Friday, September 18, 2009
Boeing Co. is involved in many different sectors of the Airspace manufacturing industry. Delivering commercial airplanes, Military Aircraft, Network and Space Systems, Boeing must always be on top of its tools and inventory. For this reason Boeing uses a system called Integrated Management System. Boeing has various contracts with different suppliers such as Honeywell Aerospace and UFC Aerospace. UFC Aerospace signed an agreement on October 6, 2005 that will allow reducing maintenance-related costs of airlines significantly. This contract agreement is a part of Boeing’s Integrated Materials Management also known as IMM. This System maintains the airline’s inventory for Boeing and their suppliers. Therefore UFC provides maintenance and spare parts. The inventory management offers these supplies only as needed which is also known as lean inventory. Lean inventory reduces airline’s cost of doing business by keeping the inventory low on spare parts and other supplies. Overall Boeing‘s lean inventory will increase the quality of work and production. As Doug Davis, president of UFC mentions “UFC is committed to providing Boeing and the IMM airline customer network with a customized inventory management solution. We recognize our responsibility to Boeing and our mutual airline customers to continuously improve our integrated supply services in order to facilitate cost reductions, lean initiatives and profitability for our valued customers” (www.boeing.com).
To further improve Boeing’s lean inventory, Boeing uses a system called CribMaster. This system allows Boeing to have control and a total overlook over their tools and inventory at the locations called cribs, where airplanes and other products are assembled. The system also includes a database of crib transactions, which is “used in cribs as well as in purchasing, receiving, accounting, and other departments” (www.reliableplant.com) .This system saves Boeing a lot of time and money since inventory and tools can be traced from the vehicle in which materials or parts are transported to the department in the location where parts are being assembled. This tracking method is made possible by using RFTIDGS tags which are put on tools and inventory. These tags are all being recorded and saved in a database so workers are able to check tools in and out depending on if and where parts are being used. The CribMaster System and other similar techniques also known as real time location systems are being used in most of Boeing’s assembly locations such as the Kennedy Space Center or Apache Helicopter Center.
Overall, the benefits of using Integrated Materials Management are improved customer satisfaction, increased in spare part availability, improved work environment, and increased product quality.