GE’s efforts to use digital technology has created a process and culture that’s not just smart, but “brilliant,” says plant manager Jeffrey Smith.
GROVE CITY, Pa. – Were this five years ago, Keith Spahn would be busy at his workstation scrawling calculations by hand to determine whether a metal plate used on locomotive engines was fit for service or should be scrapped.
The process could take up to 10 minutes. Not only was it time-consuming, he says, it left wide open the potential for human error. One mistake could result in sending a bad part down the line bound for an engine assembly or throwing away a perfectly good component.
This was before Spahn’s employer, GE Transportation, gutted a building in Grove City, Pa., and converted it into one of the corporation’s first six “brilliant” plants that it operates around the world. The Mercer County plant remanufactures diesel powered locomotive engines.