ORION Case Study

ORION was a division of a large aerospace company with 7,000 employees which evolved from a project organization into a matrix structure to minimize costs and utilize limited resources. Normally, they were able to work on three to five large projects and 30-50 smaller projects. They were facing some problems that are as follows: Production cost is higher than expected, low quality, ineffective customer support, lack of strong project ownership, scope creep. There is to help ORION deal with these above existing problems in organizing and managing in ORION. What are recommendations? According to traditional Master Plan at ORION, the life of the project was quite long and ineffective. It took 5 – 7 years for new product design, development and manufacturing.

The main reasons were: Manufacturing engineers that had to follow design engineers’ lead they didn’t have a manager to control and assistant. Design engineers were not experts in manufacturing. For this reason, it leaded to higher product costs. Thus, there should have a manufacturing manager who would manage and authorize to make decision in design for manufacturability. Low quality was because of lack of a manager in control and management quality of products. Furthermore, this team did not involve in process of product design to give advices and recommendations of quality concern on time. Therefore, ORION should have a quality control manager who would manage the team and involve quality concern in original design of products. Ineffective Customer support was because of lack of a manager and lack of identification of customer’s concerns. For this reason, the company should have a customer service to control the team and corporate closely with design team to understand exactly technical documentation and user manuals.

By the way, marketing team should support to survey market in capturing of customer’s needs and requirement in order to improve quality of service and make customer satisfied. Lack of strong project ownership: Senior manager should establish criteria in selectio and balance the available organizational resources among different types of projects. For large and important projects, they should arrange talent and experienced engineers to work full time instead of doing multiple projects. Engineers in small projects are able to do multiple projects or ORION could outsource personnel for its requirements. In addition, ORION should build up an equal reward criteria to motivate their employees such as salary, promotion basing on contribution and performance no favoritism, for instance : design engineers were paid higher than the manufacturing engineers. Scope creep was due to lack of design manager so that design engineers do what they like. Hence, a manager will work with marketing team to know and understand what customer’s need are. Then, the design manager will provide guides to orientate what design engineers should do to meet customers’ requirements and reduce unexpected costs for testing, production, and modifications.

Recommendation of changing in the organizational chart and mater plan: According to the above recommendation, the changing is presented in detail: Organization of Product Development Project at ORION

  •  Master Plan at ORION
  • Design Reviews
  • Design and development
  • Production and delivery
  • Buidling production line and test equiptment
  • Documentation and Training programe
  • Production and delivery
  • Training

In conclusion, moving “build production line and test equipment” and “Documentation and training programe” once CDR had been done. Obviously, this will shorten the life of project cycle and save costs for design of manufacturing due to manufacturing engineer’s involvement in process of new product design. During this time, training and documentation is also proceeded. As the result, it only takes 3 -5 years for SDR, PDR, CDR, TRR & PRR. Furthermore, ORION should allocate account managers who are care of specialized responsibility to control and assistant to complete the projects. ORION matrix is identified in the balance matrix that should improve to STRONG MATRIX. The project manager has broader control and functional departments act as subcontractors to the project. This matrix form creates the “feel” of project team within a matrix environment. Culture of organization plays an important role that supports to complete effectively. Establishing a policy of equal reward is to motivate and encourage employees’ performance.

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