Two fighter jet flying in a mission

Aviation & Aerospace

How to meet throughput demand?

Background

Incoming inspection area was unable to meet throughput demand. The inspection area that was used to inspect key incoming components had been shown, through Value Stream Mapping exercises to be a bottle-neck in the aero engine assembly process. This was creating on-time delivery problems to the customer due to unpredictable delays, or excessive use of overtime to control the flow through this area. A future ramp up in customer demand was forecast for this activity, which in addition to existing problems meant that urgent action was required.

The following objectives were agreed and set:

  • Improve flow of work through Inspection area by 50%
  • Create a fast response system to deal with non-conforming products and paperwork that is processed through Inspection
  • Build and implement a filter to ensure that only the correct work enters the Inspection area
  • Ensure the technical procedure was adequate to meet the demands of the work
  • Develop a communication system that highlights concerns, actions and priorities

Solution

Due to the need to develop a quick and speedy solution to a number of entangled problems within this area it was decided to organise a Kaizen event. The Kaizen would investigate, improve and close out a wide range of activities within and connected to the performance of this critical activity through structured and focused improvement activities. Each day through a 5 day period, was planned with a specific purpose to deliver. The approach was data driven focused on driving out the ‘waste’ associated with the 8-wastes identified within the Lean methodology of transport, inventory, mobility, work-place-organisation, over producing, over processing, defects, and skills within the stakeholder population of the area.

The work was broken down as follows:

  • Early stage planning including identification and release of key people to a week-long activity
  • Senior sponsor to support the unblocking of any problems during the course of the week (not present for full week but available to support as required at short notice)
  • Day 1: assembling team, defining and agreeing issues, assembling teams within group to target specific problems
  • Day 2: Collecting data, numerical visual and interpreting
  • Day 3 & 4: Identify areas for improvement and develop action plans, implement solutions
  • Day 5: Close out activities, and review of weeks work. Communicate the achievements

Outcomes

Key benefits

  • Forward load planning of inspection area introduced, now moving to capacity planning
  • More robust priority process – allows clearance of backlog – live daily control board being used
  • Marked out floor to create control on product progress through area
  • Removal of redundant equipment and marked out floor to create control of product flow
  • Process mapped and standardised the internal query process
  • Changed inspection process so that a job is not delayed waiting for documentation to be completed

In total 28 key issues were addressed during the week, and improvement training focusing on Lean principles, Process Mapping and Waste Reduction was introduced to tackle both technical and leadership ability issues.

The work area has subsequently been recognised for its high achievement and performance improvement.

MCP Consulting Group offers a range of Continuous Improvement courses including Lean Practitioner, Kaizen, Process Mapping, Problem Solving using RCA, OEE and Total Productive Maintenance (TPM).

“To support business best practice we provide a range of City & Guilds courses from our Continuous Improvement, Maintenance & Asset Management and Technical Skills training programme offers.”

“All our courses are carefully designed to deliver improved manufacturing capability and performance.”

Peter Gagg, CEO, MCP Consulting Group Ltd

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