Study of process improvement tools implemented in a custom engineered manufacturing environment

Open Access
Cheeran, Tebi Mathew
Graduate Program:
Industrial Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
December 13, 2013
Committee Members:
  • Robert Carl Voigt, Thesis Advisor
  • Dr Christopher Saldana, Thesis Advisor
  • custom engineered manufacturing
  • process improvement
  • scheduling
  • MTO
  • ETO
The objective of this research project is to reduce the overall lead time for the manufacture and assembly of Blow Out Preventer stacks, having a highly customized design. The research project is executed for a multi-national company, specialized in the manufacture of mechanical components in the oil and gas industry. The work reviews some of the manufacturing strategies that are employed in today’s industries and tries to identify strategies that could be employed in a custom engineered, Make to Order environment. It then outlines some of the preliminary analysis done using the existing data from the facility. This analysis uses Six Sigma tools to develop an overview of the Blow Out Preventer production process and to identify key focus areas of the project. The preliminary analysis next focuses on the downstream final assembly process and identifies the assembly delays caused due to preassembly operations as the reason for long assembly lead time. These observations highlighted the need for a tool that could be used to plan, schedule and expedite activities at the assembly pad by taking the upstream delays into consideration. An Assembly Delay Impact Tool (ADIT) has been created to assist in the planning and scheduling activities at the Stack Pad. This tool estimates the impact of delays on the assembly operations and hence assists in planning and expediting the upstream operations to meet the schedule. In order to develop the ADIT, assembly operations were standardized and a delay tracking tool was implemented. Finally the ability of the ADIT to accurately simulate the assembly schedule with delays is verified. ADIT was implemented for several BOP projects at the Assembly Pad (Stack Pad) and it was found that the final delivery date with delays was predicted with mean percentage deviation of 7.63% at a 95% confidence interval.