CINCINNATI, Ohio, 23 Sept. 2014. Problems with cost overruns, missed deadlines, supplier quality issues, and negative Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports prompted the formation of the SAE G-23 Manufacturing Management Committee. The recognition of manufacturing and quality problems kicked off a 360-degree study led by Dr. Tom Christian, ASC/EN, describes Committee Secretary Hamid Akhbari, AFLCMC/EZSM, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (AFB), during the SAE 2014 Aerospace Systems and Technology Conference (ASTC) this week in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Akhbari’s presentation, “AS6500 Manufacturing Management Standard Brief Overview,” provided insight into the best practices and recommendations for manufacturing and quality control in the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) supply chain.
What is a 360-degree study? “We put ourselves in the middle and looked at customers, peers, commercial industry, aerospace industry – all the way around,” Akhbari describes. “We pulled the information together, and ended up with a handful of things that were actionable.”
Industry told the team the following:
- U.S. Air Force does not specify the right deliverables in their contracts
- Air Force does not use the right metrics to measure performance
- Air Force should specify proper manufacturing/quality-assurance contractual requirements
- The vast majority (70 to 80 percent) of quality-related issues come from lower-tier suppliers.
“The DOD doesn’t understand how prime [contractors] manage their suppliers,” Akhbari says, translating the final bullet point. “Without robust supplier-management policies and procedures in place, you’re going to run into problems sooner or later,”
The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) formed Gap Analysis Working Group to evaluate standardization gaps. The result: A manufacturing standard (commercial, not military) is recommended, with the goal of having prime contractors flow that requirement down through the entire supply chain, Akhbari describes.
The AS6500 standard is intended as a contractual requirement, to be included in Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and Statements of Work.
The SAE G-23 Manufacturing Management Committee is roughly 60 days away from publishing the standards document. Thus far, the draft has received positive feedback from industry, Akhbari explains.
The AS6500 standard requires three elements: manufacturing planning, design analysis for manufacturing, and manufacturing operations management. When it comes to cost, Akhbari affirms, the intention is for prime contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers to spend a little money up front to establish manufacturing consistent with AS6500, and save a lot down the road; the main issue is loss of life, preventing it and what it costs you, he adds. “AS6500 documents proven manufacturing management practices that will result in improved cost, schedule, and quality performance and more robust, reliable products for customers.”