee includes representatives from manufacturing, industrial engineering (which also represents manufacturing engineering), materials, product engineering, data processing, and systems engineering (located in Troy, Ohio).
The task force's approach to integrating all the CIM projects is conceptually represented in Figure 2. At the top of the figure are the various areas of automation responsibility: manufacturing, engineering, and so on. Below these areas are the initial non-ClM methods for achieving each area's tasks (manual routings, etc.). Below these are the interim steps to becoming automated: material requirements planning (MRP I), and so forth. At the third level are the first islands of automation for achieving CIM: NC, computer aided design (CAD), computer aided process planning (CAPP), and manufacturing resource planning (MRP 11). The next step, indicated by the question mark, will be to figure out how to pull all these areas together so they can communicate and provide Medina with a truly computer integrated manufacturing process.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.