Case Study 2-04311
Standardized work reaps benefits
By creating standardized work instructions for all operations on a key
machining line, IET helped its client avoid the typical production inefficiencies
associated with new operators and new equipment.
GM Powertrain, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, designs and
manufactures castings, engines and transmissions.
General Motors’ management anticipated major changes in its workforce and,
in some cases, process equipment over the next several years. Numerous
operators with 30-plus years’ experience would be leaving with invaluable
information about their machines and work methods undocumented. New
equipment was being brought on-line. Production was sure to suffer if workers
who were new to an operation would have to learn from scratch with no
benefit from the experience of those who came before them. Rather than face
those prospects, the company chose to capture essential knowledge about
these operations before the people who possessed the knowledge were no
IET’s engineers focused their efforts on the Gen III/IV Engine Block Machining
Line at the GM Powertrain facility in Livonia, MI. This machining line consisted
of 22 operations, many of which were being upgraded with new equipment.
The engineers interviewed operators, controls engineers and machine installers
to glean essential facts about how to run every operation (e.g., equipment
start-up/shutdown, troubleshooting, tool change, etc…), and they observed
these operations in production mode for themselves. In addition, they
referenced relevant information from equipment manufacturers. Combining
existing documentation with their own direct observations and interview results,
IET’s team of engineers created work instructions that were both easy to
understand and helpful in running the operation. When the project ended, IET
had written, verified and validated over 3000 pages of standardized work for
five major machine types along with detailed gauging instructions.
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