Selection of an alternative production part approval process to improve weapon systems production readiness
Ireland, William C.
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This thesis conducted an examination related to the Department of Defense (DOD) weapons systems production approval practices. Current practices result in poor weapons system production outcomes that reduce fleet readiness in DOD weapons systems acquisition. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported concerns related to a lack of manufacturing knowledge at production start as causal to poor production outcomes. A comparison of DOD practices against non-DOD industrial production approval processes addressing causality and improvement opportunity provided new insight not found in acquisition research. An analysis of alternatives identified best practices to improve production capability and readiness. Key findings revealed that the automotive production approval process followed industry best practices that fully addressed problems identified by the GAO. Non-DOD industries used a more prescriptive Quality Management System (QMS) that enabled a more disciplined manufacturing development and demonstration of production capability prior to production commitment. Commercial surveys in the literature confirmed the benefits of the automotive prescriptive QMS. The more successful QMS approach can be applied to DOD acquisition practices reducing costs and improving fleet readiness.
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