The integration process at SPAWAR consists of two steps: prototyping and full rate integration. The prototype process is an engineering design process that involves a team of engineers who take each variant and determine the optimal fit for the required equipment. On average, this process takes the team 30 days and includes testing as described above for each prototype. The engineers, all government employees, take the approved design and create installation manuals. These installation manuals are then passed to the SPAWAR lead contractor, which oversees GFE installation in the full-rate integration process. Government quality assurance representatives (QARs) work with the contracted employees to ensure the installations are being done in accordance with the instruction manual intent and that every installation is tested to ensure it functions as designed. The location of prototype engineers, integrators, and QARs under one roof, with test facilities close by, were key in the rapid prototyping and continuous changes needed for the program (Ward, 2008, August 5).
With the large number of MRAP variants, ever-changing GFE combinations, and incorporation of feedback from warfighters, the full-rate integration process is constantly evolving. Because of this, the 25 production lines at SPAWAR were not able to simply replicate tasks in assembly line fashion. At one point, each line had an average turnover
of four variants per week.
The organization has since found ways to control
the integration process now operation. Each installation
somewhere between is now cross-trained
a job shop on three to
that and four
variations, enabling better control of Lean Six Sigma program to track process improvements.
manufacturing tasks. SPAWAR also implemented a key production metrics and implement continuous
As previously production capacity at program. With the partnering efforts with as bracket installation, capacity to match or
explained, the scale of the integration effort and the unknown SPAWAR was a major area of concern at the start of the MRAP process improvements discussed, as well as with continuous
vehicle and GFE manufacturers welding, and painting farther up exceed the flow of vehicles
to shift labor intensive tasks such the value stream, SPAWAR built