RGCI - Preparing for a Manufacturing Readiness Review (MRR) or Production Readiness Review (PRR)

You have done the difficult work of developing a product that meets the technical specifications, quality, and reliability your Government customer requires. As you move from design to manufacturing, Redstone Government Consulting can help you plan and prepare for your Manufacturing Readiness Review (MRR) or Production Readiness Review (PRR). These phase gates may be required by your contract as part of the project bringing your product from design into manufacturing. Manufacturing Readiness Review (MRR) is the phase gate that typically follows the Critical Design Review (CDR), where the design is frozen. It is very common for this to be the point in the project that the manufacturing team becomes involved in preparing to produce the product.

How Early Involvement by your Production Team can Ensure Production Readiness

The earlier your Manufacturing Engineers and Production Technicians can be involved in the design process, the better. This is especially true if you will be making more than quantity one of your product(s). The Production team brings insights and perspectives into the design process, allowing for efficiency and ease of assembly downstream in the Manufacturing process. The Production team has the perspective of what works well when assembling components and what has been challenging with other products in the past. For example, there may be opportunities to incorporate features into the design that allow for fixturing or tooling interfaces that increase repeatability in the assembly process. Involvement in the project kickoff and participation in design meetings or with the design team can ensure that design factors that will either help or hinder the Manufacturing process are recognized and either incorporated or eliminated to pave the way to a smooth transition into Production.

4 Elements to Highlight in a Manufacturing Readiness Review (MRR)

When you reach the MRR phase gate, you must demonstrate that you have everything in place to start the Manufacturing process. Include an in-person tour of the production area where the products will be built, including seeing production team members, process documentation, and inventory parts ready for the build process.

  1. 1. Process

    • How will you perform the assembly of the product?
    • Are there sub-assemblies that will be built and fed into the next level assembly?
    • How are information and data captured and recorded for each assembly step?
  2. 2. Place (Facility)

    • Do you have a logical flow of work in the physical space?
    • Do you have the ability to expand if the Production quantities increase?
    • Is your Production cell set up and ready to go with all equipment and tooling needed for assembly?
  3. 3. People

    • Do you have the staff needed to support the build?
    • If you need to hire, do you have a hiring plan?
    • Does the team require any additional training prior to the start of Production?
    • Do you have training records on file for needed capabilities?
  4. 4. Parts

    • Are all the parts in-house and ready for the build?
    • What are your warehousing and replenishment practices?
    • How do you track lot and serial traceability to each assembly?
    • How are you planning and accounting for supply chain issues?

What is Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL)?

Manufacturing Readiness Levels are quantitative measures developed by the Department of Defense (DoD) that go hand-in-hand with Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs). From the DoD MRL Deskbook, “The basic goal of all acquisition programs is to put required capability in the field in a timely manner with acceptable affordability and supportability. To be successful, the two key risk areas of immature product technologies and immature manufacturing capability must be managed effectively.” The Redstone GCI team now offers help navigating the determination of your Manufacturing Readiness Level and can provide facilitation and objective eyes for your MRL self-assessment and reporting. Redstone GCI can ensure you consider and present all aspects of Manufacturing Readiness to instill confidence internally and to your government customer.

The Best Way to Leverage the MRL Assessment Process to Further Your Readiness

The MRL Framework brings together best practices in Manufacturing and an incremental approach to preparing for manufacturing and maturing your manufacturing processes. When you find that you are required to self-assess and report on MRL, adopting the framework as your methodology for tracking and incrementing your progress toward maturing manufacturing capability as opposed to viewing it as a separate activity in addition to your organization’s process can provide added benefits. You can leverage the existing framework, quantified criteria, and the MRL assessment criteria that have been thoughtfully and thoroughly developed by your ultimate end customer.

Redstone GCI assists contractors throughout the U.S. and internationally with understanding the Government’s expectations and requirements. The Redstone GCI team is ready to support you in all Manufacturing and Production readiness areas, including an initial assessment and gap analysis.

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Written by Heather Kuhar

Heather Kuhar Director Heather Kuhar is a Director with Redstone Government Consulting, Inc. Heather is an Operations Executive with a 30-year career in various high-tech manufacturing arenas, including highly-regulated industries like aerospace, automotive, medical, telecommunications, and renewable energy. Professional Experience Heather has worked for large companies like H-P, Delphi, and GE Energy while spending 17 years contributing to the growth and success of multiple startups by establishing infrastructure and developing teams to bring products to fruition. She was most recently the COO for Roccor, LLC, which was acquired by Redwire Space in 2020. Heather’s strengths in operations include tactical experience in a breadth of Operations and Supply Chain roles, having held positions in Customer Support, Procurement, Planning and Scheduling, Project Management, and Inventory Control. Heather has also been responsible for the strategy and execution of Operations at the number of companies she has worked for in the past 10+ years. Departments she has managed include Supply Chain, Production, Facility and Maintenance, Machine Shop, Quality, HR, and IT. Heather has brought together and managed people for over 25 years and is actively pursuing graduate education in Organizational Industrial Psychology. She believes that people make the organization and is committed to the growth and development of those who work with her. Heather has served the Manufacturing community through volunteer service on the Board for the Women in Manufacturing (WiM) Colorado Chapter as Northern Colorado Director from 2020-2022, is currently on the Board for Big World Love, and previously served on the Board for the APICS Northern Colorado Chapter (now ASCM) in 2019. She maintains membership in WiM, NoCo Manufacturers’ Partnership, and APICS. Heather is an active author and speaker with multiple appearances, including as a panelist for both Redwire Space Panel Discussion – Women’s History Month, “Women in STEM” 2022 and WiM – Colorado Chapter Panel Discussion – “Do’s and Don’ts of Lean Manufacturing” 2022, appearance on the Riderflex Executive Podcast in her role as Roccor, LLC COO in 2019, articles for SatMagazine and Roccor’s Women in STEM | Redwire Space. In addition, Heather was a 2022 Nominee for Colorado Manufacturing Woman of the Year.

About Redstone GCI

Redstone GCI is a consulting firm focused on fulfilling the needs of government contractors in all areas of compliance. With a singular mission to help contractors through the multiple layers of “red tape,” we allow contractors to focus on what they do best – support their mission with the U.S. Government. We are home to a group of consultants made up of GovCon industry professionals, CPAs, attorneys, and retired government audit and acquisition professionals.

Our focus and knowledge of audit and compliance functions administered by DCAA and DCMA will always be at the heart of what we do. However, for the past decade, we’ve strategically grown to support other areas of the government contractor back-office with that same level of focus and expertise. We’ve added expertise in contracts management, subcontract administration, proposal pricing, various software systems, HR and employment law, property administration, manufacturing, data analytics/reporting, Grant specialists, M&A, and many other areas. When we see a trend in the needs of contractors, we act to ensure we can provide the best expertise in the market to fulfill those needs.

One thing our clients can be certain of is that with the Redstone GCI Team in your corner, there is no problem too big and no issue too technical for our team to tackle.

Topics: Manufacturing Operations Consulting