Performing Collaborative, Distributed Systems Engineering (CDSE): Lessons Learned from CDSE Enterprises
The United States aerospace and defense budgets are shrinking, resources are scarce and requirements are more demanding; aerospace and defense enterprises are expected to deliver a more capable product in less time and with fewer resources. To achieve this tough mission, the enterprises that comprise the United States aerospace and defense industries must form strategic partnerships and collaborations to utilize their respective resources, knowledge, and expertise to meet their customers’ needs. Collaboration, be it between competing companies or within different divisions of the same company, is necessary for the survival of each company and the defense industry. In the past, United States aerospace and defense company relationships consisted mostly of a prime contractor, with sub-contractors providing a specific hardware or software subsystem, as specified by the prime contractor. Today, aerospace and defense company relationships are moving more toward that of “partners” where the previous supplier or sub-contractor for hardware or software subsystems is now sharing in the overall system design and engineering efforts. Since the partner companies and intracompany divisions are still geographically distributed throughout the United States, it is necessary for the aerospace and defense contractors to perform collaborative, distributed systems engineering (CDSE) over several geographical locations. Previous research has demonstrated that the design practices of distributed design teams differ from those of traditional, co-located teams. However, many companies today are performing CDSE using systems engineering (SE) processes and methods developed for traditional SE environments and are therefore encountering many issues. Successful SE practices are difficult to carry-out when performed by a traditional, colocated enterprise. The addition of geographic distribution and cross-company or intra-company collaboration in SE presents a myriad of social and technological challenges that necessitate new and different SE methods for success. Best practices for CDSE are currently unknown (or undocumented). In an attempt to benchmark the current state of CDSE practices in industry, this research presents the collection of CDSE lessons learned and success factors gathered from two case studies carried out at two United States aerospace and defense companies. The case studies examine many different factors that pertain to the companies’ current CDSE efforts, including collaboration scenarios; collaboration tools; knowledge and decision management; SE practices and processes; SE process improvements; SE culture; SE project management, SE organization; and SE collaboration benefits and motivation. Since the research for successful CDSE practices is in its infancy, this research also outlines key areas for future CDSE research.
Kevin Michael Myers, MS Thesis in Aeronautics and Astronautics and Master of Business Administration in Conjunction with the Leaders for Manufacturing Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 2007.
Within the Integrated Defense Systems of The Boeing Company, aftermarket support of military aircraft serves as an increasingly large source of revenue. One of the newest contracts between Boeing and the U.S. Government created such a supply partnership at the Army Rotorcraft Repair Depot in Corpus Christi, Texas. At this depot, all Army helicopters, including Boeing's AH-64 Apache Attack helicopter and CH-47 Chinook Cargo helicopter undergo major repair and overhaul. In 2004, Boeing entered an agreement with the U.S. Government to assume responsibility of the repair depot's supply chain for aftermarket parts for Boeing rotorcraft. Over the last two years, Boeing has been creating and refining Corpus Christi's support structure to ensure that the required repair parts arrive when demanded. In establishing this new supply chain, Boeing has identified numerous inefficiencies as a result of inaccurate and highly volatile forecasts. This thesis examines the impact of volatility within the new support structure and creates flexible solutions to mitigate its negative effects on lead times, multiple sources of supply and inventory management. Efforts to increase communication flow across the supply chain are used to capitalize on economies of scale for cost reduction while safety stock recommendations are made for critical end-items. Monte Carlo simulations are employed to justify and validate the solutions. The results of the thesis reveal that a strategic selection of raw material safety stock can reduce procurement lead times by an average 61% for a subset of parts while maintaining financial responsibility. Additionally, by leveraging cost reduction techniques, an average increase of 11% in Boeing's income from sales can be achieved while eliminating inefficient administrative delays and increasing customer fulfillment rates. These two recommendations demonstrate specific solutions for mitigating the effects of demand volatility and poor forecasting.
Jim Casey, MS Thesis, System Design and Management (SDM), Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 2007.
United States health care costs are rising and demand is increasing as the population ages. An already overburdened system is being squeezed more each year. Process improvements are urgently needed, and some health care professionals are looking to lean production principles for answers. Past lean health care initiatives have resulted in islands of success with limited overall impact. A lean enterprise approach that delivers value to all stakeholders and challenges current operational models can result in efficiency improvements and cost reduction while delivering a high quality of care. This study examines a single primary care practice. It is shown that an enterprise level perspective assisted health care professionals in evaluating the goals and metrics that influence their behavior. The practice was analyzed through first hand observations and data collection over a four month period. Physicians and staff were shadowed throughout their daily activities to identify waste and evaluate the impact of lean improvements. This data was supplemented with information captured via work sampling, analysis of monthly reports and metrics, and interviews and meetings with key stakeholders. It was determined that the physician productivity goal was driving dysfunctional behavior, resulting in a deteriorating work-life balance throughout the practice. The potential of this behavior to negatively impact patient satisfaction and quality care delivery also created a reason to change. Lean improvement efforts to address these issues resulted in a redesign of the patient visit schedule to allow more adequate time to address patient care, while also reducing the demand on the overworked physicians and staff. Success with the process led to the realization that medical professionals employ an approach to patient care that emulates lean enterprise principles. Diagnosing a patient complaint is analogous to investigating the cause and effect associated with wasteful processes. This characteristic of the industry, along with the short cycle times of patient care relative to lengthy processes in other industries, suggests the strong potential of health care to achieve swift improvements based on rapid experimentation, thus offering a possible proving ground for new lean enterprise approaches.
Product development is a major source of competitive advantage in the commercial aircraft business. Judiciously implementing commonality across a range of products yields important benefits in this area. Thus, measuring the quality of commonality implementation is extremely beneficial for aircraft manufacturers. This thesis analyzes the concept of commonality and divides it into three constructs that can help understand: standardization, reusability and modularity. This work presents a set of metrics to measure each of these constructs. The appropriateness of these metrics is tested in a case study of the cockpits of two well-known commercial aircraft families: the Airbus A320 family and the Boeing 737 family.
It is obvious from many studies that an alignment and understanding around vision, strategy and goals must occur within a corporation across all organizations before the corporation can operate at its highest efficiency. This becomes even more important in a “flat” organization with distributed leaders. Having this type organization allows transformation to a lean enterprise because decisions can be made at a much lower level and therefore accomplished faster. However, the leaders must know and understand the corporate vision, strategy and organizational goals, which create the context and framework for many of the decisions that will need to be made. Absent this understanding, decisions can appear disjointed, uneven and without purpose towards meeting larger corporate goals and once made, the decision may not in fact support the corporate strategy. The results of this may manifest itself in internal instability caused by leadership vision changes. Leadership vision changes as a major source of internal instability has been documented in several case studies conducted by the Labor Aerospace Research Agenda (LARA) at MIT starting in the late 1990’s. While this instability could be present under normal business circumstances, it most likely is exacerbated during a corporation’s transformation to a lean enterprise. This instability could be real (leadership vision changes frequently) or perceived (vision hasn’t changed but could be incorrectly interpreted by lower level leaders and thus the perception of change) but in either case if not properly managed could lead to a less efficient transformation and final organizational structure. Thus, a structured approach around a common framework to create a shared vision from top to bottom throughout the corporation could prevent this instability from occurring.
This thesis investigates the potential application of the Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) as a method that facilitates risk management for product architectures. The process described by Pahl & Beitz and the Munich Procedural Model form the guiding frameworks to describe the process of product development in this thesis. Additionally, the perspective of Lean Product Development is taken into account. Risks in the phase of value creation in general, and in the phase of embodiment design in particular, are identified and described. Risk Management is analyzed and existing frameworks in product development, project management, and supply chain management are compared and analyzed. The Failure Mode and Effect Analysis is discussed and its current application is presented. It is compared to the risk management frameworks and its potential application as a tool for risk management is investigated. In the Embodiment Design phase, the product architecture is elaborated. This is achieved by transforming the working principle into a physical layout according to the product specifications. The achievement of those is crucial for the later success of the product. Thus, the characteristics of this design phase are analyzed from a perspective of risk management. Twenty-four requirements for a method to manage the risk of not achieving specifications are derived. Based on these requirements, a risk management tool named Specification Risk Analysis was developed. The method follows the procedure of the FMEA and identifies, assesses, and ranks product specifications that are challenging to achieve. It avoids product deficiencies and provides a systematic approach to develop appropriate mitigation measures. Thus, the method seeks to prevent time and cost-consuming changes at a later point. The method was continuously improved by means of interviews, a pilot test, and a field study. The field study was conducted with teams from a product design course at MIT. Its objective were the application and improvement of the Specification Risk Analysis, as well as assistance for the teams regarding their key challenges. Additionally, the field study helped to evaluate the method under the perspective of value creation. Findings from the field study confirmed the benefits the method seeks to achieve.
A Life-Cycle Flexibility Framework for Designing, Evaluating and Managing “Complex” Real Options: Case Studies in Urban Transportation and Aircraft Systems
Designing a flexible system with real options is a method for managing uncertainty. This research introduces the concept of 'complex' real options, which are composed of interconnected technological, organizational and process components. 'Complex' real options differ from the 'standard' real options described in the literature in the option life-cycle activities of design, evaluation and management. To address the challenges posed by 'complex' real options, the Life-Cycle Flexibility (LCF) Framework was created. The framework addresses issues along the entire life-cycle of an option, in both technical and social system dimensions. Two case studies were considered in this research to better understand 'complex' real options and test the LCF Framework: 1) a large blended wing body aircraft in a commercial aircraft manufacturing enterprise and, 2) Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) capabilities in an urban region with multiple public and private stakeholders. For the case studies, both a quantitative and qualitative analysis was completed. System dynamics and traffic demand models were used to quantitatively evaluate flexibility for each case study. Forty interviews with practitioners were conducted to better understand the practical challenges associated with flexible systems. This research found that there are significant differences between 'standard' and 'complex' real options. In the design phase, enterprise architecture issues must be considered either as a precursor or simultaneously with the design of the option. In the evaluation stage, option valuation techniques more sophisticated than those found in the real options literature were needed to value the 'complex' real options. In the management stage, political considerations were of great importance as political opposition could prevent option exercise from occurring. Without the LCF framework, existing processes for evaluating real options are not adequate for taking into account the interacting technical, organizational and process components of 'complex' real options. In summary, this research provides new insights into the design, evaluation and management of 'complex' real options.
Fernando Espinosa Vasconcelos, MS Thesis, System Design and Management (SDM), Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, May 2007.
Architectural innovation is achieved using architectural knowledge to reconfigure an established system to link together components in a new way that provides a competitive advantage. Components in professional service firms are the expertise areas in which the firms have developed proficiency or those in which they plan to develop it. Competitive advantage in professional service firms is related to the capacity of the firm to add continuing value to a dynamic set of clients and to itself. In order to add value, professional service firms, being knowledge intensive, must develop capabilities that enhance the knowledge capital they possess, which is valuable to both its clients and to the professionals they employ. This knowledge capital can be classified into Human Knowledge, Relational Knowledge and Structural Knowledge. The first two types are comprised mainly of tacit knowledge, while the third one consists of explicit knowledge. Architectural innovation modes result from the reconfiguration of these knowledge types in ways that enhance the value creation processes of professional service firms. This work explores the ways professional services firms achieve these reconfigurations and offers insights into the key characteristics of successful practices.
Evaluation and Synthesis of Methods for Measuring System Engineering Efficacy within a Project and Organization
Timothy Daniel Flynn, MS Thesis, System Design and Management (SDM), Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, February 2007.
The need for robust systems engineering in product development has been understood by those developing product in the aerospace and defense industries since the days of the Atlas ballistic missile program. In recent times industries developing systems of similar complexity have come to respect the value of systems engineering. Systems engineering is the glue which binds a large technical team and focuses the engineering effort towards satisfying a set of realizable customer needs. EIA/IS-632 definition of systems engineering is as follows; "Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary approach encompassing the entire technical effort to evolve and verify an integrated and life-cycle balanced set of system people, product and process solutions that satisfy customer needs." To control and improve a process a viable set of measures must be in place. Existing measures of the strength of the systems engineering process in a specific project address only project execution (e.g. earned value) and technical performance. When applied properly these metrics provide valuable insight into the status (cost and schedule) of a project and a products ability to meet customer needs. However, few of these existing measures are progressive in nature and as such fail to provide early warnings of systems engineering process failure. What are needed are prognostics for the systems engineering effort; gauges to provide predictions of future events which impact product cost, schedule and/or performance. The Lean Aerospace Initiative (LAI), working with the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), released a guide (in Beta form) in December of 2005 outlining a progressive set of thirteen leading indicators to address this need. This set of metrics has yet to be been verified against
Developing a Boundary Object Model to Analyze Communication Interfaces: Applications for System Integrators
Allan Fong, MS Thesis, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, August 2007.
Physical information is transferred between technical systems through wires, beams, and other physical attributes, while more intangible information is typically transferred between communities of people through artifacts such as documents, e-mails, etc. This research attempts to characterize these communication interfaces better by analyzing the use of artifacts at these interfaces by means of a boundary object attribute model. Boundary objects, the metric of analysis of this thesis, are artifacts used to bridge information and knowledge gaps between different communities of practice. The US Army’s Future Combat System (FCS) was chosen as a case study primarily because of its complex programmatic characteristics. The information gathered in the FCS case study was combined with knowledge from previous boundary object literature to generate an attributes model. Once developed, the boundary object attributes model was validated on the US Air Force Transformational Communications Satellite System (TSAT) program focusing specifically on the TSAT Mission Operations System (TMOS) segment of the program. Data were collected on the frequency and type of resources used to understand information and the dependencies that individuals have with each other for documented information. Furthermore, five communication artifacts were critiqued for their effectiveness as boundary objects. Statistical tests were conducted to highlight trends in resource dependencies and attributes common in effective boundary objects. An implication of this research is that the most important attributes for a boundary object are inclusivity, traceability, and synchronization. This research also found that people generally tend to rely much more on other people for information than artifacts. This introduces problems of exhausting valuable human resources and creating unnecessary bottlenecks. A second implication of this research is that spending the extra time and effort to design artifacts with high inclusivity and freshness will add significant value to the overall system. In addition, a third implication of this research is that having the right boundary objects alone is not enough for effective collaborative interfaces. A fourth implication of this research is that designing a boundary object whose form follows its function is critical for its effectiveness. These suggestions can provide relief to a program highly taxing to its human resources and reduce transaction costs of the overall system. Furthermore, this model may be extended for the purpose of determining the roles and responsibilities of system integrators.
Ken Huang, MS Thesis, System Design and Management (SDM), Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, February 2007.
Ever since the introduction of the Internet in 1994, one of the defining characteristics of the global economy, particularly in the US, is a dramatic increase in expenditures on Information Technology. While this trend is expected to continue, a major issue for companies of all sizes is the manner in which precise forecasting of future IT cost may be undertaken. The present thesis investigates the possibility that a set of the essential deterministic cost drivers with varying weighted factors may prove capable of estimating total IT infrastructure costs. An online questionnaire was developed for this purpose, and was used to survey senior IT leadership teams. The data collected from this survey was then computed with Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) to illustrate the relative importance of different cost drivers. The study revealed three primary findings. First, that a set of essential deterministic cost drivers with varying weighted factors could be used as a general tool for estimating the total cost of IT infrastructure. Second, these different sectors prioritize cost drivers differently from each other. In the Financial Services sector, for instance, the security of the IT network was reported to be of greater importance than the service call response time. In the Technology sector, however, the opposite was true. Third, numerous correlations were found to exist within each cost driver category defined. The correlated nature of these cost parameters may mean that a more parsimonious model may be more predictive of total IT infrastructure costs. It is hoped that these findings may be of benefit to a variety of large and small commercial and government entities, which may be able to use the predictive cost drivers to help eliminate problems related to inaccurate IT cost estimates. It is believed that the cost model proposed may be applicable across a variety of economic sectors. In this thesis, its applicability is demonstrated within the financial services and technology sectors. Future research may be useful in evaluating the model further, by increasing the sample size, and by testing the reliability and validity of the cost model within additional economic sectors.
Symbiotic Strategies in Enterprise Ecology: Modeling Commercial Aviation as an Enterprise of Enterprises
Sgouris P. Sgouridis, PhD Thesis, Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, September 2007.
We investigate the effectiveness of strategic alternatives that are designed to dampen the cyclicality manifest in the commercial aviation (CA)-related industries. In this research we introduce the conceptual framework of Enterprise of Enterprises (EoE) as an extension and special case of a System of Systems, to facilitate the design of strategic alternatives in an enterprise ecosystem characterized by loosely coupled enterprises. The constituent enterprises in an EoE exhibit managerial and operational independence and have diverse value functions that are often viewed by the enterprises as zero-sum games. We argue that this may not always be the case; for example, in the CA EoE both airline and airframe manufacturers constituents would benefit from a steadier influx of aircraft that counters the current situation that is characterized by relatively stable demand growth rate for air travel while airline profitability and aircraft ordering fluctuate intensely. A strategic alternative geared towards this EoE-wide desired state is “symbiotic”. In order to identify such strategies, we use the EoE framework to analyze the CA-related industries and to specify their local value functions and the salient interfaces among them based on an extensive review of the literature on commercial aviation. We develop working hypotheses about the driving mechanisms of the cycle in the CA EoE informed by the literature on economywide and supply chain cyclicality. To test these hypotheses, we extend a system dynamics model of commercial aviation. After testing several individual strategic alternatives, we find that capacity management is key to cycle moderation. We then compare two diverse, non-collusive ways for capacity management: faster aircraft deliveries and semi-fixed production schedules generated by long-term forecasts. While both are promising, only the latter alternative is shown to be Pareto optimal. We also examine the potential synergistic effects from combining more than one strategic alternatives for which we also discuss implementation implications. The EoE framework and some of our findings can be applicable and generalizable to other industries facing intense cyclical behavior.
A Comparative Analysis of Supply Chain Management Practices by Boeing and Airbus: Long-term Strategic Implications
Tzu-Ching Horng, MS Thesis in Transportation Systems, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, February 2007.
The goal of this research is to develop an improved understanding of supply chain management strategies and practices being pursued by Boeing and Airbus in the 787 Dreamliner and the A380 Navigator programs, respectively, and to identify their long-term strategic implications for supply chain management in the future. The research takes as its point of departure a review and synthesis of supply chain management principles and practices, with particular emphasis on lean supply chain management concepts. Guided by this review, the research focuses on the common set of suppliers supporting both programs and employs a questionnaire survey, followed by telephone interviews with representatives of selected suppliers. The research also makes extensive use of the open source information on both companies, on both programs and on the common suppliers. A major finding is that Boeing's new supply chain model in the 787 program represents a significant break with past practices in the aerospace industry, allowing major partnering suppliers an unprecedented role in terms of design, development, production and after-market support, where they are integrated early in the concept development stage and are incentivized to collaborate with Boeing, as well as among themselves, as risk-sharing partners with deep responsibility for system integration, involving detailed interface control at the system and subsystem levels. Airbus, as well, is found to rely heavily on its major suppliers in connection with the A380 program, but acting as the primary system integrator in the more traditional mode and exercising much greater control of all design interfaces. Also, both Boeing and Airbus have been outsourcing more and more activities to suppliers located in non-traditional regions, such as Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Finally, aerospace manufacturers, in general, are aggressively adopting information technologies (e.g., EDI, PLM, 3-D Digital Model, RFID) to facilitate greater data sharing and communications with their partners and lower-tier suppliers dispersed in many geographical regions, as part of a broader trend involving more collaborative supplier relationships reaching down to the subtier level.
Qualitative Knowledge Construction for Engineering Systems: Extending the Design Structure Matrix Methodology in Scope and Procedure
Jason E. Bartolomei, PhD Thesis, Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 2007.
This thesis presents a new modeling framework and research methodology for the study of engineering systems. The thesis begins with a formal conceptualization of Engineering Systems based upon a synthesis of various literatures. Using this conceptualization, a new modeling framework is presented called the Engineering Systems Matrix (ESM). The ESM is an improvement to existing system-level modeling frameworks, such as the Design Structure Matrix (DSM), by providing a dynamic, end-to-end representation of an engineering system. In support of this contribution, a new research methodology is presented called Qualitative Knowledge Construction (QKC). QKC can be thought of as a Bayesian-type approach to grounded theory. The methodology integrates qualitative social science with quantitative methods by developing a procedure for translating textual reports of observations, interview transcripts, system documentation, and figures into coded data represented in the ESM. The thesis develops the ESM framework and the QKC methodology in the context of a real world engineering system, a US Air Force miniature uninhabited air vehicle (MAV) product development system.
Tejaswini Hebalkar, M.B.A. and S.M. Thesis, Sloan School of Management and the Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 2007.
With customer satisfaction and lifecycle product quality becoming a competitive advantage, technology companies are motivated to look beyond their historical focus on forward supply chain management. Operational excellence in customer returns management, failure analysis, and closed loop corrective action is taking on an increasingly important role as companies strive to improve their business processes, policies and supply chains to achieve a world-class leadership position in their industry. In the competitive high-tech industry, companies face a number of challenges in managing customer returns and re-architecting their failure analysis supply chains to support a closed loop corrective action approach to product quality. Supporting globally distributed customers through a diverse network of outsourced manufacturing, repair, failure analysis and logistics partners increases the complexity of the supply chain architecting problem. This thesis proposes a holistic enterprise architecting approach, including governance, process, network design, organization, enabling technology, and performance management elements that should be considered when re-architecting the failure analysis supply chain. During this process, strategic decisions need to be made regarding supply chain designs that are aligned with the vision of the enterprise. Operations managers and leaders can use data-driven, collaborative approaches supported by decision support tools like the “Decision Model for Failure Analysis Supply Chain” to align decisions with customer value and stakeholders’ needs. Implementing changes based on these strategic decisions requires understanding organizational dynamics within the enterprise. An understanding of the “frame of reference” that guides decision makers can help address implementation challenges. In addition, communication, training and alignment of incentives across functional groups to encourage collaboration can allow enterprises to make strategic decisions that are successfully implemented. The strategies proposed in this thesis are intended to aid managers in making monumental changes to their “reverse” operations and exceeding customer expectations.
Billy S. Lo, M.B.A. and S.M. Thesis, Sloan School of Management and the Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 2007.
Strategic inventory management has become a major focus for Honeywell Aerospace as the business unit challenged itself to meeting cost reduction goals while maintaining a high level of service to its customers. This challenge has become particularly important as customers have steered their purchase decisions from focusing only on capability and quality to including cost performance as well. To do so, Honeywell Aerospace's Planning and Asset Management group is undertaking a three-year effort to re-engineer its inventory planning systems with the goal of increasing planner productivity, improving supply chain responsiveness, and reducing overall inventory. This internship forms the building blocks of this strategy by leveraging existing software available in the industry and applying it to Honeywell's supply chain. Through two pilot programs with different supply chain designs, this internship analyzed the cost and benefit of transforming the company's inventory management strategy. In addition, this internship attempts to identify the challenges associated with such an enormous change, compare them with challenges with implementation in other industries in order to prepare management for full implementation across all product lines. These challenges range from leadership buy-in and information readiness to implementation feasibility both within Honeywell manufacturing and its suppliers.
Christopher Vernon Porter, M.B.A. and S.M. Thesis, Sloan School of Management and the Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 2007.
Since the 1980s, the pace and dollar value of acquisitions in the US have grown at an astounding rate (Hitt, Sirower). The benefits from many of these acquisitions are elusive, with 60% of recent acquisitions showing negative return for the acquiring company (Hitt et. all, 5). Expected synergies are not realized despite the valiant efforts of the integration team who struggle with implementing the plans developed prior to deal close. Correlations can be drawn to the field of systems engineering, where specific processes and tools are employed to understand the interactions of various functional areas and avoid such implementation difficulties. Enterprise Architecting (EA) is one such framework that has shown promise in analyzing complex enterprises. Results: The thesis shows that all currently analyzed aspects of a potential acquisition are evaluated if the EA framework is used. It also shows that enough information is available prior to closing to use the EA framework to understand the potential enterprise. Further, it shows that the EA framework is flexible enough to accommodate the unique aspects of an acquisition analysis. Finally, the thesis shows a definite qualitative benefit from applying the EA framework. Despite the fact that one of the aspects of the hypothesis was not met, EA is still a valid and beneficial framework to apply to the acquisition process. It provides a sound process framework that should be used to design and implement robust acquisition analysis processes. This will enable greater process efficiency, quality, and consistency.
Matthew J. Ward,M.B.A. and S.M. Thesis, Sloan School of Management and the Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 2007.
Intel's Colorado Springs wafer fabrication facility, known internally as F23, has undertaken several initiatives to reduce cycle time including High Precision Maintenance (HPM), content reduction through the application of Manufacturing Excellence (mX), effective utilization of production equipment, and aggressive inventory control. Each of these efforts has contributed to the marked improvement F23 achieved throughout 2006. F23's cycle time efficiency, the ratio of raw process cycle time to actual fab cycle time, improved from 12% (worst amongst Intel facilities) to greater than 35% (best amongst sites), and overall cycle time was reduced by more than 61% in 2006. Inventory control was found to have a major impact on factory cycle time and performance. F23 controls its factory work-in-process, WIP, inventory through the F23 Wafer Starts Protocol. F23 utilizes Little's Law (Cycle Time = Inventory / Output) to identify target WIP inventory levels required to achieve particular cycle time goals. The target inventory is then achieved by modulating wafer starts. To do this, the Wafer Starts Protocol monitors the inventory of the overall fab and the constraint operations and suggests the amount of wafers to start for each shift. Maintaining the target inventory level drives the overall factory cycle time towards the cycle time goal. Using the starts protocol, F23 has reduced its inventory by 44% while ramping factory output. During the implementation of this wafer starts protocol, F23 began tracking a new inventory metric to determine factory performance. Critical WIP ratio was introduced to evaluate the factory's inventory relative to the theoretical minimum inventory based upon a given factory output level and raw process time. F23 also found that this metric provides an effective comparison of inventory level between fabs. The Fab23 Wafer Starts Protocol is one of the ways in which F23 has applied Manufacturing Science tactics and principles to drive cycle time improvements. F23 has found that inventory control can have significant impacts on factory cycle time. This is one of the reasons why F23 was able to achieve dramatic cycle time improvement.
Re-Architecting the Battalion Tactical Operations Center: Transitioning to Network Centric Operations
Nathan A. Minami, S.M. Thesis, System Design and Management (SDM), Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, February 2007.
As the Army conducts transformation in the midst of an ongoing information driven Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) and the War on Terror, it has realized the need to develop leaner, more agile, versatile and deployable forces. As part of its latest transformation to Brigade “Units of Action,” the Army realized the need to improve the “tooth to tail” ratio of its forces and transferred from a Cold War “Divisional” force structure to one focused around more deployable and sustainable Brigade Units of Action. Ironically, this transformation to what is suppose to become a more lean and deployable force structure has produced larger and more heavily staffed battalion, brigade and division command posts. Despite introduction of the Army Battle Command System (ABCS), a system of digital systems that are intended to help speed up the Army’s ability to transfer information, improve situational awareness, make decisions, and out “OODA” (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act) its opponents, in many aspects the Army has actually taken a step backwards. The end result is that these larger command posts are becoming more hierarchical and bureaucratic, and are reducing the Army’s ability to get ahead of the enemy’s decision cycle. Platoon Leaders and Company Commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan constantly lament that “if they only had the information they needed 48 hours earlier,” they could have captured the target. This study examines one small aspect of this tremendous problem, the architecture of the Battalion Tactical Operations Center (TOC). It analyzes the current information revolution, the contemporary operating environment, network centric warfare, other emerging Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) concepts, and the current Battalion TOC configuration and doctrine. It then applies System Dynamics techniques and develops a set of heuristics to address the problem. The ultimate goal of this study is to develop a practical concept for an improved organization, structure and function of the command post.
Carin H. Chan, M.B.A. and S.M. Thesis, Sloan School of Management and the Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 2007.
Amazon.com is a publicly-held company headquartered in Seattle, Washington. It revolutionized the retail industry by being one of the first major companies to sell goods over the Internet. It is an international company servicing countries throughout the world with goods ranging from books to jewelry. Amazon.com fulfils its customers' orders through a series of fulfillment centers throughout the United States. The goal of this thesis is to present a framework for testing and validating off-peak demand allocation strategies. Using Amazon.com as a primary study, this framework explores variable cost and transportation cost for the retail industry. The Amazon.com organization is discussed. Then a presentation on variable cost and transportation cost is introduced. A model is then introduced that ties variable and transportation costs together. This thesis concludes with a discussion on labor and transportation improvements implemented by other companies.
Subhrangshu Datta, M.B.A. and S.M. Thesis, Sloan School of Management and the Engineering Systems Division, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 2007.
This thesis is based on the author's experience as an intern at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The Broad Institute has been working on applying and implementing traditional manufacturing process improvement tools to customize and select tools that can be adapted to its needs. Its unique production environment necessitates the requirement to customize and select tools that can be adapted to its needs. The objective of the thesis is to identify such tools and recommend methods to sustain them. The scope includes the following:
- Conduct a benchmarking survey to understand what other organizations are doing in the area.
- Conduct a stakeholder analysis involving relevant team members in Sequencing Operations.
- Design a system that brings together the lessons learnt fiom the benchmarking and stakeholder analysis exercises.
- Conduct a project to showcase some of the tools. The objective of the project is to identify key process levers and improve the performance of the Duncan Cycler, a key DNA processing step. This problem solving exercise acts as a proxy for situations where tools recommended by the program can be used.
Nicolas Dulac, Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 2007.
Almost all traditional hazard analysis or risk assessment techniques, such as failure modes and effect analysis (FMEA), fault tree analysis (FTA), and probabilistic risk analysis (PRA) rely on a chain-of-event paradigm of accident causation. Event-based techniques have some limitations for the study of modem engineering systems. Specifically, they are not suited to handle complex software-intensive systems, complex human-machine interactions, and systems-of-systems with distributed decision-making that cut across both physical and organizational boundaries.
STAMP (System-Theoretic Accident Model and Processes) is a comprehensive accident model created by Nancy Leveson that is based on systems theory. It draws on concepts from engineering, mathematics, cognitive and social psychology, organizational theory, political science, and economics. The general notion in STAMP is that accidents result from inadequate enforcement of safety constraints in design, development, and operation. STAMP includes traditional failure-based models as a subset, but goes beyond physical failures to include causal factors involving dysfunctional interactions among non-failing components; software and logic design errors; errors in complex human decision-making; various organizational characteristics such as workforce, safety processes and standards, contracting; and other managerial, social, organizational, and cultural factors.
The main contribution of this thesis is the augmentation of STAMP with a dynamic executable modeling framework in order to further improve safety in the development and operation of complex engineering systems. This executable modeling framework: 1) enables the dynamic analysis of safety-related decision-making in complex systems, 2) assists with the design and testing of non-intuitive policies and processes to better mitigate risks and prevent time-dependent risk increase, and 3) enables the identification of technical and organizational factors to detect and monitor states of increasing risk before an accident occurs.
The modeling framework is created by combining STAMP safety control structures with system dynamic modeling principles. A component-based model-building methodology is proposed to facilitate the building of customized STAMP-based dynamic risk management models and make them accessible to managers and engineers with limited simulation experience. A library of generic executable components is provided as a basis for model creation, refinement, and validation. A toolset is assembled to identify risk increase patterns, analyze time-dependent risks, assist engineers and managers in safety-related decisionmaking, create and test risk mitigation actions and policies, and monitor the system for states of increasing risk.
The usefulness of the new framework is demonstrated in two independent projects: 1) A risk analysis of the NASA Independent Technical Authority (ITA), an organization mandated by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) to provide independent safety oversight of space shuttle operations, and 2) A risk management study for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) at NASA. For these two projects, model refinement, validation and analysis required extensive data collection and interactions with NASA workforce. Over 45 interviews were conducted at five NASA centers (HQ, MSFC, KSC, JSC, and LaRC). Interviewees included representatives from the Office of the Administrator, the Office of the Chief Engineer, the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, ESMD Directorate Offices, Program/Project Offices, and many others. Among other data sources, 200 pages of interview transcripts were compiled and used for model creation and validation activities. Specific risks analyzed include: 1) NASA workforce and knowledge management issues, 2) the impact of various levels of outsourcing, 3) the impact of safety priority on design, and 4) the impact of requirements change on safety and schedule during development.