Case Study: Harman Becker

 Harman Becker

Harman Becker are a manufacturing company in Bridgend, Wales that produce audio speakers for the automotive industry. The company operates ten production lines and speaker assembly is rigorously documented using sets of “control plans” which detail every stage of the process. The control plans also describe the skills required by the operators performing the tasks and the quality control checks that must be made at each step to comply with regulations.

The control plan documents are therefore mission critical to the business and Harman Becker required a way of storing and managing these electronically with automatic versioning. They also wanted to create a series of template control plans that could be used to quickly create new plans.

Propona’s solution was based around a SQL Server 2005 database using an effective dated strategy of storing each major version of a published control plans so that a full audit history of any one plan was available. Extensive use was made of stored procedures and scalar functions to encapsulate as much of the complex business logic in the database to simplify the User Interface of the Windows Forms client created. All action queries were wrapped in transaction handlers for graceful handling of errors.

The control plans themselves were created using SQL Reporting Services, built with a hierarchical series of sub-reports to exactly reproduce the format of the existing paper control plans that the company were using. A large matrix (pivot table) style report was used to display a master grid of all employees working on a line and the tasks that are qualified to do.

The project was extended with the provision of smart card readers so that an employee could “swipe” themselves on to any part of the production line and be denied access if they were not qualified to perform the task at that location.