DRS Technologies/ DRS C3 Aviation, headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, is a leading supplier of integrated products, services and support to military forces, intelligence agencies and prime contractors worldwide. Focused on defense technology, the Company develops, manufactures and supports a broad range of systems for mission critical and military sustainment requirements, as well as homeland security.
DRS C3 Aviation’s market is highly competitive. In order for DRS to maintain its leadership positive in its market space, the company wanted to improve its operations to become more efficient. Having worked with NJMEP on other projects DRS asked them for assistance.
First, to determine DRS’s needs, NJMEP conducted a Lean Opportunity Assessment to identify areas for improvement within its plant. The evaluation determined DRS was an excellent candidate for implementing Lean Methodology.
To begin the process of transforming DRS to a lean manufacturer, NJMEP conducted a workshop introducing lean concepts. A Lean Enterprise Transformation is a four-stage process: Opportunity Identification, Solution Design, Implementation and Continuous Improvement. The “Principles of Lean Manufacturing with Live Simulation” workshop provides the training required to lay the groundwork for stage two, Solution Design.
The eight-hour workshop combines a comprehensive classroom presentation with hands-on simulation of a production facility to demonstrate the tools and methodology necessary to implement “lean” on the shop floor.
The objective of the workshop—provide participants with an understanding of the eight wastes in manufacturing and show them how to improve productivity by applying standard work, visual controls, set-up reduction, batch size reduction, point-of-use storage, quality at the source, pull systems and more. The result, participants understand need for and the requirements to implement a lean transition.
Once the workshop was complete, stage two, solution design began. Solution design uses Value Stream Mapping (VSM) to identify “bottlenecks” in the manufacturing process and eliminate them to create a “Future State” where deterrents for efficiency are eliminated. The approach, which includes visually depicting material and information flows through the operation, is highly successful in determining where the greatest opportunities for improvement are, and in creating an implementation plan with measurable impact.
The “Principles of Lean Manufacturing with Live Simulation” workshop and Value Stream Mapping of the DRS operations enabled the company to successfully launch its Lean initiative.
The company proceeded with its transition applying 5S, Cellular / Flow Manufacturing, Pull / Kanban Kaizens—a method for achieving continuous incremental improvement, to achieve results. In total NJMEP conducted thirty-nine days of lean assistance.
After completing the Lean Implementation Assistance projects, DRS reported, in its NIST survey, that they saw a $1,500,000 increase in sales, retained 4,000,000 in sales that may have been lost and realized a cost savings of $450,000.
Peter Connolly, the Vice President, General Manager of DRS C3 Aviation Company, recently noted, “DRS recently completed a Lean Implementation Assistance project with NJMEP. The focus of the project was to help drive continuous improvement and apply the Lean methodology throughout the organization. We found the training to be so beneficial that we applied for a NJ Dept of Labor Customized Training grant, with the assistance of NJMEP, in order to continue these efforts. With a more productive and efficient workforce, we expect to continue to grow our business and remain competitive in our marketplace.”