The greatest challenges to any aerospace manufacturer in implementing a lean manufacturing strategy have more to do with a sense that nothing needs to change and that the organizational islands that have been created through years of processes are being unchallenged. Yet when one considers the work completed by AMR Research, Gartner, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lean Aerospace Initiative (LAI), it becomes clear that the same barriers to change are more process- than customer-centric.
Lack of ownership at the C-Level to force change to existing processes.
What is consistent across industry advisory firms is the fact that all three rank the lack of urgency and lack of support for lean initiatives at the C-level as the major reason why so many companies fail to become lean enterprises. As the self-scoring survey in this paper will show, the lack of support and vision at the top of an organization actually encourages more siloed-based approaches to managing lean initiatives at the lower levels of the organization.
Lack of appreciation for the statement “What a company measures, it becomes.”
For those aerospace manufacturers who are attaining lean enterprise-level performance, the cultures of their companies have become incredibly focused on metrics, and in fact, the organizations themselves have become so metrically driven that the culture itself embraces the concept of measuring performance and improvement. Those organizations that lack urgency for accountability and results never attain lean enterprise performance, according to the work completed by MIT’s LAI initiative.
Lean positioned purely as a cost-cutting strategy corporate-wide.
This is also a critical mistake many aerospace manufacturers make, and often becomes the main focus these companies continue to pursue as opportunities to better integrate their strategies with customers, suppliers, buyers, and service organizations present themselves.
Lack of commitment to lean enterprise initiatives as illustrated by no support for a Lean Programs Office.
In the intensive research and analysis as completed by MIT, the researcher found that without a consistently high level of support for lean initiatives to the point of creating a Lean Programs Office, the ability to reach a collaborative level of performance dropped off significantly. Those companies attaining best practices in lean enterprises create a Lean Programs Office and staff it with senior executives who have the authority to realign processes if necessary to attain lean enterprise objectives.
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.