The goal of this study was to identify unintended and
unwanted economic impacts associated with Group Technology (GT) at one plant from the Graphic Systems division of Rockwell International, Inc. GT has been implemented by Rockwell as a means to reduce costs. Unfortunately, millions of dollars were wasted during part procurement. This waste resulted from misclassification of production drawings into inappropriate GT categories when packages of production drawings based on GT category were sent out for bid. Resulting bids reflected the costs vendors incurred to subcontract incorrectly categorized parts in the bid package.
The methods used in this study included an analysis of 2,000 drawings, identification of incorrectly classified drawings, review of the classification process, survey of academic/professional preparation of individuals involved with the classification process, development of an instructional regimen to reduce/eliminate classification errors, regimen testing, and identification of individuals best prepared to correctly classify drawings.
The results of the study indicated that to avoid negative economic impacts of GT implementation, the methods used during drawing classification should be standardized. Conclusions from the study suggest that individuals with the best academic/professional preparation should be used to classify production drawings and that on-going training and education for individuals directly involved with the classification process would help reduce the classification errors.