Improvements yield better quality and more reliable deliveries

Saab's Aerostructures operations are pursuing active improvements that are resulting in better quality and more reliable deliveries to customers. On average, each employee generates 5.5 improvements every year.

The unit is working with major sporadic improvements in the form of projects and workshops as well as with smaller continuous improvements.

"In recent years, we have focused more closely on making small improvements and have challenged all teams in our workshops and offices to hold regular improvement meetings that are able to identify the really small daily improvements while also stimulating creativity in order to find simple and clever solutions to slightly bigger problems," says Mats Karlström, Lean Director within Aerostructures.

Image: On average, each employee generates 5.5 improvements every year within Saab's Aerostructures operations.

One of the key figures in the business plan for Aerostructures is the number of improvements each year. For 2012, the target is to implement 1,750 improvements within the unit and by May, 977 improvements have been made, which corresponds to 5.5 improvements for each employee on an annual basis.

"This means we are closing in on the best companies in Sweden," explains Mats Karlström.

The value of measuring the number of improvements is that it stimulates creativity and encourages everyone's participation. It has also been shown that companies with the most ideas also come up with the best ideas.

"Better quality and more reliable deliveries to customers are the main outcomes that we are seeing with the improvement work so far in 2012. From now on, we need to tune our 'improvement engines' so that they are generating more ideas that support increased rates and lower costs," concludes Mats Karlström.