Award Year 

Who could imagine that Procter & Gamble (P&G), one of the nation’s largest consumer product manufac-turing enterprises, would turn to one of the nation’s most eminent—and secretive—weapons design labs for help with its diaper production line? But this is precisely what happened. The outcome of this surprising collab-oration is known as PowerFactoRE, a comprehensive approach to reducing operating costs and minimizing capi-tal expenditures for manufacturing (more) operations. PowerFactoRE enables manufacturers to predict, prevent, and reduce reliability losses, equipment failures, and repair downtime. Adopt-ed throughout P&G’s global manufacturing network, PowerFactoRE has saved more than $1 billion in operat-ing costs since its implementation. In 2003, R&D Magazine selected Pow-erFactoRE for an R&D 100 Award as one of the world’s 100 scientific and technological advances to show the greatest commercial potential in the preceding year. In 2004, PowerFac-toRE received a Council for Chemical Research Award for government/in-dustry collaboration.Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) weapon engineers were excit-ed by the challenges posed by a huge commercial manufacturing production line—one with hundreds of real-world variables for testing their computational and analytical prowess. And while they came from vastly different worlds, LANL and P&G discovered they spoke a com-mon language—reliability engineering. LANL produces nuclear deterrents that must work perfectly. P&G must maintain high quality to retain its customers. The two signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to conduct reliability modeling using P&G data and LANL expertise.PowerFactoRE, the product of this CRADA, comprises a unique toolkit of proven reliability engineering methods, statistical and analytical tools, simula-tion software, customized procedures, and training to help manufacturing line managers understand reliability loss-es and prevent problems before they occur.Using PowerFactoRE, P&G has trans-formed manufacturing efficiencies on its assembly lines producing con-sumer products ranging from diapers to detergents. P&G has reduced oper-ating failures in more than 200 plants worldwide. Since implementing the system globally, P&G has increased plant productivity up to 44%; cut con-trollable costs by as much as 33%; im-proved equipment reliability between 30% and 40%; reduced line change-over time from hours to minutes; and achieved 60% to 70% faster new-product startups. Other manufactur-ers are realizing the same advantages by licensing the PowerFactoRE toolkit from P&G and its marketing partners, BearingPoint and Zarpac Inc. (less)