Cavalheiro, V., Ratchev, S., and Summers, M., "Improvement of Planning and Tracking of Technology Maturity Development with Focus on Manufacturing Requirements," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 6(2):676-682, 2013, doi:10.4271/2013-01-2261.
This paper details the development of a user-friendly computerised tool created to evaluate the Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRL) of an emerging technology. The main benefits achieved are to manage technology development planning and tracking, make visually clear and standardised analysis, and improve team communication. The new approach is applied to the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), currently used by Airbus Research & Technology (R&T) UK.The main focus is on the improvement of the analysis criteria. The first phase of the study was to interpret the manufacturing criteria used by Airbus at TRL 4, including a brief benchmarking review of similar practices in industry and other Airbus' project management tools. All information gathered contributed to the creation of a complete set of criteria.In the second phase, a questionnaire format, using the new set of criteria, was used through a user-friendly computer tool, which was programmed to quantify and plot the maturity of a technology into tracking graphs. The graphs presented the status of a technology against a respective ‘target’ for completion, providing a visual assessment of the missing gaps in development. The tool also emphasises information sharing, by requesting evidence of completed work. Initial validation occurred on two projects at Airbus R&T (with relative success, as excellent feedback was received from technology managers).In conclusion, this paper presents a technology maturity tracking methodology. Although it was initially developed for use on Airbus' projects, it could easily be adapted to suit other organisations and industry sectors.