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Driving Delivery Connections: The Impact of Real-Time Data

December 19, 2018
Many of us have wished to have a birds-eye view of our lives and see the impact we have on those around us. GE Aviation had a similar wish. When building a jet engine, how does a team determine its impact? How does it know what work to prioritize to ensure that an engine is delivered to an airline customer on time?

GE is using data and real-time digital insights to inform these decisions to drive operational efficiency in its shops to ensure on-time customer delivery every day.

The tool generating these insights, GE Aviation’s Operations Advisor, is part of a suite of tools that spans across the manufacturing process. It gives plant leaders and their teams a view of part and component execution as well as constraint status across GE Aviation sites against delivery schedules. This helps them determine if they’re making the right part, enough of that part, and the impact on customer outcomes.

Operations Advisor’s application in the manufacturing process is broad. One new innovative application is in the fulfillment process. Fulfillment Operations Advisor (FOA) provides one consolidated view where a fulfillment and assembly team can quickly work together to streamline the fulfillment process. It identifies critical hardware and gives teams the ability to quickly execute a solution.

Bennett Bassette, Turbine Airfoils (TAVS) Digital Transformation Inspirer, worked with the LEAP Fulfillment team to connect TAVS shops via FOA. He says FOA is a new way to link shops directly to what is going on at assembly shops — in real-time and with more connection.

Bassette said that the team “looked at the current process holistically and asked, ‘How can we have an on-going conversation to connect engine serial number level, activities in assembly, and our customer all the way back to the parts we’re making?’”

The benefit of that connection can be as simple as a shop following its part through the fulfillment process. It used to be that a shop floor had no way to know where its part was in transit. Now the it can be as easy as tracking an Amazon package. Rather than going through several different systems and finding the tracking number and manually looking it up, the FOA gives it to you instantly — a small but valuable insight to the shop floor.

Dave Groth, the functional owner of the FOA tool for GE Aviation, has experienced the challenge of operating in a shop without the real-time data FOA provides firsthand.

“I’ve run a few plants. And I rarely knew what engine, specifically what engine serial number, the part I was working on went into,” Groth said.  “We were detached from that process – cranking out parts, hoping it was good enough. Now, a shop floor can go in and immediately see how many sets of hardware they’re shipping, the specific piece of engine that it’s going into, and when the plant needs it. That’s the magic of FOA.”

FOA pulls all our fulfilment data together and connects the shop floor to the customer. It isn’t an action tool. It’s not going to solve a shop’s problems, but it’s going to show the team where to start a conversation.

“Understanding their impact on the fulfillment process was extremely difficult for shops in the past. They’d have to wait for someone to tell them,” says Groth. “With FOA, the shop can have all the right data and identify their customer impact to determine what they need to do. Fulfillment leaders can make smart decisions more quickly, minimizing the impact on our customers.”

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GE Aerospace is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, as well as integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft.