Technology & Digital Innovation

Tools within reach of... a badge

Making our factories increasingly simpler, smarter locations devoted to supporting our operations, avoiding bottlenecks, useless complications and long waiting lines. This is the primary goal of those who work every day in manufacturing and in supply chain in particular—i.e. work on machines and products to ensure excellence, a distinctive feature of our company.
With this in mind at the start of this year, specifically on January the 18th, a large team of colleagues with diverse functions (Sourcing, Manufacturing Engineering, IT, HR, Quality, Finance, EHS and in collaboration with the RSU, or the Italian unitary union representation) gave the green to a pilot project that is already showing interesting results. It's called “Avio Aero Project Integrators” and it was started with the goal of speeding up and simplifying the management and distribution of cutting tools, and auxiliary materials/indirect consumables, at the Rivalta plant in the Rotating Components center of excellence.
A dispenser in the Rotating Components CoE inside the Avio Aero Rivalta plant

One and a half years ago, the Rivalta Manufacturing Engineering of Rotating Components voiced to the Sourcing Team Northern Italy Plants the need to manage cutting tools using automatic dispensers to reduce the risk of out-of-stock, while at the same time pursuing the goal of reducing fuel consumption and inventory costs. The solution offered by Sourcing was to expand this area by adding the management of tool re-sharpening and other sub-commodities of auxiliary tools and consumables: a new type of management for Avio Aero (but one used at GE too). The team thus selected two vendors who offered to supply these products, along with advanced logistical solutions and improved inventory management through productivity projects. What sets them apart is the degree of integration of Supply Chain management that they offer (hence the names Integrators and Project Integrators). With this selection, the prospect of sharing and implementing the supply model at every other plant and center of excellence of ours was facilitated.

Since mid-January, at the Rotating Components Center in Rivalta, the first three automatic dispenser islands became operational: two for cutting tools and a third one for benchtop tools, personal protective equipment (PPE) and small parts.
Marcello Manfredi is the Sourcing Sr. Commodity Manager Northern Italy Plants who conceived the project and leads a cross-functional work team: “The foundations we used for this work are ‘Stay Lean to Go Fast’ and Simplification, in order to promote and test a model that facilitated and streamlined the work at every production center, and so something easy to implement at every Avio Aero plant. We therefore started analyzing product categories, market and spending details and compared them with the best practices at GE and GE Aviation sites, both in Europe and overseas. We needed to simplify and engage change intelligently. We involved many offices: Sourcing, Manufacturing Engineering, IT as well as Human Resources, Quality, Finance, EHS and obviously union representatives. Each gave their own practical contribution. When we identified a possible issue, we searched for the solution that best answered the question: ‘Can I do it faster?’”

“Integrators are intended to reduce the risk of a production downtime caused by the lack of auxiliary or consumable materials, offering the possibility of reducing our costs, simplifying the procurement process (by reducing requests for purchase, orders, invoices and payments), expanding the possibility of implementing electronic catalogs, standardizing materials, reducing consumption and, lastly, the number of redundant codes... why have more than one code for, say, a wrench?!” as Marcello continued to explain. “These days, at the Rotating Components CoE, if someone needs a cutting tool for machining, or a glove, they only need to go to the closest dispenser island and take it from the tray after swiping their badge. So easy and fast. At that moment, Avio Aero pays for that asset. Dispensers, who interact with our SAP management software system, automatically trigger a procurement process at decidedly lower costs and instantly.”
In this project, the commitment of individuals as a team made a difference, just to mention a few: Simone Milano, Andrea Brucoli, Alberto Mantero, Roberto Rigardo, Annamaria Biestri, Michele De Luca, Donato Barbagallo, Gioacchino Castrovilli, Roberto De Michelis, Luca Magagnotti, Marco Russo, Antonino Lo Nardo, Eraldo Sanquirico, Vincenzo Filippelli, Enza Freiria, Claudio Tonelli, Massimo Colella, Mario Brunelli, Dario D’Addea, Manuela Brero, Giacomo Corda.
During the first month of use, 230 cutting tools were managed using the dispensers, 332 withdrawals were made, equal to 4,065 consumed parts. Concerning benchtop tools and PPEs (109 items in total), there were 193 withdrawals, equal to 420 consumed units. And this is just for the launch stage. In a year, this management method should lead to a reduction in consumption of up to 25% with expected benefits on purchase costs of under 5% compared with the scenario analyzed.
The Project Integrators test, created under the auspices of Fastworks, will continue through June. The desire of the whole team working in this significant innovation is to expand the presence of large scale dispensers at our plants in Italy and Poland, and implement it for other work tools as well.