A comprehensive business
process improvement, known as Define and Control Airplane Configuration/Manufacturing
Resource Management (DCAC/MRM), has been under way at Boeing. (See
Configuration Definition Software, Aero no. 4, Oct.
1998.) DCAC/MRM, which is in the final stages of implementation,
affects part-tracking and airplane configuration processes. Airplane
parts replace Boeing engineering drawings as the engineering design
reference (i.e., the configuration design authority) for each airplane.
Airplane operators; maintenance,
repair, and overhaul (MRO) shops; and others who work with Boeing
airplane data are familiar with the data structure in which parts
lists are correlated with drawings and drawings are correlated with
airplanes. The new structure, which correlates part information
directly with airplanes, was effective in third-quarter 2002 for
in-production 757s and will be effective for in-production 737,
747, 767, and 777 airplanes later in 2002 and 2003. Boeing offers
users of the restructured data training on how to navigate and best
apply the data.
Configuration data are
not being restructured for the 717 and airplanes already in service,
including out-of-production models. The restructuring of configuration
data does not change the physical configuration of the airplanes.
This article discusses
structured around engineering drawings.
structured around parts.
DATA STRUCTURED AROUND ENGINEERING DRAWINGS
Since the 1940s, Boeing
Commercial Airplanes has used a drawing-based configuration system
to identify and track parts for each airplane it built (fig.
1). Parts for each airplane were tracked by manually adding
customer-specific identification numbers to each engineering drawing.
Each drawing also was marked, or tagged, with a basic number, a
variable number, and a propulsion number based on the drawing subject.
The basic number identified the standard design for an airplane
model. The variable number identified the customer changes to the
standard design. The propulsion number identified the drawings related
to the engines on the airplane.
Under this drawing-based
system, it was time consuming for Boeing employees to track the
parts through the build process and equally time consuming for airline
customers to find the applicable drawings for particular airplanes
during maintenance planning and repair work.