To provide members with an understanding of how they compare with their competitors, and to provide members with process improvement suggestions, CALCE offers electronic parts selection and management benchmarking services to its membership. In 1998-2001, benchmarking services were provided to Nortel Networks, Lucas Aerospace, Microsoft Corporation, and Schlumberger.
The CALCE benchmarking services begin with a series of interviews with key people in the organization. The interview flow is guided by a well established list of questions that CALCE developed for each of the focus areas presented in the figure below.
The information obtained during the interviews is combined to create a picture of the current state of practice at the company. This is then compared to the best-in-class methodology developed at CALCE. Current states of practice at other companies as well as process strengths are identified, and process improvement suggestions are provided in the final report.
The "risk informed" methodology employed by CALCE is an "eyes-on, hands-off" approach to parts selection and management which enables companies to:
- employ risk assessment and mitigation techniques to address technology insertion;
- organize and conduct the fact-finding processes necessary to improve part quality, integrity, application-specific reliability and cost effectiveness;
- make an informed company-wide decision about parts selection and management, based upon company resources, policies, culture, goals, and customer demands;
- choose parts that match the functional requirements of the product; satisfy system, assembly and design level constraints, and match subsequent manufacturing and handling requirements;
- understand and evaluate the "micro-environments" the part sees within a systems life cycle, and thereby choose the most appropriate technique to fit the part to its intended environmental requirements;
- maximize system supportability by preparing for and meeting the challenge of parts becoming obsolete during system life; and
- improve supply-chain interactions and communications with regulatory agencies in order to minimize time to profit.
NORTEL NETWORKS - A two-phase parts selection and management benchmarking activity was completed with Nortel Networks in January 1999. Phase one was conducted to assess Nortel's manufacturer quality and part quality and integrity assessment process. CALCE personnel spent three days with Nortel's component engineers in August 1998, conducting interviews and documenting Nortel's strengths and weaknesses. Part two of the benchmarking activity was conducted to assess Nortel's application specific reliability and assembly processes. CALCE personnel spent three days with Nortel's engineers in December, 1998, again conducting interviews. A report documenting the findings of the benchmarking activity and providing process improvement recommendations was provided to Nortel.
LUCAS AEROSPACE - In June 1999, CALCE personnel spent three days with Lucas' engineers in Birmingham, England, conducting interviews and documenting the strengths and weaknesses of Lucas' parts selection and management processes. As a result of the interviews and internal Lucas document reviews, Lucas parts selection and management process was benchmarked with respect to other companies in the industry. In addition, various process improvement suggestions were offered. The results were presented to Lucas in a final report.
MICROSOFT CORPORATION - In November 1999, CALCE personnel spent three days at Microsoft engineers conducting interviews and documenting the strengths and weaknesses of Microsoft's approach to parts selection and management. Microsoft's products are high-volume and time-to-market driven creating a culture where product groups operate autonomously. The results of this analysis are being combined with supply chain management analysis to identify the highest return-on-investment opportunities for implementing parts selection and management processes at Microsoft.
SCHLUMBERGER SUGAR LAND PRODUCTS CENTER - In August 2001, CALCE personnel spent two and half days with Schlumberger ngineers in Sugar Land, TX, conducting interviews and documenting the strengths and weaknesses of Schlumbergers part obsolescence management, and parts selection and management processes. The harsh environments (high vibration and temperature) encountered within oil wells during drilling and exploration activities make proactive parts management (thermal uprating, qualification, and obsolescence forecasting) a critical element of the electronic system design process. Schlumberger's parts selection and management process was benchmarked with respect to other companies building high-reliability systems. In addition, various process improvement suggestions were offered. The results were presented to Schlumberger in a final report.