August 2004 
Volume 03, Issue 4 
Integrated Defense Systems

Junkyard DOGS

Boeing ‘plastic surgeons’ undertake extreme makeovers, Apache style


Tim Haynie performs structural repairs on an Apache engine nacelle.They’ve poured sand out of parts from Apaches that patrolled the deserts of Iraq, Kuwait, Israel and Egypt. They’ve repaired Apache components that were plagued by bullets and mortar rounds, burned and smashed as they were put through wars.

They call themselves the “Junkyard Dogs.” This Stage II High Performance Work Team has the job of transforming parts that “look like junk” into nearly new condition for replacement on remanufactured Apache Longbows at Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in Mesa, Ariz.

“We’re like plastic surgeons giving extreme makeovers to Apache parts,” said Team Lead Bob Johnson. “We see how creative we can get.” In applying that creativity, the Junkyard Dogs continue to meet the challenge of keeping within the company’s safety and quality standards.

The 18-person team has nearly 150 years’ combined experience in repairing composites, sheet metal and mechanical subassemblies. Some team members have been doing the work for 20 years.

“Their craftsmanship is really amazing,” said Brett Adams, the team’s supervisor. “You would never believe that some of the pieces that come in here are the same parts when you see them go out.”

The team works, in conjunction with a 12-member sister team, “Repairs R Us,” to fix parts for everything from AH-64As scheduled for remanufacture to Apaches damaged in combat. The parts range from fist-size mounting brackets and ammunition weapons to large Apache wings and other components that weigh hundreds of pounds.

Repairing the parts saves about 70 percent of what it would cost to purchase brand new ones, Adams said.

When the Junkyard Dogs relocated to Mesa’s Building 543 in February, the team was empowered to design its own floor plan in a Lean manufacturing style to maximize workflow and minimize repair times.

Toolboxes and common tools were set up near workstations and the parts-pickup area was moved close to the work force. In their former building, team members had to walk a quarter mile to pick up parts.

The new layout increased the team’s performance by 27 percent over the last three months, according to team statistics.

And plans are in the works to cross-train employees and set up a customer survey process. The latter will help the team improve final assembly, flight test and production control operations, using feedback from its customers.

“We’re Junkyard Dogs among ourselves,” Johnson said. “But we’re doctors of repair to our customers.”


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