Riggs Fellowship Processes

New Innovative Transformational Processes

The Riggs Fellowship’s goal is to transform each company’s manufacturing processes within the span of a 10-week period.  Most summers, one team of Riggs Fellows completes projects for two companies simultaneously during this 10-week period.

This process has been developed building on modern best practices from industry while adding this shortened time constraint for deliverables.  These transformations often take much longer in industry due to internal and external barriers.  Employees are usually quite invested in the current way of operating, so they resist or delay important changes (intentionally or unintentionally).  Our shorter timeframe and executive-level support gives us the mandate we need to quickly implement systemic changes.  We put importance on creating employee buy-in by addressing their concerns as we quickly implement process changes. We have a large impact because we choose manufacturing lines with the high cost, low quality, or low customer satisfaction.  Though several clients have told us that they think we are “biting off more than we can chew” in a 10-week timeframe, we have proved them wrong by completing our projects with excellent results.  In fact, the short timeframe pushes our students to quickly develop creative innovations.  They must even work around external barriers such as the time to acquire new machines.  We are able to demonstrate our value to our clients, leading to even greater industry collaboration for the Riggs Fellowship, as well as for the College as a whole.

We have created a methodology to use during the transformation process. A 10-week fellowship is divided into five sections:

Week 1 and 2: Collect data, gather information from the employees, brainstorm ideas, and prepare a value stream map of the current state. At the end of the second week, give a briefing to the executives on our findings and the current state of the value stream map.

Week 3 and 4: Brainstorm innovative ideas and prepare a future values stream map, design a new process layout, and get buy-in from the executives. Start detailed designs.

Week 5 and 6: Explain and sell the plan to all affected employees and train them in modern manufacturing techniques. As a part of the training, do the airplane manufacturing simulation exercise. Refine the future state plan, finalize the detailed design.

Week 7 and 8: Implement the new layout, new processes and be flexible in finetuning on the production floor.

Week 9 and 10: Live at the Gemba (on the production floor), train the production employees, find solutions for employee complaints, and instill a continuous improvement culture. Collect future state data to confirm that the deliverables are achieved.

Last Day: Present the work to the executives and provide a technical report.