PLM for Six Sigma Product Quality (PLM4SS)

NCMS Project #: 140386

Problem: U.S. manufacturing firms and DoD depots are under increasing pressure to reduce operating and sustain­ment costs while also significantly reducing lead times for new and repaired/refurbished parts.  The following objectives are critical to success.

  • Eliminate quality “escapes,” occurrences where parts with non-conformances escape detection and are passed on to the next downstream customer
  • Streamline the new product launch and change in design processes to significantly reduce both calendar time and cost
  • Ensure that up-to-date and accurate product definition data is readily accessible to all participants in the supply chain (i.e. OEMs, suppliers, depots), throughout the product life cycle
  • Improve warfighter readiness through better part quality (and the reliability impact of improved quality) plus reduced cycle time for mods.


  • Eliminated quality escapes—a 99% reduction in occurrences by moving from three-sigma to six-sigma capability. This improvement accounts for 50–70% of the economic savings identified during Phase I.  Reduction in quality escapes translates to higher field reliability.  Higher field reliability means improved warfighter readiness.
  • Improved productivity in the new product launch and change in design processes. This accounts for 30–50% of the economic savings identified during Phase I.
  • Calendar time reduction in the new product launch and change in design processes, estimated to be several weeks in both of these multi-month pro­cesses. Economic benefit was not quantified, but would be substantial in terms of inventory cost reduction and improved weapon system availability.  Calendar time reduction for change processes means that system improvements reach the warfighter quicker.

Solution/Approach: Project Technologies will be embedded in COTS products on the new releases of Teamcenter, BCT Inspector, and Specif-I – now planned for early 2007.  Depots have not yet implemented the technology but the planned implementation of Teamcenter by the Air Force will include all the Teamcenter functions and hooks for integration of the other products.

Impact on Warfighter: The process is influencing Air Force decision making as it defines future tech data requirements.

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Air Force (OC-ALC)
  • U.S. Army (Anniston) (observer)
  • U.S. Navy (Fleet Readiness Center East)

Industry Participation:

  • General Electric (GE) Aviation
  • Siemens AG
  • BCT Technology
  • Cohesia Corporation
  • Manufacturing Resources Inc. (MRI)
  • NCMS

Final Report