In the many studies MIT has done on the impact of lean manufacturing within the aerospace industry, the top areas that emerge from the Lean Aerospace Initiative (LAI) research include the following key insights. All of these can specifically be crafted into recommendations for manufacturers interested in attaining higher levels of performance as a lean enterprise.
1. Integration of environmental protection, compliance, health, and safety systems corporate wide.
Clearly the need for mitigating the significant costs of compliance as they relate to the use and disposal of chemicals and raw materials used in the production of aerospace products are many manufacturers’ most critical concern. This speaks to the need for a comprehensive strategy surrounding Enterprise Compliance and Quality Management (ECQM).
2. Greater system-level integration with downstream stakeholder values and greater visibility into customer demands.
This relates to how the highest-performing aerospace manufacturers are able to produce assets that in turn enable their customers to be lean. This second priority for customers is at the beginning of the 18-key criteria as defined by MIT’s LAI group, and forms the basis of the self-rating scale (included in the paper from which this is an excerpt).
3. Reward both process standardization and greater cross-functional communication.
In several of the case studies that MIT and others have cited as examples of best practices in lean enterprises, the senior management teams worked to tear down the silos between departments by actively encouraging and rewarding cross-department and cross-division collaboration.
4. Allow the customer to have a seat at the development table.
MIT found that the highest-performing lean enterprises re-define their product development processes to support the inclusion of customers in the actual development environment. This has increased customer satisfaction, reduced the number of reworked orders, and also led to the development of cross-functional teams that attacked the processes that got in the way of allowing divisions to be more responsive to customers.
5. Integrate and reward lean initiatives’ success and include them in both strategic planning and production systems planning.
The companies gaining the greatest competitive advantage through their efforts to become lean enterprises have started first with smaller projects and then progressed to enterprise-wide projects once the payoff has become clear.
This is an edited excerpt of “Best Practices in Aerospace Lean Manufacturing: The Migration to a Lean Enterprise” To read the full paper visit http://www.cincom.com/lrc.