Saturday, November 9, 2013

Boeing - Lean Manufacturing Initiatives - Benefits

Consciously and consistently apply creative thinking to the problem. Get out into the world and survey unrelated industries for ideas. Work the problem by looking outside of the conference room.


In 1998, Boeing Co. needed 71 days to assemble its behemoth 777. Now it only needs 37.
The company also has shaved nine days off the final assembly of its best-selling 737, going from 20 days to 11.

Production engineers struggled mightily with a time-consuming process in the 757 assembly line: the lifting of the plane's heavy seats up to its doorway and inside for installation. Once the seats came to the plant, they were fitted with wheels, lifted by an overhead crane to the airplane doorway, unloaded, rolled into the cabin, divested of their wheels and finally installed. The process took 12 hours.

Moonshine shop improvement team after lot of search came with the idea of using conveying equipment based on hay loaders. It cut full 10 hours off seat installation.

Problem: Airplane tires being punctured by the ubiquitous metal fasteners that littered the floor as they rolled down the assembly line. One of the engineers recalled seeing motorcycle wheels covered by protective canvas casings at a race. He developed the covers and tried them; they worked beautifully. The problem was eliminated, saving Boeing $250,000 a year at one plant alone.

Complex system of almost 700 hydraulic tubes that were individually installed into the wheel well of the 737 landing gear. It took two shifts to complete.  Modified process: Boeing engineers and mechanics shortcut that process by suggesting that the tubes be grouped into larger clusters at another plant. The resulting products are much quicker to install, saving more than 30 hours of mechanic labor. The new process also reduces hydraulic leaks.


Lean Enterprise Institute found that from the business boom of 1992 to 2000, inventory turns across U.S. manufacturing improved from about 7.5 to 9.0.

Performance in  all sectors is note equal. In the auto industry, inventory turns rose from 16 in 1992 to 24 in 1999. Then fell in 2000 due to recession . During that same period, aerospace industry turns  rose from 2.5 to 3.0 (still good improvement).

the second cross-Boeing Lean Enterprise Conference will take place Aug. 6-7 in Seal Beach, Calif., where about 150 employees and mid- to senior-level managers, who champion Lean improvement activities across the enterprise, and outside experts will share their accomplishments and discuss ways to accelerate their successes.

The second cross-Boeing Lean Enterprise Conference was held during Aug. 6-7, 2002 in Seal Beach, Calif., where about 150 employees and mid- to senior-level managers, who champion Lean improvement activities across the enterprise, and outside experts shared their accomplishments.

Boeing brought in consultants from Shingijutsu Co. to help guide the process of implementing lean manufacturing facilities.

Boeing's Lean initiatives gave tangible dividends. Consider:

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet program  reduced defects by 90 percent from 1998 to 2001.  The program also  saved 1.5 million labor hours while having delivered each of its 100 aircraft on or ahead of contract delivery dates.

By incorporating Lean tactics throughout the design and construction phase, the Delta IV facility in Decatur, Ala., shrank from a planned 4 million square feet to 1.5 million square feet. The Lean process helped create a single continuously moving line for all models. Due to better space utilization, the facility was able to bring in Delta II fabrication and tank production work.

The "Lean and Efficient Design Processes and Tools" thrust has provided preliminary design work to IDS' Space Launch Initiative and X-32 program, with the latter achieving large reductions in design, production and assembly time.

Using a Lean-derived "kaizen" process, Shared Services Group tape librarians at a Boeing Data Center in Puget Sound reduced the footprint of the tape library used by the Enterprise Server by more than 90 percent while significantly shortening the tape handling cycle time.

Since 1998, the AH-64D Apache multirole combat helicopter final assembly line in Mesa, Ariz., has used Lean tactics and tools to create a pulse moving line. The Apache program has realized a 54 percent reduction in build hours and 218 percent increase in its build rate.

Workers in "moonshine shops" team up to create right-sized production equipment that is more precise and requires less space and maintenance — and costs less — than monument-sized machines purchased  earlier. Right-sized equipment is designed for a very specific purpose — usually for one task or set of tasks for one part or part family — whereas "monuments" tend to be multi-purpose and support a wide range of work statements. For example, workers replaced a $2 million three-axis router used in airplane stow bin production at Everett's Interior Responsibility Center with a "homemade" version for just $50,000. And that's what it used to cost annually just to repair the more expensive machine.

The 757 program's field processes have transferred to Final Assembly, saving one day of flow time. Also, Systems Installation has moved into Final Assembly, housing all assembly and integration processes under one roof.
To date, the 737 program has shaved its flow time by 30 percent, reduced its crane moves by 39 percent, lowered its inventory levels by 42 percent, and reduced its needed floor space by 216,000 square feet.

40-inch stow bins produced on a mixed-model 737/757 moving line. Flow time used to be 140 days; now only  just four days. With reduced factory inventory and production rates that flex to meet demand, the line's more efficient than ever.

Since starting Lean activities on its first harnesses in January 2000, Woven (Boeing supplier) has improved its inventory turns from seven turns a year to its current 26 turns.

The company has gone from producing 30 cables each week to 90 cables per day to keep up with JDAM's ramped-up production.

"Less Employees Are Needed," - criticism of lean


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