SAFRAN Snecma is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of aircraft and rocket engines for commercial and military aircraft, launch vehicles and satellites.
The company develops, manufactures and markets engines for both commercial and military aircraft, launch vehicles and satellites, and serves as prime contractor for the Ariane family of launchers for EU space missions. With 30 facilities and 14,600 employees worldwide, Snecma and its seven subsidiaries invest over 11% of total revenues in research, technology and development. Snecma is one of the world’s most innovative companies, filing for more than 450 patents a year.
Snecma’s distributed, global engineering organization is charged with inventing future aerospace technology. Succeeding in this mission requires close collaboration among engineering teams, distributed among dozens of facilities. It also requires strict adherence to engineering protocols in order to ensure that finished systems meet expected functional, performance and safety requirements.
Snecma’s ability to succeed at this mission was hampered by the lack of a comprehensive systems engineering process that could be easily accessed by all engineers. Efforts had been made to capture and publish engineering standard processes in published documents. Over time, however, these documents had become outdated. Locating information required sifting through multiple levels of content, an increasingly tedious and time-consuming task.
The lack of easily accessible process standards posed numerous challenges. Without common “rules of the road”, teams found it difficult to collaborate, and in some instances engineering work was duplicated. The risk of poor quality control was also a factor, as it was difficult to ensure that team activities were compliant with engineering standards.
The lack of an accessible process also hampered the organization’s ability to manage, measure and continuously improve its engineering practices. “Our challenges were twofold, build and maintain a process repository while implementing a process management strategy that enhanced and improved our systems engineering processes”, explained Nicolas Gueit, Development Methods Unit Manager, Snecma.
Snecma took an initiative to grow its systems engineering team, they started by building choice and logic into the discipline of creating, using and managing processes. Integrity Process Director gives Snecma the flexibility to sustain the value of ideas and best practices freeing up process authors and experienced engineers to move on to other projects as new hires come up to speed. The solution needed to meet multiple criteria. First, it needed to be easily maintained, so that the content would not become outdated. It had to allow program managers the ability to create their own processes, tailored for the unique needs of their teams and programs. Finally, it had to be easy to access and use by Snecma engineers.
Snecma selected Integrity Process Director as its process platform for multiple reasons. It supported industry-standard Business Process Modeling (BPM) notation, making it easier to communicate and share best practices with sub-contractors, partners and customers. The processes could be easily tailored to fit the needs of different teams and programs. The tool was scalable, extensible and easy to navigate, providing the “just in time” guidance required to enable engineers to focus on and complete the tasks at hand.
Snecma started the transition to this platform by implementing a process authoring phase applying a handful of process leads using Integrity Process Director. Their approach was to first configure the process meta-model to suit their needs, using a bottom up approach that captured a typical sequence of activities in process format. This meta-model was then configured in Integrity Process Director to implement required process elements and structures. These processes were then reviewed and tuned by a broader set of stakeholders, and readied for deployment to their consumer base.
Snecma’s experience so far has found that Integrity Process Director has met all their systems engineering process needs. The autogenerated diagrams and animated relationship graphs helped improve process understanding, stakeholder buy-in and ultimately deployment, resulting in increased productivity and more accurate decision making across teams. Snecma also achieved significant time savings during the initial project process definition phase – up to five times quicker, increasing project efficiency.
According to Snecma spokesman Nicolas Gueit, the company has realized multiple benefits from its Integrity Process Director implementation. Project management consistency and productivity have improved as teams can easily find the guidance they need. As a shared, web-based resource, this process guidance is now easily accessible by authors, managers and consumers.
Snecma plans to expand the use of Integrity Process Director across all departments, enabling users to utilize the most accurate and up to date information while improving communications and process maturity.
Finally, the organization has discovered that transparent, easy access to best practices guidance has improved communication and streamlined hand-offs across all stakeholders – reducing project friction and keeping both engineers and projects on track.
Snecma’s experience so far has found that Integrity Process Director has met all their systems engineering process needs to date. The auto-generated diagrams and animated relationship graphs helped manage and improve process deployment, resulting in increased productivity and more accurate decision making across teams. Snecma also achieved significant time savings during the initial project process definition phase – up to five times quicker, increasing project efficiency.
“Integrity Process Director makes it easier for our systems engineers to do things right the first time. As a consequence, our organization spends less time researching best practices, and more time driving innovation for our customers.” Nicolas Gueit Development Methods Unit Manager, Snecma
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