SAE International Releases AS6500 Document to Standardize Manufacturing Management

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SAE International has developed the first new standard designed to cover the area of manufacturing management, where no commercial or governmental/military standards were previously available.

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When we talk about manufacturing, a significant amount of work is offloaded to suppliers and that is where many of the problems and opportunities reside. David Karr, member of SAE International’s G-23 Committee

SAE International has developed the first new standard designed to cover the area of manufacturing management, where no commercial or governmental/military standards were previously available.

SAE International standard “AS6500 – Manufacturing Management,” provides both the tools to measure manufacturing maturity as well as steps that should be conducted to successfully mature the manufacturing process. The standard covers design analysis, manufacturing risk identification, planning, operation management and supplier management.

David Karr, a member of SAE International’s G-23 Committee and a technical advisor for manufacturing and quality for the United States Air Force, said following the practices in AS6500 will result in improved cost and schedule performance on contracts and, ultimately, more robust and reliable manufacturing systems. Also, Karr said the standard is “highly tailorable” for unique manufacturing systems.

“When we talk about manufacturing, a significant amount of work is offloaded to suppliers and that is where many of the problems and opportunities reside,” said Karr. “This standard not only addresses in-house manufacturing management at a prime contractor’s location, but also the management of their suppliers. The standard covers best practices for ensuring that the right part gets to the right place at the right time.

“It includes concepts and practices that have been proven time and again. They are basically just sound industrial engineering principles. They just haven’t always been applied consistently.”

The new standard spawned from a need for better manufacturing management practices in the U.S. Department of Defense. The GAO reported cost overruns, quality issues and a lack of manufacturing maturity when weapon systems entered the production phase.

From the 1970s through the mid-1990s, military specifications and standards were included on contracts to explicitly state manufacturing management requirements. However, most of those standards went away with acquisition reform in the mid-90s, leaving the military with virtually no standardization.

The result was a significant amount of variability in how programs managed their manufacturing elements and an equal amount of variability in outcomes.

Cost, schedule and performance problems prompted the military to restore stability to manufacturing with the AS6500. Karr said SAE International “was ideally suited for this effort.”

In December 2012, the Defense Standardization Program Office asked the Air Force to establish a working group to develop a draft standard and select a standards developing organization. The group selected SAE International to develop the standard in September 2013.

The G-23 Committee comprises representatives of the Department of Defense and industry.

“SAE International already had several standards in related fields,” Karr said. “SAE International provides tremendous flexibility to its committees to proceed in a way that best meets their needs in terms of the committee membership, operation of the committee, and the format and content of the final document. Yet, they have a recognized, structured approach for document review and balloting that ensures that all voices are heard and the resulting standard is technically sound.”

For more information, or to purchase the new standard, visit http://standards.sae.org/wip/as6500/.

SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting more than 148,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™.

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