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Past Project in Detail

Hastings Deering - Engineering and Business Process Mapping and Review


Engineering and Business Process Mapping and Review – Hastings Deering (Mechanical Engineering student)

World-renowned Caterpillar heavy earthmoving equipment and Driltech blast hole drills are distributed via the branch network of the Hastings Deering Group.

The group sell, service and support their product range to the mining, construction, forestry, agricultural, materials handling and government sectors across Queensland, Northern Territory, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia. Their Brisbane Head Office houses many internal divisions including Sales (Equipment and Parts), Parts Warehouse, Account Management, Workshop, Field Assembly & Commissioning, Engineering Services (ES), IT and Service.

Hastings Deering are currently undertaking a large company-wide project, named ‘turning iron into cash’. This project aims to reduce the time it takes from the tender of a new machine, to the delivery of the machine to the client. Hastings believes that its’ inventory costs alone can be substantially reduced, if it can successfully identify processes, or lack thereof, which cause delays, and then streamline or create processes where needed.

Darren Graham and John Birch of Hastings Deering contacted CEED to gain some extra expertise in the area of mapping and reviewing processes, using the ‘Six Sigma’ methodology. Six Sigma is a quality improvement strategy, where efficiencies are realised by a company when ‘waste’ in a process is minimised or eliminated, when time taken to process work is reduced, and when the use of resources is at a minimum. In the process of doing this, defects and mistakes can be virtually eliminated from everything a business does. Process effectiveness (meeting customer requirements both internal and external) is the central theme of Six Sigma.

Darren and John identified a discrete part of the overall project, to take place in their ‘Engineering Services’ (ES) department at Archerfield. The ES department interacts with the overall process at many different stages, so Darren and John requested a detailed analysis of the current processes in the Engineering Services dept and a methodology for continual improvement.

The student selected by Hastings for the project is Dinesh Bishop, a final year Mechanical Engineering student at QUT. Dinesh commenced at the end of January, and will complete his project end-June 05.

Dinesh is currently conducting interviews with personnel and observing the business and engineering processes, which will enable him to map/document the ES Department’s current processes. Along the way, Dinesh will ‘flag’ areas in which a more efficient and effective solution can be achieved. Dinesh will research various solutions, using ‘Lean Manufacturing’ as a guide for improvement. This will fit within the company’s use of Six Sigma methodology. Following consultation with the various stakeholders, new solutions to these ‘flagged’ areas for improvement can be developed. It will then be possible for Dinesh to re-map the processes including these new solutions, with recommendations to the company on how to improve the current processes. Finally, his recommended solutions and processes will be reviewed by the company, to ensure they have no adverse effect on other parts of the business, which would outweigh any gains made by the ES Department.

Mapping the processes within in the ES department will help Hastings Deering to differentiate between what is happening, and what should happen. It is anticipated that new solutions to current practices and processes will reduce process time and demand on resources (currently increasing), in the department. These improvements, in turn, will contribute to the overall ‘turning iron into cash’ project. Clients have been known to withhold partial payment for machinery, until they receive certain documents from the ES department. Therefore, reduction in delays and inventory costs will result in direct financial gains for the company. Clients will benefit by a reduction in the time to manufacture and supply accompanying documents, which will result in clients receiving their machines in less time.

John Birch recently commented that Dinesh’s project has “progressed with the full support of the staff involved and has reached the final stages of investigating and mapping the current processes. Dinesh is currently developing recommendations for process changes for the consideration of management. Some of these recommendations will include:

· Development of a web front-end to a database currently in use within the department. This will allow easier access to information.

· Review of the skills required and training within the department.

· Streamlining/changing some of the current processes to aid in a more controlled management of the processes in the department.

The expectation is that these recommendations will lead to the development of a thorough and sustainable process within the engineering department and add value to those areas directly interacting with engineering”.

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