Date of Award

Fall 2011

Access Restriction

Campus Access only research projects

Degree Name

Master of Science


Systems Engineering

School or College

Seaver College of Science and Engineering


The objective of this project thesis was to consider a process, perform research, and analyze and document the results. The result is a recommended improved process for my current job, I have applied the principles I learned in the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Graduate Level System Engineering and Leadership Program. By adhering to principles I have developed a plan that models those applications and ideologies, and related them into my 16 year professional career in Aerospace production scheduling in communication satellite production scheduling.

After considering several options, I decided to take on this project with the approval of my instructor Dr. Galloway. The plan was to take a general process from work, and recommend ways to improve the process through Lean application, and demonstrate the application or functions of System Engineering fundamentals applied to improving the process. From this report, I will make recommendations on ways to improve the efficiency of the process across four different disciplines and systems, which are very dependent upon each other to perform a very important function. I plan to conduct interviews with seniors in the fields mentioned and gather written data for analysis. I will apply System Engineering guidelines to help identify problems and demonstrate ways to improve efficiency in documentation processing as well.

In the project I will dissect the Enterprise Scheduling and the Material Requirements Planning (MRP) systems and explain how important an accurate Master Schedule is to the success of ordering materials, in a Just in Time (JIT) environment. I will discuss how lead times for parts ordering and materials are derived for a satellite build. I will break the sections into three parts; the first section will cover the application of the Microsoft Project Scheduling System to the Material Requirements Planning System interface. Two summarizes the results of conversations and interviews with people who interface with systems daily, and finally Section Three presents recommendations in both written and presentation format to an audience in an effort to demonstrate a lean application of continuous process improvement to a current process involving multiple systems.

Integrated Scheduling is responsible for establishing and maintaining schedule baselines in the Integrated Master Schedule (IMS). Along with managing the network databases, schedulers provide schedule support to Program Office Management (PO) and Integrated Product Teams (IPTs). Schedulers manage tier 1 to tier 5 level schedules. Scheduling leads have the responsibility to ensure that vertical and horizontal networks are updated weekly, within the enterprise, to preview the latest forecasts and potential impacts to critical path items. This allows for better monitoring of integrated schedules activities across programs, including the integration of supplier schedules. Schedulers provide regular status of schedule health metrics to corporate on a monthly basis. Responsibilities also include approval of the schedule Contract Data Requirements List (CORL). CDRL's are deliverables items to the customer and document key milestone completions. The Integrated Schedule houses the supplier schedules and has vertical and horizontal traceability, with all necessary predecessors and successors identified in the network chain. All schedule work ties to activities and criteria in the Integrated Master Plan (IMP).

The IMS is architected with the Earned Value Management System (EVMS) and includes customer and supplier needs and issues, risk mitigation, and opportunities. The IMS baseline is approved or disapproved in the Change Control Board (CCB) and is owned by the Program Manager (PM) and System Engineering (SE). Schedule status is performed weekly and analyzed for critical and near critical paths items.

The Material Requirements Planners are (MRP) responsible for working closely with the Integrated Scheduling team and Supplier Integration Management to ensure all subcontracts are definitized and managed. A plan must be developed in the schedule to manage all need dates for the ordering of bulk buy materials and long lead procurement parts, in support of the execution of contractual commitments. Planners work closely with the MRP focal to develop and maintain the Supplier Management Plan and the supplier Statement of Work (SOW). The MRP focal monitors and manages any critical path items from a subcontractor. Performance and critical path are measured in the schedule. Performance will be compared to the baseline plan and deliverable qualities for units will be identified along with part numbers in their designated fields in the master schedule.

Lean can best be described as a set of principles, concepts, and techniques designed to eliminate waste and produce an efficient, just-in-time production system, delivering to customers exactly what they need, when they need it, in the exact quantity they need, in the correct sequence, without defects, at the least possible cost. Lean is a new way of thinking, where the enterprise and its people continuously strive to learn and improve towards an ideal "perfect" waste free state, to exceed our customers' needs, thereby securing the business' future. As employees we play an intrical part in this equation, because our hands-on approach to make the little things happen, guarantees the details are covered.

With my findings I plan to make a recommendation of my project ideas to my employer, in order to finds ways to integrate some of these results, where ever feasible or even necessary. The results and conclusion will benefit the business and help the employee's progress towards a more improved and efficiency work place, while saving the company money. Included in this report and presentation package are graphs, illustrations, tables, and schedules to visually clarify and demonstrate key points to audience.

Within each section I will illustrate the current process and methods to improve it. I will share my personal views on good business Ethics and integrity when working or negotiating with subcontractors, and discuss some of the principles I learned in my Ethics class at LMU.

AlexHerrera_Systems_Presentation_2011.pdf (9234 kB)
Oral Presentation