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FFD Inc.

Operations

Electronic Work Instructions Help Aerospace Manufacturer Comply With Nadcap Audits

Enhanced revision control pays off in numerous ways

Published: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - 12:51

(FFD Inc.: Knoxville, TN) -- Steel Tool & Engineering, based in Trenton, Michigan, manufactures jet engine parts for the U.S. government and international aviation companies. Founded more than 60 years ago, the company and its 130 employees have built a solid reputation for delivering world-class quality, on time, at competitive prices.

In 2011, Steel Tool & Engineering integrated Sequence Work Instruction software into its own paperless routing system. Now fully unified with 4th Shift, the plant’s material requirements planning (MRP) system that tracks more than 400 part numbers, Sequence simplifies complex manual assemblies and gives Steel Tool & Engineering an easy way to author, review, approve, deploy and validate the work instructions required to build its products.

“Blending Sequence with our own software system was an easy transition,” says Ryan Grosos, Steel Tool & Engineering’s engineering manager. “We had a home-grown, static data management system that made managing revision-control history difficult. It relied on the due diligence of the sketch creators to keep up. Now that happens automatically.”

“Sequence, integrated with 4th Shift, gives Steel Tool & Engineering the ability to put the information that production personnel need to build their products right at their fingertips,” says Barry Lucas, president and CEO of Sequence.

As parts are routed down the line for assembly, production personnel electronically access the work instructions needed for their operations through an integrated interface.

“When the parts arrive at an operator’s station, they simply scan a barcode to pull up both the electronic routing and the most current version of the work instructions. This allows for complete and efficient revision control,” Grosos says.

Enhanced revision control pays off in numerous ways. Grosos says complying with audits from the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (Nadcap) verifying proper documentation has greatly improved. “We can go back to a specific date if needed,” Grosos says. “We get lots of changes from our customers that don’t always change a parts number. Now we can go back and see when we made a change and narrow it down to when those parts ship.”

Improved customer satisfaction is another byproduct of Sequence software. “Before we ship the first delivery, we have to submit a package that includes specific operational sketches,” Grosos says. “In the past, we would just do the sketches we had to in order to get approved, and go back later and finish up the rest. Now we're signing off on the entire router, and our sketch-completion for first shipments has jumped more than 75 percent.”

Today, Grosos and the Steel Tool & Engineering team are continuing the process of converting many thousands of documents and sketches, some dating back to the 1980s, to digital Sequence work instructions.

“Sequence is definitely helping us make the transition to 100-percent paperless,” Grosos says. “It forces us to do all the work that we’re supposed to do up front when we’re supposed to do it. Once it’s done, it’s done, and you can put it to bed until some changes come later.”

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About The Author

FFD Inc.’s picture

FFD Inc.

FFD Inc. originally formed in 2004 to pursue the development, marketing, and sales of Sequence Enterprise Software. Since then FFD has been helping companies that have operational problems as a result of inadequate, non-existent or onerous work instruction processes. FFD launched LockStep desktop software in February 2009 in response to global economic conditions. LockStep is designed to bridge the gap for companies that need to get started with an appropriate work instruction solution but are currently limited by either size or economics.