The purpose of the process improvement plan is to document how the reject team will analyze various processes, determine where improvements can be made, and implement improvement measures. Like a large part of project management methodology, process improvement is an iterative process that is performed throughout the project’s lifetime. The COAX Cable project was initiated by BITS Tech in order to develop a new coaxial cable product capable of delivering high-definition picture and sound quality for residential use.
This project includes the development of the cable product as well as the manufacturing process required to produce the product. The COAX Cable process improvement plan describes how the manufacturing processes will be analyzed in order to continually monitor and improve production efforts. The process improvement plan will be followed iteratively throughout the project’s lifestyle and includes all processes involved with the manufacturing of the COAX Cable. The process improvement plan lays out the necessary steps to identify, measure, and implement the necessary process improvements for the COAX Cable product.
Process Boundaries Process boundaries must be identified as part of the process improvement plan. This establishes where each process begins and ends as well as what the recess inputs and outputs are. Additionally, there must be accountability for each process with a process owner assigned who is responsible for overseeing process improvement measures. Boundaries are important to ensure that the work being done to improve the process falls within the boundaries and not outside of the process which would result in extraneous work with no impact on the process.
The COAX Cable Project consists of two processes which comprise the overall manufacturing process: cable stranding and cable casketing. Cable stranding consists of the stranding of the internal metallic cable element with protective Several fibers in order to improve cable tensile strength. Cable casketing consists of casketing the stranded core with an extruded polyethylene cover in order to protect the internal cable structure from environmental effects and ensure the transmission of data signals.
As part of the process improvement plan the stranding and casketing process boundaries have been established below: Stranding: Start – the stranding process starts immediately upon an order being placed for material from the operations manager Completion – the stranding process is complete once the stranded core (of pre-determined length) has been built and pooled on a cable reel and moved to the holding area Inputs – the inputs for the stranding process are: core length (based on order), materials, written work order, and user defined inputs on the stranding machine Outputs – the outputs for the stranding process are: a stranded core on a cable reel (of pre-determined length), and an acknowledged work authorization from the stranding machine technician Data Required – the data required for the stranding process is: total cable length, finished cable diameter, and core material types Process Owner – the stranding process owner is J. Green, Senior Process Technology Engineer Casketing: Start – the casketing process starts immediately upon receipt of a stranded cable core from the receiving area.
Completion – the casketing process is complete once the stranded core is jacketed, spooled on a cable reel, and sent to the finished cable holding area Inputs – the inputs for the casketing process are: a stranded cable core and an acknowledged work authorization from the stranding machine technician (which includes all casketing material specifications) Outputs – the outputs of the casketing process are: a jacketed (completed) COAX Cable with a specification chart and acknowledged work authorization from the casketing nine technician Data Required – the data required for the casketing process is: extrusion temperature, cooling trough temperature, material specifications, total cable length, finished cable diameter, and jacket print specifications Process Owner – the casketing process owner is B. White, Process Technology Engineer Process Configuration Process configuration is an illustrated and/or graphical depiction of the project’s processes. By presenting the process configurations in this manner, the project team has the ability to visualize the processes which can be helpful in facilitating analysis, identifying area where the processes are weak, and determining ways the processes may be improved throughout the project. It is important to note that like all other project documentation, as changes are made to the processes, the configurations must be updated.
BITS Tech has modeled its initial COAX Cable manufacturing processes on existing processes currently is use for other cable products and families. The process improvement plan for this project provides BITS Tech with an opportunity to analyze and improve the cable manufacturing process for COAX Cable which, ultimately, may result in process improvements for all BITS Tech cable products. The project team will utilize the stranding and casketing process configurations, in conjunction with process metrics, to conduct process analyses, determine potential areas for improvement, and implement improvement measures. To do this, the team will follow the processes as planned during initial cable runs in order to verify process boundaries and gather metrics.
As the team identifies potential process areas of improvement, adjustments will be made and the modified process will be run to validate the process and to gather additional trice for comparison. Stranding Process Configuration: Casketing Process Configuration: Process Metrics Metrics are an extremely important part of process improvement and project quality. A metric is a measure or measures which allow the project team to assess various performance parameters of a given process. These measures allow the team to continuously monitor, measure, and track a process’s performance in order to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the process. The team must ensure that metrics are based on the project or customer requirements to ensure project quality.
The metrics must also be eased on what comprises an acceptable measurement as well as control limits within which acceptable measurements may fall. Process metrics and control limits will be used, in conjunction with process configuration, to guide the process improvement efforts for the COAX Cable project. Since the stranding and casketing processes for COAX Cable are based on the processes for other cable families, the metrics, acceptable values, and control limits are known. However, as part of the COAX Cable process improvement plan, the project team will iteratively analyze the process configurations, metrics, and assured values in order to implement a cycle of continuous improvement.
The existing metrics, values, and control limits are based on industry-wide customer requirements for cost and performance. Metric Acceptable Mean Value Upper Control Limit Lower Control Limit Core material waste 5% Stranding time per linear km 35 minutes 40 minutes 32 minutes Time from material ordered to line ready 45 minutes 55 minutes Jacketed cable waste 13% Casketing time per linear km 46 minutes 37 minutes Time from receipt of stranded core to line ready 26 minutes 23 minutes Measurements for each metric will be taken for every iteration of a stranding and casketing for a trial COAX Cable. These measurements will be plotted on a control chart in order to ensure that process parameters fall within the acceptable range.
As the process is validated for this new product and the values normalize, the project team will use the metrics and process configurations to determine areas within the processes where improvements can be made. As adjustments to the processes are made, the team will continue to track the metrics in order to validate any improvements to the process and for updates or changes to project documentation. Targets for Improved Performance In order to effectively improve a process a project team needs a thorough understanding of where there processes currently are, as well as where they want to be at the end of the project. While processes may fall within the acceptable control limits, building quality management into the project plan requires continuous improvement throughout the project’s duration.
To drive this cycle of continuous improvement, the project team needs to establish targets for each specific metric. These targets should be specific, measurable, and achievable. The COAX Cable project team has developed targets for improved performance n each of the metrics for both the stranding and casketing processes. These metrics are based on existing BITS Tech metrics for all other cable products and families. However, this project provides an opportunity to improve these processes which may potentially result in significant savings for cost and time for COAX Cable as well as all other BITS Tech cable products. The charts below provide the COAX Cable stranding and casketing process metrics with both the current values and target values.