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Focus on doing it right

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Story by Jennifer Bacchus on 03/07/2019
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Last year, the Directorate of Production, assisted by the Quality Assurance Office, performed a complete audit of processes performed in the Powertrain Flexible Maintenance Facility.

The "line by line" audit was intended to ensure employees adhere to procedures during all disassembly, cleaning, reclamation, testing and assembly procedures for engines rebuilt in the facility.

The audit also had the benefit of improving quality as well.

"We found minor variations in the way the work was being performed," said Mike Obrien, a depot quality assurance specialist.

The audit began in the Hercules engine area, where diesel engines which power the M88 Recovery Vehicle are overhauled. It soon spread through all processes for every engine overhauled or repaired in the facility.

By ensuring each process was performed as uniformly as possible by employees, defects decreased.

In fiscal year 2016 and 2017, the depot received 17 and 15 Product Quality Deficiency Reports, better known as PQDRs, respectively. In FY2018, only four PQDRs were received and there have been none so far this fiscal year.

"We put our heads together and said we need to build the best engines possible, no matter what, for the war fighters," said Obrien.

In addition to ensuring procedures were being followed, the audit identified changes needed in the test cells, to ensure each engine variant meets specifications unique to that particular type of engine.

The shop supervisors also added stops, places where parts would pause for additional testing.

"There are a few quality hard stops," said Richard Petty, chief of the Reciprocating Drive Train Division. "Parts aren't allowed to proceed until Quality and the mechanics sign off on them."

While auditing processes and putting new procedures in place, the Quality and DP teams learned to rely on each other more and began to work better together and keep their focus on the ultimate customer for each engine - the Soldier in the field.

"The inspectors on the floor play a big part in ensuring the work is done correctly," said Obrien. "They work very well with the personnel on the floor and the production supervisors."


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