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To keep pace with overall market demands for cost efficiency and value and also to protect itself from fluctuating exchange rates, wing designer and manufacturer Airbus UK has introduced a programme which examines all of its processes and procedures to find productivity gains and realise cost savings by 2006.
One area where the company has seen a major improvement is stock auditing. Stock takes are notoriously hard to get a handle on and WIP [Work In Progress] counts in particular. Prior to the introduction of mobile handheld terminals, we would limit movements over a weekend and conduct a manual count. It took 20 people and 100 man-hours. With the introduction of mobile data capture technology, we have shown that a site count can be carried out in an afternoon in just 20 man-hours, with no disruption to production, said David Herbert, business improvement change agent, Airbus planning and logistics department at the companys Filton, Bristol site.
Using Symbol mobile handheld terminals for WIP audits opened up a whole new concept to us and it was quickly recognised that our Treatments facility in particular could benefit.
As you would expect from such a rigorous and safety conscious environment, Airbuss procedures are very detailed. Whilst all jobs have a process order number, traceability has always been complex in our Treatment facility. Each week we process something in the order of 30,000 parts. We have an urgent job find procedure, which previously relied upon a shop scheduler locating an urgent job by visual inspection of all process orders. In reality, this meant that someone had to manually cross-check the jobs in the treatment facility against a hardcopy shortage report, continued David Herbert.
We entered into discussions with PEAK Technologies to establish how best to address the Urgent Job Finding Procedure application and realised we needed some bespoke software to provide a feedback loop for data in and out of our SAP system.
PEAK Technologies was able to offer Airbus a bespoke software application engineered with its MCL rapid application development tool. PEAKs MCL suite of software products provides companies with the ability to develop, debug and deploy business critical Auto ID systems.
PEAKs solution, in combination with the Symbol handheld terminals, has delivered dramatic improvements throughout our urgent jobs process and is extremely simple to use. As a supplier, PEAK has proven to be flexible, reliable and understands our needs, concluded David Herbert.