Ericsson's telecom equipment product range have increased considerably the last 10-15 years. Meanwhile, the lifetime of each product has shortened. This, combined with a global manufacturing organization with the highest quality standards, is a major challenge for the functions of preparation and assembly to develop and maintain high standard work instructions.
Anders Johnson and Andreas Andersson at Ericsson have developed a method they call Modular Preparation. With this method Ericsson has streamlined the preparation process, so far resulting in a preparation time reduction of about 85%. An even more important result is that each assembler gets a variant unique, updated work instruction in the language he prefers.
The reduced quality cost that stems from the improved working instructions, is difficult to estimate but is considered to be significant.
The method is being implemented on the sites in Kumla, Kista, Tallinn, Nanjing, São José dos Campos and Jaipur. The feedback from preparation as well as assembly personnel are very positive.
CONCEPTUAL SOLUTIONThe modular preparation means that the information needed to develop a good work instruction is divided into levels. In an "upper" level, the information “herited” from a “lower” level are refined.
The first level, the Source tasks, is completely independant of in which product family, in which variant, in which plant, on which line and on which station an assembly is performed.
In the second level, the Applied tasks, the Source tasks are used and parameters, derived from the product family, are added.
The third level, the Reference Structure, describes the sequence of assembly. This BOP (Bill of Process) is irrespective of the factory and on which line the item shall be mounted.
The sites that shall produce a certain product, use the Reference Structure and add their local conditions such as takt time and special equipment. This is the authentic balance or the Local Structure.
The basic preparation of instructions is made in all of Ericsson's assembly languages. This means that any assembler can select the language to be displayed on the screen.
PRODUCT CHANGES, UPDATING OF INSTRUCTIONS AND QUALITY
The competition in the telecommunications industry and the speed of technological progress require frequent product changes. The Modular Preparation is an invaluable tool to manage these changes! A change is made in the Source box level and propagates to all affected instructions, sometimes hundreds. To handle this manually is extremely time consuming, if not impossible. The consequences of failing to administer these changes are quality defects with corresponding customer dissatisfaction.
Ericsson has chosen to use the software AviX - The Industrial Office as the IT solution for realizing Modular Preparation. The latter has put new demands on the software and in 2014/2015 Ericsson and Solme have conducted an extensive development to reach the goal with the method and the IT support.In the future, other companies can benefit from the principles of the concept and the extended functionality of the software.
Anders and Andreas defined the concept and have then passionately and tirelessly developed a method that is extraordinary. They have traveled here and there, back and forth between Ericsson sites to get all the factories' perspectives, to gain approval, to educate and to finally prevail!
From Solme to Ericsson,