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Portable system provides eyes on parts, processes

Eric Loggins uses the Anniston Army Depot Industrial Complex Integrated Information Tracker to determine the next item to be worked, based on the priority list.

Roy Wheeler uses the Industrial Complex Integrated Information Tracker on a hand-held tablet to locate priority baskets to be routed to the next step at Anniston Army Depot.

ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- The depot's new visual management system is the brainchild of the installation's commander, Col. Martine Kidd.
 
During her travels to various private industries to view their workflow and learn from the processes and procedures they have in place, she learned many of them have a way to track parts as they proceed through the manufacturing process.
 
Wanting to incorporate something similar at ANAD, Kidd enlisted the help of the directorates of Information Management and Production Management.
 
The system, Industrial Complex Integrated Information Tracker, is abbreviated iCIIT and pronounced eyesight.
 
 It's a Windows-based tool, which gives employees and supervisors in the shops a way to determine which parts should be processed next, based on their priority in the system.
 
The goal of the system, once it is implemented across the installation, is to provide near real-time visual management at the shop floor level, driving increased efficiency and effectiveness.
 
FIRST STEPS
 
While researching visual management tools, employees from DOIM and DPM visited several companies to see how they tracked products along their line.
 
Ultimately, they found a company that overhauled landing gear and used a visual management tool similar to what was needed here.
 
AAR Landing Gear Services in Florida welcomed the ANAD employees and allowed them to emulate the system.
 
Once the team understood what iCIIT should look like and what data needed to flow into it, they then turned their attention to capturing that information.
 
A beta test was established with three shops from the Cleaning, Finishing and Painting Division in the Directorate of Production and the Code A and F Warehouse within DPM.
 
"These are shops that have high volume throughput," said Shawn Magouyrk, the deputy director of Production Management for the depot. "We wanted to deploy iCIIT in high volume shops first."
 
Beta testing began in April 2017, though the data capture began in July 2016.
 
The team had to capture the data first and see which information was needed on the shop floor as well as what information was most useful to the various planners in DPM.
 
Based on feedback, the team is now modifying the algorithm, which sets priorities in iCIIT, to be more accurate. They also added additional fields of information, allowing the planners, supervisors and users to sort by a variety of different criteria.
 
For example, a planner in DPM can go into iCIIT and ask it to sort all parts in the system for a particular M1 Abrams program. Once the tool completes its calculations, the planner will be able to see where all parts currently are, where they are going next and when work on the parts is scheduled to be performed.
 
"This tool puts information out there where anyone can use it," said Eric Loggins, a material management specialist with DPM.
 
HOW IT HELPS THE SHOPS
 
According to Magouyrk, iCIIT's main function is to answer a question every shop asks constantly -- what should we be working on right now.
 
Using an algorithm that looks at time remaining in a program for work to be completed and the final due date of the program, iCIIT sets priorities for shop workload.
 
It then updates those priorities every 15 minutes based on work completed and new work that has come into the shop. This gives the tool near real-time accuracy.
 
In addition to setting priorities, iCIIT has the ability to look at a shop's overall performance.
 
It reviews statistics on work in progress and turn-around time.
 
Work in progress is determined by the number of unworked baskets or bins currently assigned to the shop.
 
Turn-around time is an average taken over two days and is based on the baskets or bins of completed parts which have been scanned out of the shop.
 
Because so much of the data revolves around knowing the precise building each item is in, proper scanning in and out procedures will be vital to ensuring accuracy.
 
"Before this tool, we put together three spreadsheets trying to identify priorities," said Brian Mitchell, the chief of the Code A and F Warehouse Branch in DPM. "This automates it."
 
WHAT'S NEXT?
 
Currently, the system is fed information through the Depot Total Asset Visibility system. Once visual management is fully incorporated into the Logistics Modernization Program, it will be available on the Complex Assembly Manufacturing Solution and in the hands of employees throughout the installation.
 
That integration is set to occur in August.
 
"This took a lot of coordination between the directorates of Information Management, Public Works, and Production Management in terms of getting the equipment in place," said Randy Pugh, the team lead for DOIM.
 
It will take time to prepare each location to work in and with iCIIT. Therefore, using iCIIT depot-wide is a long-term goal, but one the installation is steadily working toward. 
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