Amphenol Fiber Systems International (AFSI)

The Speed of Innovation

AmphenolAmphenol Fiber Systems International (AFSI) designs, manufactures, markets and supports solid, reliable and innovative fiber optic solutions for a variety of markets including military, telecommunications, mining, industrial fiber-optic systems, oil/seismic, wireless, and broadband.  AFSI is a global leader specializing in sophisticated fiber-optic connectors and cable assemblies.

AFSI, operating with a staff of 150 out of Allen, Texas excels in providing quality, cost-effective fiber optics systems and products to perform in harsh and demanding operating environments. They provide expertise in engineering, product selection, manufacturing and customer support.

 

The Situation

A robust product development program was already in operation at AFSI. However the management team wanted to fine tune the process. Teaming with Collin College, AFSI chose the Texas MEP, TMAC to work with them to design and implement a Leaner product development system.

New products contribute substantially and significantly to AFSI’s sales. Most new major products take an average of two years to develop. It can be a costly endeavor; material and design changes as well as quality issues can consume budget in a hurry.

AFSI and TMAC decided to leverage the Jump Start new product development system to streamline project approval, define product requirements, increase return on investment and develop new market opportunities.

 

The Solution

TMAC’s B.J. Fontaine worked with AFSI’s product development department in analyzing the development process for gaps. The goal was to implement smoother, more effective and efficient processes. Early discussions focused on complexity reduction.

Following a brutally rigorous review, detailed data was input to the Jump Start Merwyn Technology assessment tool. This system is used to evaluate abstract ideas before additional effort is used to substantiate it. Results included a schedule, risk plan, and the generation of a spreadsheet containing costs, the required parts and a preliminary design checklist.

One challenge was to get AFSI’s cadre of brilliant engineers to change over to platform thinking. The Jump Start/Merwyn system led to a more structured approach where everyone could get on board early and/or fail fast, fail cheap!

AFSI and TMAC conducted the improvements on an actual project, not a simulation. It was determined that weaknesses occur where there is the most complexity. Using a structured approach identifies weaknesses sooner.

An improved visual management board is also making a difference. New designs are tracked in more detail and a cadence has been established to be more aware of impending critical tasks as the clock ticks down on what needs to be done and when.

Instead of juggling 500 balls at a time, everyone in the organization now touches the ball just once. Instead of focusing solely on bottlenecks, culture enhancement enables the staff to find the fastest way through the system. AFSI’s previous system was capable of capturing the data and displaying it. But now, with full implementation of a Lean Product Development process, AFSI knows the hiccups as they occur in real time and can address problems immediately.

AFSI has truly undergone an enterprise transformation. Typical Lean toolsets such as setup reduction have taken root. The company has also fully participated in the Training Within Industry workshops to develop more open company culture and develop supervisory leadership. Projects with TMAC have improved operations on the delivery side and new product development on the growth side.

 

The Results:

  • On time delivery improved from 81% in 2010 to 91% in 2011
  • Reduced cycle time from engineering to manufacturing
  • Labor hours reduced 26% to 14% over 3 years period
  • Refined risk management process
  • Better project management and team integration
  • $158K saved on machine time setup
  • Results tied directly to company profits
  • New product development contributions increase company profits
  • Reduced new product development costs
  • 70% reduction in development prototype cell scrap
  • 25% reduction in disposable items
  • 100% staff and new hire training participation
  • Eight assembly lines reduced to five
  • AFSI now positioned to develop and manufacture single source inventions

 

TMAC is such a great value. We are glad we invested in TMAC and our people. We would definitely do the Merwyn new product analysis again. It makes you ask the right questions and provides an outcome tailored exactly to what goes in.
author-img - William Reid, P.E.
Vice President, Product Development

 

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